Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 to launch before Diwali

Thursday 28 June 2012, 01:05 AM by

Maruti Suzuki India is working at a rapid pace to launch its new small car, named the Alto 800, before this Diwali, especially considering the fact that its best seller Alto is losing its grasp on the market. Looking at the upcoming festive season, the manufacturer is optimistic that it would be able to increase its sales volume with the launch of this new small car, which will take the place of its Alto and M800. In order to ensure that it successfully launches the new brand during Diwali, MSIL has already started the trial runs of this new 800 cc vehicle.

By the looks of the model, it is clear that the manufacturer was heavily inspired by the A-Star while designing it. This car will have a small hexagonal grille in the front that will be flanked by pulled-back headlights, a la Ford Figo. The side profile is largely reminiscent of the A-Star and the sliding roof is completely flat, as per images. Coming to the rear, the model will have conventional looking boot lid and the overall appearance is inspired by the A-Star yet again. Interiors of the model have been totally refurbished and even the base variant has head rests that are integrated in the seats in the front row. The cabin is higher as compared to the existing version's, which will make the interiors more inviting and accommodate tall passengers easily.

The recent petrol price hike has made small cars more popular among the buyers. It is said that the upcoming model will boast of class-leading fuel efficiency, which will be another advantage against the competition. The small car by MSIL is being designed keeping in mind the fact that customers in this segment now want a diesel model as there has been a steep rise in petrol price in the last few months. The petrol price hike has resulted in decrease in sales of MSIL's hatchbacks, which are now piling up in dealership stocks and are available off-the-shelf.

A diesel model may indeed be on the cards, as an anonymous Maruti Suzuki personnel said, "The work on the car is going on and the company is planning to launch it before Diwali. The car will be priced below Alto and above that of the Maruti 800. This will be a big booster for the company. At present, the company is working on the pricing of the diesel variant."

Moreover, Maruti Suzuki, the largest car maker in India, is also facing stiff competition from arch rival Hyundai Motors in the segment, especially after the latter launched Eon. MSIL sales in the last few months dropped by a huge 11 per cent to 1.01 million in the last financial year. MSIL's top selling model, Alto too, could not perform as per the expectations and showed a dip of 11 per cent in its sales. Maruti is optimistic about its new 800 cc car, which will hit the roads by Diwali and will be priced lower than Hyundai Eon in order to attract more buyers to the showrooms. Though Eon's monthly sales volumes stand at 8000 units, much lesser than Alto's 16000 units, Maruti certainty needed to add new blood in this segment and the upcoming Alto 800 would do that perfectly.