Maruti working on new model to replace Alto, 800

Friday 13 January 2012, 11:15 AM by

A new car by Maruti Suzuki, which will take the place of the existing Alto and 800 models in the domestic market, is in the works. The decision of replacing the two popular cars was taken by the company as the general consensus was that both of them were outdated and needed to be changed. The managing director of the company, Shinzo Nakanishi, said that the new model will sport a contemporary look and will be equipped with an 800 cc engine, with fuel efficiency as its USP.

Nakanishi said, "Some day we have to change... Their replacement model is under development." According to him, the two models have been in the market for a considerable amount of time and perhaps there was a need to bring in a vehicle that caters to present day requirements. The new model is expected to hit the market in the next two years at development cost of more than Rs. 550 crores.

This decision may be fuelled by tremendous competition in the domestic market. The existing competitors of the Alto and 800 in India include Tata Nano, Chevrolet Spark and the new Hyundai Eon, which have enjoyed fair amount of success in the country.

The 1000 cc iteration of the Alto, called Alto K10, will be sold alongside the new model when that will be launched. Nakanishi also said "Who knows, we may also decide to continue with the Alto 800 and let the market take a call on its future."

Since their respective launches, Alto and 800 have enjoyed phenomenal success in the country. The USP of these cars have been enjoyable driving experience, competitive price tag and good performance. Both cars proved to be instrumental for the manufacturer in consolidating its position in the domestic market. Maruti 800 is not available in metropolitans now because of more stringent emission norms, while the Alto remains the company's best selling vehicle.

Maruti working on new model to replace Alto, 800 |
Maruti working on new model to replace Alto, 800

The Indian car making giant is devising new strategies for its future to ward off competition from new companies and a new entry level hatchback may become the ace in its pack. The company plans to develop new models that will represent the paradigm shift in car buying demographics in the country.

Maruti Suzuki suffered many setbacks in 2011 and lost considerable market share to its competitors due to poor sales, fluctuating petrol prices, depreciating value of Indian Rupee and a labour strike. It plans to offset further losses by focussing on the growing Utility Vehicle (UV) segment as well as diesel cars.

The company showcased its first Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) called Ertiga as well as a concept Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) named XA Alpha at the recently concluded 2012 New Delhi Auto Expo. The manufacturer has also joined hands with Fiat to acquire diesel engines to fulfil the demand for fuel efficient cars. This is part of its plan to enter new segments and cater to the current demand, rather than just focus on small car segment, its bastion.

Though the company will mainly target the Indian market with the new car, it will also export it to non-EU regions, namely Latin America, northern Africa and Asia. However, the A-Star will still be the primary export model of Maruti Suzuki for Europe.

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