The chairman of Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car maker has just revealed that the Maruti Omni passenger and cargo van variants will soon go out of production, and will be replaced by the Eeco. The Eeco is already a solid seller for Maruti, and will be upgraded to meet the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) norms. The Omni will bow out by the middle of this year, after more than 35 years of continuous production.
Here’s what Mr. RC Bhargava, the Chairman of Maruti Suzuki, had to say to MoneyControl about the Eeco replacing the Omni,
Omni would not be upgraded to meet the next generation norms. Eeco sale are going up and it is a similar vehicle.
The Eeco is larger than the Omni, and also has a more powerful engine. The Omni is sold in 5,7 and 8 seat, and cargo variants. It’s powered by the age-old 796cc, 3 cylinder F8D engine in 34 Bhp-59 Nm state of tune. A 4 speed manual gearbox drives the rear wheels of the van. The Omni is also available with LPG-Petrol and CNG-Petrol dual fuel options.
In contrast, the much larger Maruti Eeco is also a passenger and cargo van. It gets 5 seat, 7 seat and cargo configurations, and is more powerful. The Eeco is sold with a 1.2 liter-4 cylinder petrol engine with 73 Bhp-101 Nm on tap. The engine drives the rear wheels and is mated to a five speed manual gearbox. The Eeco is also available with a CNG-Petrol dual fuel variant.
To meet the upcoming BNVSAP norms, the Maruti Eeco will get a driver airbag, seat belt reminder, speed alerts, reverse parking sensors and mounting points for ISOFIX child seats. The car’s structure is also likely to be upgraded to meet the new, stricter safety norms. The basic, van-like shape of the Eeco is expected to be unchanged though. It will continue to be sold as passenger and cargo van.
Talking of the Omni, the van – one of its kind in the Indian market – continues to be strong seller even in its 35th year of production in India. The sheer popularity of the Omni has two main reasons – pure utility and low maintenance costs. Priced at Rs. 3.5 lakhs, the Omni is about Rs. 70,000 cheaper than the Eeco, yet another reason for strong sales as it’s the least priced car in India that can accommodate 7 adults.
The Omni will be remembered by generations of school kids as their school van, and by many others as the first car they brought home. Given the sheer volume of Maruti Omni vans sold every month – 5,000 units on an average, the vehicle is unlikely to go out of sight on Indian roads anytime soon. Over the next 10 years, expect the Omni to gradually disappear from Indian roads even as the Eeco takes its place. The legend will be missed, and we expect some enthusiasts to keep it running as a modern vintage vehicle for many years to come.