New Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 could have touchscreen and many new features

After the launch of the Maruti Suzuki Ignis, Baleno and Vitara Brezza, the company has turned its focus to the entry-level hatchback segment and will introduce a completely new Alto 800 with more features and safety equipment

By:Updated: Mar 07, 2017 4:33 PM
Suzuki Crosshiker is a compact crossover vehicle

A few years ago, the entry-level hatchback segment had limited number of manufacturers producing a hatchback that had the priority of practicality over features or safety. However, in today’s age, the perception is shifting, thanks to some new carmakers introducing products that focus on safety, a better feature list along with the perception of a potential buyer inclining towards safety and convenience apart from a model’s practicality. The Renault Kwid is one such example that has taken a fair amount of market share in 2016 from the undisputed king of this segment, the Alto 800. How did this happen? For a start, the Alto 800 is a reliable hatchback and spares are quite reasonable compared to its competitors in the same space. However, with a marginal price difference of Rs 16,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) between the aging Alto 800 and the Renault Kwid base versions, many buyers are opting for the French carmaker’s smallest offering in the country. This will soon change as at the 2018 Auto Expo, a concept on which the new Alto will be based will be unveiled, according to a report by NDTV.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800

The new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, which will be introduced in 2018 itself after the concept showcase, will have a host of features to compete with its main rival, the Renault Kwid which not only has a more appealing design, but a good set of features including the MediaNav infotainment system. In contrast, the current generation Alto 800 has a practical cabin with a Single-DIN audio system. The growing consciousness for safety has also increased among the entry-level hatchback buyers who now don’t want to compromise on safety as well as a good set of features. The production-ready new Alto 800 would be based on Maruti’s next generation platform, which would make it light without compromising on the structural rigidity.

Video: Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Review

According to a recent discussion with Express Drives, RC Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd stated that entry-level diesel cars would take a hit due to the BSVI emission norms. The difference in cost between the diesel variants and their petrol counterparts may be Rs 2 lakh which will fizzle out the value-for-money quotient. But, the new emission norms are going to be implemented by 2020 and the Indian carmaker could use this window in order to introduce the first diesel engine powered Alto. This unit is expected to be the same as the one witnessed in the Celerio diesel. The next generation platform has been part of Maruti Suzuki’s new design language, Transformotion and the two cars that have gained immediate popularity are the Baleno and the Ignis. The Vitara Brezza has also garnered a lot of attention since its introduction and all cars mentioned here have ended up in a waiting period of six to nine months, some of them going even higher. On those lines, RC Bhargava added that a waiting period is not good for the future of a company as it brings out a wrong perception if a popular product remains short on supplies. That said, the newly inaugurated Gujarat plant will offload other facilities and bring down the waiting period which should restore the faith back in a potential buyer. In fact, 1,000 units of the Baleno have already started to be produced from this facility and this number would gradually increase thereby meeting the requisite demand.

Also Read: Entry level diesel cars to take a hit from BS6 implementation by 2020: RC Bhargava
The company has already invested Rs 1,700 crore in the Rohtak R&D facility and it plans to invest another Rs 2,000 crore by 2019 for new test tracks and manufacturing/R&D facilities. This top-down approach for Maruti Suzuki has worked with the introduction of the Baleno, Vitara Brezza and the Ignis. The company has also forayed into the affordable performance hatchback segment with Baleno RS and their first engine in India that also delivers on performance along with fuel efficiency. Also, the perception people had about Maruti Suzuki making practical, no-nonsense cars which lack the feature list when compared to its rivals is also changing due to the introduction of the aforementioned models. With the new Alto 800, the company will change its perception in the entry-level hatchback segment and keep the competition interesting. In addition, the 2018 Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 could very well be the first entry-level model to be offered with ABS and dual front airbags if launched before October 2018. This will be as per a Government rule that will be put into place for four wheelers which state that all cars will have airbags, ABS and speed warning systems as a standard fitment.

The company has already invested Rs 1,700 crore in the Rohtak R&D facility and it plans to invest another Rs 2,000 crore by 2019 for new test tracks and manufacturing/R&D facilities. This top-down approach for Maruti Suzuki has worked with the introduction of the Baleno, Vitara Brezza and the Ignis. The company has also forayed into the affordable performance hatchback segment with Baleno RS and their first engine in India that also delivers on performance along with fuel efficiency. Also, the perception people had about Maruti Suzuki making practical, no-nonsense cars which lack the feature list when compared to its rivals is also changing due to the introduction of the aforementioned models. With the new Alto 800, the company will change its perception in the entry-level hatchback segment and keep the competition interesting. In addition, the 2018 Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 could very well be the first entry-level model to be offered with ABS and dual front airbags if launched before October 2018. This will be as per a Government rule that will be put into place for four wheelers which state that all cars will have airbags, ABS and speed warning systems as a standard fitment.

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