Maruti Suzuki will gradually phase out the A-Star in the run up to the launch of its replacement, the YL7 hatchback that is also known as the next-generation Suzuki Alto.
The YL7 hatchback could be showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, with an Indian launch soon after. Internationally, the YL7 will be known as the Suzuki Alto and will be the Japanese automaker’s entry level car. Maruti Suzuki has begun testing the 2014 Alto or YL7 quite extensively on Indian streets. In the next few weeks, expect to see big discounting on the A-Star as Maruti Suzuki dealers begin clearing out stocks in anticipation of the new model.
While Maruti Suzuki sells the A-Star in India, the same car bears a range of badges for international markets. Suzuki Alto, Suzuki Celerio and Nissan Pixo are three names that the A-Star is known as internationally and Maruti Suzuki has been a major exported of this budget hatchback. Nissan has announced the discontinuation of the Pixo from the European market and this announcement means that Nissan won’t source the Pixo from Maruti Suzuki anymore. Maruti will therefore be left with additional production capacity that the automaker can better deploy with the new Suzuki Alto/YL7 hatchback.
The phasing out of the A-Star in India marks the second instance of Maruti Suzuki discontinuing a slow selling hatchback over the last 12 months. The Estilo hatchback’s production has been stopped and the car is available at hefty discounts at most Maruti Suzuki dealerships. Coming to the replacement models for the A-Star and the Estilo, Maruti Suzuki is likely to replace both hatchbacks with a single car, the YL7/next generation Suzuki Alto. The YL7 could initially be available with the 1 liter K series petrol engine and a manual gearbox. Petrol-automatic, CNG, LPG and diesel options could be offered in the times to come.