Maruti 800 - 35 Years Of The Icon

by Mohammed Burman | 14/12/2018
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Today is exactly the 35th birthday of the Maruti 800 (codenamed SS80), the first Japanese car to be introduced to the Indian auto market. Let’s wish the Maruti 800 a happy birthday.

Every Indian must know the Maruti 800. In fact, before the launch of the Maruti 800 in India, there are a few options to choose from the car list available in the market. Having said that, the refinement and the reliability of the 800 was unequalled. The very first Maruti 800 was released in Delhi on December 14, 1983. On that day, the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi delivered the key of the very first 800 to Harpal Singh, who had spent a generous amount of  Rs 47,500 for the vehicle. Today is the 35th birthday of the popular commuter hatchback which laid the basis for the largest Indian automaker today, Maruti Suzuki.

The Maruti 800 was produced by Maruti Udyog Limited, founded by Sanjay Gandhi. The Maruti 800 had a smart, small and monocoque body, amber space for four adults and a smooth 0.8L motor. It was also the first car which is made in India to come with such features

  • Disc brakes

  • Front-wheel-drive system

  • Floor-shift gears

  • Plastic dashboard

Maruti 800 white colour

The Maruti 800 was once a favorite vehicle of the Indian auto buyers for its smart appearance, roomy cabin and smooth motor 

Most of the things in the 1980s was on a lottery system, the distribution of the Maruti 800 was not an exception unless you knew someone with a high position. The actual on-road price in Mumbai of a Maruti 800 at that time was Rs 52,000, but the sellers had a tendency to sell the vehicle at a price which is twice as much as the actual price to avoid the system. Certainly, if you sold your car in this way, the Income Tax department would pay a visit to your house or showroom to ask for details of the transaction. And it was also not hard to witness the income tax people meet owners of Maruti 800 units to validate how they got the car.

Throughout the 30-year period since its first launch, the 800 got numerous facelifts to keep up with the advanced vehicles and offer a more affordable price to the auto buyers. The last generation of the Maruti 800 was released on January 18, 2013, before its production was discontinued, which marked the end of a historic chapter of Maruti in particular and Indian car industry in general. Totally, in its life cycle, over 2.7 million units of the Maruti 800 were sold, a speaking number which shows how this iconic vehicle was once popular with Indian auto buyers.

Maruti 800 blue colour

The iconic first-generation of Maruti 800 is the most beloved Maruti car of Indian auto buyers

After the Maruti 800, the Japanese automaker expanded its lineup in India with a series of vehicles: the Maruti Van in 1984, the Maruti Gypsy in 1985 and the convenient, spacious and reliable Maruti 1000. A milestone in the company business was recorded when in 1997, 8 in 10 vehicles which were sold in India was a Maruti-branded one. However, the most beloved Maruti product is still the first-gen iconic Maruti 800 for its user-friendly appearance, spacious cabin and smooth engine.

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