Maruti planning to launch 800 replacement by year end

After serving the Indian market for nearly three decades, the Maruti Suzuki 800 has come towards the end of its journey. The car that fulfilled a common man’s dream to own a car is being phased out. Coming this December will be a replacement to the iconic 800, however, the reports claim that it has little in common with the forerunner.

The 800 is largely based on the first generation of Alto and the Alto in India is last generation of Alto model. While the 800 is still being sold in some cities, the Alto is facing serious competition from the Hyundai Eon, and the company has announced to replace the two models by the end of the year.

Maruti Suzuki is expected to strategically price the new car between Rs2.5-3.5 lacs, and is based on the same platform as Alto. Powering the new cars will be the F8D engine that has been doing service sine 1983. However, the new engine will be tweaked for improved performance to go up against the car models in the market currently. Also to be noted is that Maruti Suzuki introduced fuel injectors and four-valve configuration over a decade ago.

Maruti Suzuki 800

“A replacement for the 800cc model makes sense as it hasn’t been selling very aggressively at about 2,000 units a month. This will be a totally new small car, though based on an existing platform,” a company official was reported saying.

The official went on to add that the Alto model would continue serving, as it has great number of sales nationally, (approx 20,000 units/month). We expect Maruti Suzuki to still continue on the factors that made it the market leader in first place – fuel economy and low maintenance. In addition, the brand will focus on improving the design of the car in order to attract new potential customers, while still holding on the old ones.

While the Alto faces competition with the Hyundai’s Eon, there are also reports of Tata launching a 800 cc Nano, while Renault-Nissan are also working on the small car segment of the market. With rising fuel prices, the small car market is booming in India, and several brands are eyeing the compact car segment.

In September 2010, Maruti 800 was phased out from thirteen cities across the country as it could not meet the Bharat Stage IV emissions norms. Maruti is one of the oldest automakers in the market with almost 50 percent share. Production of the 800 began in 1983, and the car was based on the Alto.

With the Alto doing fairly well in the Indian market, Maruti will position the 800 replacement between the Alto F8D and Alto K10, as the Alto K10 will not phased out. Maruti is also investing over Rs 550 crores in the development of this project. Reports also suggest that the upcoming 800 replacement will be planned for export to Asian countries and also to Latin America and North Africa.

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