This Day in History! Birth of Iconic Maruti 800: Rs 47,000 ‘people’s car’ scripted India’s ace carmaker’s success

The Maruti 800 paved the way for India's biggest carmaker's blistering success. Launched at a price of just Rs 47,500, the Maruti 800 later became India's best-selling car and also, the proud face of Indian Motoring!

By:Updated: Dec 14, 2020 7:50 PM


14th December, 1983 marked the birth of the iconic Maruti 800 that has remained one of the most successful cars India has ever seen! What was called a ‘people’s car’ at that point of time was no less than a dream for the Indian masses as it had come to fulfill their dream of owning a car, more so in an affordable package. Maruti Suzuki 800 was launched for the first time in India at a price of just Rs 47,500 and it also reported the beginning of the manufacturer’s highly successful journey in the country. The then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi inaugurated the Maruti factory in Gurgaon on this day that was claiming to roll out a new car every 800th minute. The company had decided to convert 15 percent of the cars produced to air-conditioned deluxe cars with each one costing Rs 70,000. At the time of its first-ever launch, Maruti Suzuki was claiming a fuel efficiency of 25.95 kmpl for the car (while being driven at a steady speed of 50 kmph). It was in December 1983 only that Indira Gandhi handed over the keys of the first-ever Maruti 800 to its proud owner – Mr. Harpal Singh.

Launch of other highly successful Marutis – Omni, Esteem and Gypsy

After the launch of the Maruti 800, the company decided to enter into different segments and this happened with the launch of the Omni minivan in 1984 and India’s iconic off-roader Gypsy in the year 1985. A few years later in 1990, Maruti Suzuki launched its first-ever sedan, called the Maruti 1000. Later on, in 1994, a facelift model of this car was launched, better known as the Esteem that originally laid the foundation of the sedan trend in India and you will even find it in some parts of India today with owners having restored it like a brand new car. Followed by the Esteem, Maruti Suzuki launched the premium hatchback Zen in the year 1993 and this model too became immensely popular in India in the years that followed.

Maruti Suzuki started testing success – Opening of new production facilities

After a skyrocketing start, Maruti Suzuki had made its intentions clear that it is here to stay! The company’s second plant was opened in the year 1995 followed by the start of the third production facility with new press paint and assembly shops just four years later, in 1999.

The Birth of other Blockbusters – Maruti Suzuki Alto and Swift! 

With the start of the 21st century, Maruti Suzuki launched one more icon in the form of the Alto – a budget family hatchback that is sold even today, in its advanced and new version ofcourse. Five years later in 2005, the sporty-looking lifestyle hatchback Swift was launched and this made the brand even more desirable, primarily among the youngsters.

Modern-day sedan – the SX4 arrives!

Remember the ‘Men are Back’ ad? Well, the Maruti Suzuki SX4 arrived with the said advertisement and tagline and it soon emerged as the first choice of the masses when it came to an energetic, fresh-looking sedan. The said model was discontinued in the year 2014 and the same was replaced by the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz that is today one of the top contenders in the Indian midsize sedan segment.

Launch of Maruti Suzuki’s first compact SUV – Vitara Brezza

After the demise of the Grand Vitara that failed to taste popularity due to its high price tag, Maruti Suzuki launched the Vitara Brezza in the year 2016. The vehicle has been given a facelift a few months back and it is one hot-selling compact SUV in the segment. This is commendable due to the fact that the Vitara Brezza today, operates in a highly-competitive space that currently has some highly challenging players like the Kia Sonet, Mahindra XUV300 and Tata Nexon.

Key Milestones

– In just three years after the launch of the Maruti 800, the company reported its first big milestone with the roll-out of 1,00,000th car.

– In the year 1987, Maruti Suzuki marked its footprints for the first time on foreign land with the export of 500 cars to Hungary.

– The year 2004 was when Maruti Suzuki Alto overtook the Maruti 800 as India’s best-selling car. The former remained at the throne for 15 years straight only to be dethroned by the Dzire last year.

– Maruti Suzuki’s premium retail channel, NEXA was launched in 2015 and the first model to be sold through it was the S-Cross. Apart from the S-Cross, the company currently sells cars like XL6, Ciaz, Baleno and the Ignis through this channel.

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