In 1998, a South Korean automaker named Hyundai set shop in India and rolled out its first vehicle, and a highly successful one at that, the Santro hatchback. A year later, India’s largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki responded. India’s tryst with the WagonR tall boy hatchback began. Compared to the Santro, the WagonR was a slow starter.
However, in terms of longevity and stamina, the WagonR nameplate has been the winner all the way. Even as 2014 marks the end of the Santro in India, what with the Xing going out of production, the WagonR continues to chug along, generation after generation, and with sales getting stronger than ever.
In over a decade and a half of serial production in India, the WagonR has managed to find 1.5 million homes in the country. Maruti Suzuki has just rolled out 15 lakh units of the WagonR off the assembly line at Gurgaon, Haryana. The automaker has big plans for the hatchback going into 2015.
In 2015, the StingRay, an iteration of the WagonR with revised styling, will gain an automated manual transmission. The WagonR StingRay AMT will be the third car in Maruti Suzuki’s line up to feature the automated manual transmission, which greatly reduces driver fatigue by automating the operation of the gearbox and clutch.
The WagonR is in its second generation in India. The second generation of the WagonR took over a decade to arrive, after the first generation model was launched in India during 2000. 2013 saw Maruti Suzuki give the WagonR a facelift and usher in the sharply styled StingRay model.
The WagonR currently sold in India uses a solitary engine, in the form of the 1 liter-3 cylinder K-Series motor. The motor is available in petrol, petrol-LPG and petrol-CNG fuel options. The WagonR could gain a twin cylinder turbo diesel engine in the coming years if Maruti Suzuki’s plans of equipping the Celerio with a 792 cc diesel motor comes to fruition.