Maruti Alto 800 heats up the small car segment

22/10/2012 - 09:06 | ,   | Kaustubh Shinde

It almost seems like yesterday that we saw the country’s largest automaker introduced its newest contender in the entry level small car segment – Alto 800.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Brochure

The Alto 800 was launched pan India for a starting price of 2.44 lakh ex showroom. BSMotoring reports that the Alto 800 has already sent chills down the spine of the competition.

The Maruti Alto 800 has started a price war in the segment with major competitors offering discounts on their rivals. Hyundai, India’s second largest automaker, is offering discounts of up to 12 percent for their Alto 800 competitor – the Hyundai Eon. Tata Motors is offering equipment worth Rs. 25,000 free for a limited period, in select cities, on the Nano.

The Maruti Alto had been suffering from dwindling sales since the last few months. The chief reason for the dwindling sales was the heating competition. Rivals such as the Eon made the Alto look like something Fred Flintstone would drive. Clearly, Maruti Suzuki had to go to the drawing board or lose its grip over this segment.

But the battle is far from over. Another major reason for the decline of the sales numbers is the lack of diesel engine in a market that has already tilted in favor of oil burners. Although both the Alto and the Eon come with an alternative fuel option which are lighter on the wallet, none of them have an option of a diesel engine.

By the looks of things, it seems that the Tata Nano will be the early bird that will be offered with a diesel engine. Both Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai have acknowledged that a small diesel engine of 1,000cc or less is the need of the hour. Whoever cracks this equation fastest could be the king of hill in the long term.


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