With Maruti Alto K10 being discontinued this month, India’s largest carmaker is planning to retire its 800cc sibling as well. A replacement is also in the pipeline.
According to a recent media report, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), could be contemplating discontinuing its most affordable hatchback in India, the Maruti Alto (former Alto 800). The bigger, 1.0-litre-engined version of the car, called Alto K10, has already been discontinued by the company. The 800cc version is expected to go out of production in little more than a year from now.
Maruti Alto is currently only available in the '800cc' avatar
While this might, at first, look like a bad news to many new car buyers, there is a silver lining here. The company is working on two new passenger cars for the Indian market. Codenamed ‘YNC’ and ‘YOM’, both these vehicles will be entry-level hatchbacks, meant to replace the Alto and Celerio, respectively.
“We have to comply with new regulations on safety and emission which spike the cost by 10% on entry level and makes it challenging. We have to still find a solution on the same.”
Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited
The Maruti Alto is powered by a 796cc naturally-aspirated inline-3 petrol engine. It generates a maximum of 47 PS and 69 Nm. The car is also available with a factory-fitted CNG kit, although the power and torque figures drop to 40 PS and 60 Nm when running on natural gas. Owing to its frugal engines and low price tag, the Alto has had great sales success. In February 2020, Maruti managed to sell 17,921 units, which is decent, but nothing compared to the massive 24,751 units sold last year in February 2019.
A Maruti Alto replacement is in under development
As apparent above, Maruti owes a massive chunk of its sales volume to the Alto, and it would not be a smart move to mess with the winning formula. Last year, it was expected the S-Presso Micro-SUV would be brought in as a replacement for the Alto, but the company decided to not shun their little hatchback. That being said, it would be smart for the carmaker to develop a new car that would cater to the upcoming Bharat NCAP safety norms, whenever they come into effect. The current Maruti Alto had scored an extremely poor 0-star rating from Global NCAP, attracting criticism from the CEO, prompting Maruti to boycott the international safety tests altogether.