New Delhi: The Maruti 800 and its sibling, the Omni mini-van, could soon be reaching the end of the road.
New road map: Maruti Suzuki India chairman R.C. Bhargava. Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest car maker, will begin phasing out the two models from 11 cities in 2010, when its products will have to meet with Euro 4 emission standards. Upgrading the two vehicles to Euro 4 standards has no merit, says chairman R.C. Bhargava.
“Making these cars Euro 4 compliant will be too costly. It’s not worthwhile,” he says.
“Both the Maruti 800 and the Omni will continue to sell in other parts of the country where Euro 4 compliance is not mandatory. And because both models enjoy strong demand in rural and semi-urban markets, sales may not take too big a hit,” Bhargava says.
“Maruti 800 and Omni sales have gone down significantly in cities because people are more affluent. They have already upgraded to the Alto or Swift; so it is not going to have a major impact on the sales of these two vehicles, which can continue in the rest of the country.”
But even this may only be a temporary reprieve for the Maruti 800 and Omni. Maruti’s Alto and Versa have already overtaken the 800 and Omni in sales. Add to that the fact that Euro 4 norms will apply across India by 2015-16, and there’s not much of a future for the Maruti 800 and the Omni.
Maruti Suzuki is already gearing up to gradually introduce its new KB Series engine line, which is both Euro 4 and Euro 5 compliant, across models. It’s already found a place in the A-Star, and will drive Maruti’s new premium hatchback Ritz, and even the petrol version of the Swift.