Maruti Suzuki, the country's largest passenger car maker, is planning to discontinue its another hatchback from the Indian auto market, in order to introduce a new line-up of cars. Following Estilo, the auto maker is now looking ahead at A-Star to phase it out. It must be noted that both of these models were once among the best selling hatchbacks of Maruti Suzuki in the Indian auto market. Sources close to the development process have revealed that the reason cited behind the discontinuation of A-Star is slowing demand, amid the increasing level of competition, which forced the auto maker to look for some new models. However, when asked the same from the company's spokesman, he was quoted as saying, “No comment on product plans.”
Interestingly, the highly competitive compact car segment accounts for almost 50 per cent space of the Indian auto market. According to reports, the demand for Estilo and A-Star were even less than the Maruti 800 during the first six months of ongoing fiscal. Also, Maruti Suzuki managed to increase the overall sales by around 3 per cent, amounting to 4.86 lakh units. The sales in first half were mainly driven by the popular models like WagonR, Swift and Swift DZire, which are all well appreciated by the domestic buyers in their respective segments.
It must be noted that the muted sales of both Estilo and A-Star have pushed Maruti Suzuki to discontinue their production. Reportedly, Estilo is counted among the least selling cars in the product portfolio of Maruti Suzuki. It is being said that in the same segment, there are a number of options for domestic buyers like Hyundai EON and if one wants to go for a more settled model, new WagonR can be considered as a good option. Sources close to the development process have also revealed that the production contract of Maruti Suzuki for A-Star hatchback with the Japanese firm, Nissan Motor, will expire in October, 2013. It must be noted that Maruti Suzuki has been re-badging its A-Star hatchback as Nissan Pixo at its Manesar facility for the last five years.
Sources have further said that Maruti Suzuki has exhausted the allotment of Pixo from the Japanese firm, which is a clear indication that gradually A-Star will be discontinued. Also, a number of new models will be introduced by the auto maker, replacing the current line-up, which are anticipated to make presence around the 2014 Auto Expo. Following the low demand for these models, the company has scaled down the manufacturing of A-Star and Estilo. Astonishingly, during the month of September 2013, only 3 Estilos and 7,171 A-Stars were rolled out from the production facility of Maruti Suzuki, among which 6,500 units were shipped.
On this recent development, industry experts believe that replacing the ageing platform with fuel efficient and new design engines, could prove to be beneficial for Maruti Suzuki. Expressing his views on the same, the Principal Analyst at IHS Automotive, a global consultancy firm, Amit Kaushik was quoted as saying, “With the emergence of new players in the market, the local car makers are under pressure to work on low-cost platforms. In this scenario, we see Maruti Suzuki enjoying the competitive advantage of their heavy weight bargaining power because of their economy of scales.”