The Maruti Suzuki Alto hatchback is India’s best selling car yet again, well ahead of the Dzire compact sedan. The entry-level car sold 2.58 lakh units in the last 12 months between April 2017 and March 2018, while the Dzire sold 2.4 lakh units in the same period. While the Alto’s sales have grown by 7 % compared to last year, those of the Dzire have grown by a whopping 20 %. What makes the Alto so popular in India despite the car having conservative styling and specifications that are a notch lower than those offered by the competition’s cars? Here are some reasons.
Accessibility is a major factor. For a lot of Indian car buyers, the Alto is their first car because Maruti Suzuki has dealerships in every corner of the country. It’s easiest to buy a car from Maruti Suzuki, and the Alto is the least priced car sold by the brand. Then there are the factors of bullet proof reliability, fuel efficiency and low maintenance costs. The Alto really does well in all three aspects. It also has good resale value due to the above factors, making it a trustworthy choice for the first time car buyer.
The Alto, through the K10 variant, now offers an automated manual transmission option, and is among the lowest priced automatic cars in India. The K10 variant is powered by a 1 liter, 3 cylinder engine with 67 Bhp-90 Nm while the Alto 800 uses a 796cc, 3 cylinder engine with 47 Bhp and 69 Nm.
The car gets a driver airbag as an option but there’s no ABS offered on any variant. The current Alto – introduced first in 2012 – will soon be replaced by an all-new model that will offer greater safety levels with Airbags, ABS, seatbelt warning indicator, speed alters and a reverse parking camera.
Competition for the Alto is quite stiff from the Dzire compact sedan. This is because a lot of cab operators opt for the Dzire, inflating sales of the compact sedan by a large margin. Also, a lot of car buyers in India now have higher disposable incomes and are opting directly for a compact sedan rather than sticking to an entry-level hatchback as their first car. These are the challenges that the new Alto will have to surmount although it’s a happy problem that Maruti has considering the fact that buyers are sticking to the brand both ways.