Maruti is pulling out all stops to make sure it stays the leader in the small car segment. Ahead of its launch on October 16, Maruti has instructed its dealers to start taking bookings for the upcoming Maruti Alto 800 at just Rs. 5000, an amount that’s fully refundable.
It’s clear that Maruti wants to cash in on the buzz ahead of the festive season, chalking up as many bookings as possible. This was a strategy that Tata had also employed with the Nano a few years ago, with a booking amount of just Rs. 2999. The existing Maruti Alto and K10 together have seen sales dwindling over the past few months, from sales levels of over 25,000 units a month to just over 20,000 in the past couple of months.
Of course, its closest competitor, the Hyundai Eon, sells only about 6,500 cars a month. The only other cars that come close to the Alto’s numbers are Maruti’s Swift and Dzire. Having lost out on two months of sales this year due to labor trouble at its Manesar plant, Maruti is keen to push back and grab lost share.
The new upcoming Maruti Alto 800 seems poised to do just that. It has been developed on the existing Alto’s platform and incorporates design elements from the A-Star in its overall styling. Maruti has managed to free up marginally more space on the interiors by using slimmer seats with integrated headrests (like the Hyundai Eon) and lightened it up using beige plastics. Also see: Spy shots of new Alto 800
The new Alto 800 will be powered by an improved version of the existing F8D Alto 800 engine that produces 47 bhp of power. Torque is up from 62 Nm to 69 Nm apparently, which should improve drivability a bit, especially with the AC on. The car has a five-speed manual transmission with an improved gear shift mechanism. It is likely to have an ARAI-certified mileage figure of 22 kmpl, which will be one of its selling points. The car will also come as a dual-fuel CNG variant that’s expected to cost about Rs. 50,000 more. Also see: Initial reviews of new Alto 800 come in
The new Alto 800 will slot in just below the Alto K10 and compete directly with the Hyundai Eon. It will also provide a good alternative to Tata Nano buyers, with prices starting at an expected Rs. 2.5 lakh.
With a booking amount of just Rs. 5000, it is sure to chalk up quite a long list from those looking for a reliable entry-level car. Deliveries start from October 16.