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Good Bye Maruti 800.

Posted on: April 3, 2009

Maruti Suzuki has decided to stop selling its 800 model, that changed the face of the Indian car market, from 11 cities, including the four metros, from 2010 due to tighter emission norms. Maruti chairman RC Bhargava said the company will also stop selling Omni van in cities where stricter Bharat Stage IV (BSIV) norms will be implemented from next year.

“We will not be selling the M800 and Omni vans in the 11 major cities where BSIV norms set in from next year. However, this in no way means that we will discontinue or phase out the models, as these would continue to be sold in other cities and towns where BSIII norms would be applicable,” Bhargava said.

The cities where BSIV norms will set in from April 2010 are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Surat and Agra. Other cities will come under BSIII norms, making it possible for the company to sell the cars. However, these would also come under BSIV norms by around 2015-16, that would finally mean phase-out of the two models.

Bhargava said Maruti had no plans to further invest in engine modernisation for the M800 or the Omni, the longest-standing models for the company. “We are not looking at this option. To continue the models in BSIV cities, we have to not only make changes to the engine but also take care of other issues. We do not want to do this. Anyway, they are old cars,” he said.

M800, that once used to be the bread-and-butter model for the company, has sold over 27 lakh units since its launch in 1983. However, with the cut in prices of Alto, the demand for the car had gone down, though it still averages 4000-5000 units monthly.

But the absence of the models from 11 major cities, just when Tata would strengthen and boost the numbers of the Nano, is expected to make things tough for Maruti. The company is believed to be working on a new strategy to tackle the Nano phenomenon, though officially it has refrained to admit so.

Bhargava, however, said the exit from the cities would not be a big dampener for the company. “The demand for these models here is not that big anyway. So the impact will only be marginal,” he said.


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April 2009

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