The 800 cc segment has been the bread and butter one for Maruti Suzuki. They have been the champions there, first with the 800 and now the Alto. There is massive demand for the car. However, over the past few months, with the coming of the Renault Kwid and the Datsun redi-Go, competition is on the rise and Maruti is feeling the pressure.
In an interview to TOI, Kenichi Ayukawa, MD & CEO of Maruti Suzuki said that they need to upgrade the Alto and added that an all new generation Alto was being worked on. He also added that the main reason why the Alto is so popular was the fact that the company has a strong after sales network.
The Alto recently received a mild facelift to give it a fresh look. However, that facelift was very minor with just the bumper getting changed, lights and a few other bits. It is the right time for the company to begin working on the new vehicle.
Next year will see the implementation of India’s new crash test norms, the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program(BNVSAP). According to that, every new vehicle launched post 2017 will have to under go compulsory crash test and the existing models need to meet the standards by 2019. The Alto has currently been rated 0 star by Global NCAP and the structure has been deemed weak as well. With the coming of the new safety norms, Maruti will have to rework on the Alto from ground up as the structure needs changing.
Only the Vitara Brezza has been homologated with the front off-set and side impact crash test. The KUV has also passed the test, but it doesn’t have airbags as standard on the base variant and hence has not been certified.