New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India Limited has launched the new Alto 800 in India at a starting price of Rs 2.44 lakh, (ex-showroom Delhi). Available in an updated design package, the 2012 Alto 800 will be available in six trim levels including CNG versions.
The world's biggest-selling small car was revamped on Tuesday when Maruti Suzuki India Ltd launched a new version of its Alto model, clocking over 10,000 pre-orders as it tries to fend off rising competition in the entry-level car market. The existing Alto F8 will be discontinued while the K10 will not have the design changes seen on the new Alto 800.
The Alto 800 has a lot of changes under the hood. There is a new plastic intake system (the older one was aluminium), a new lighter crankshaft, a new cylinder head, new piston rings and a new gearbox. All this combined boosts the output to 48PS and 69Nm which is an 11 per cent increase from the previous model.
Maruti is also claiming a fuel economy of 22.7kmpl for the petrol powered variants and 30.46km/kg for the CNG ones. As far as safety is concerned, the Alto will be offered with an optional driver airbag in higher trims and ABS.
Since 1984, Maruti's entry-level models have outsold anything in India's car market, as millions of middle-class families and first-time owners in the developing country flocked to its Maruti 800 model and its successor, the Alto.
"Our engineering team has made many innovations to offer more space, improve driveability and safety to customers," Shinzo Nakanishi, Maruti's managing director, told reporters.
The new car's petrol model offers 15 percent greater fuel efficiency, he said. Maruti, controlled by Japan's Suzuki Motor, has had over 10,000 pre-orders for the Alto since bookings were opened in late September, Nakanishi added.
Cheap to buy and run, the Alto 800's two predecessors became instant best-sellers in a sector that Maruti Suzuki dominated until the late 1990s. As more automakers have muscled into the market, and more Indians had the cash for larger cars, its grip has slipped.
In the fiscal year that ended in March, Maruti sold over 310,000 Altos, making it the world's biggest selling small car. Indians bought 2.02 million cars that year. Sales of Maruti's entry-level models are down 21 percent so far in the current fiscal year, hit by rising competition from rivals such as Hyundai Motor Co's Eon and Tata Motors Nano model.
2012 Maruti Alto 800 prices (ex-Delhi)
Alto 800 Standard (Petrol): Rs 2.44 lakh
Alto 800 LX (Petrol): Rs 2.76 lakh
Alto 800 LXi (Petrol): Rs 2.99 lakh
Alto 800 Standard (CNG): Rs 3.19 lakh
Alto 800 LX (CNG): Rs 3.37 lakh
Alto 800 LXi (CNG): Rs 3.56 lakh
With inputs from Reuters