Estilos K-10 engine to power Alto

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | Nirbhay Kumar | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 22 2010, 15:04pm hrs
With new small cars like Ford Figo, Chevrolet Beat and Nissan Micra snapping at its heels, market leader Maruti Suzuki is readying a new avatar of its bread-and-butter Alto. The new Alto, which will roll out in August, will sport a 1-litre K-10 engine, which currently powers the Zen Estilo. It will cost slightly more than the existing Alto, which comes for Rs 2.3-2.7 lakh. Zen Estilo has an ex-showroom price of Rs 3.5 lakh in Delhi. The new Alto will come in two variants.

The new car would be the most fuel-efficient among existing cars in the top-end-entry level compact car segment (A2). The Alto K-10 would give a mileage of 20.2 km per litre, company sources said.

The Alto K-10 will have 13-inch tubeless tyres, newly designed back door and rear lamps besides new body side mouldings, sources added.

Interestingly, Alto had a 1.1-litre variant when it was launched in early 2000. In 2004, the company discontinued this model as it was cannibalising WagonR, which Maruti was keen on promoting then.

The new Alto is expected to strengthen Maruti Suzukis leadership in the compact car segment. Small cars comprise more than 68% of the million-plus cars sold in India every year. The companys market share recently fell below 50% prompting the company to upgrade some of its existing products and launch new ones.

There is clear shift towards the small car segment in the last 18-24 months. Volumes there are going to be significant. To maintain market share, existing players will have to challenge the new products, said Abdul Majeed, partner at the Indian arm of global consulting and accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Recently, Maruti launched a new WagonR. Maruti invested Rs 290 crore to upgrade the product against the usual Rs 50 crore it invests for refurbishing existing models.

Vaishali Jajoo, analyst with Angel Broking said the Alto K-10 will expand the companys volumes. But it would not have much impact on profit since some investment would have gone in product development, she said.