After leading global sales charts for two consecutive years, the Maruti Alto has surrendered its top position to the Volkswagen Gol, which is the now the best selling small car in the world. The year 2012 saw the Maruti Alto selling 286,833 units while the Volkswagen Gol upstaged the former by selling 293,293 units. The third place in the best selling small car list has been bagged by the Fiat Uno, 255,838 units of which have been sold in 2012. These three small cars have locked in a battle for sales supremacy although the Maruti Alto doesn’t compete directly with the Volkswagen Gol and the Fiat Uno, the latter two taking on each other in Brazil.
India remains the price market of the Maruti Alto 800 and the lower sales of this small car in 2012 could have to do with the new model coming in to replace the older Alto F8D. Due to the arrival of the new model, Maruti has to clear stock on the older version, even as Alto buyers put off their purchase until the arrival of the new Alto 800. Apart from this, 2012 saw petrol prices hitting historic highs in India. This, coupled to the overall depressed economy saw petrol cars losing their lustre in the Indian car market. The Alto, mainly being sold in petrol variants was also affected by this sales slowdown.
Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki does offer the Alto 800 with a CNG-Petrol dual fuel option, targeting car buyers in the bigger cities of India. CNG costs much lesser than petrol and is hence becoming popular amongst small car buyers in the bigger cities of the country. Cars powered by CNG also emit lower tailpipe emissions, making CNG a greener option too. That said, the availability of CNG is limited to the bigger cities of India, somewhat limiting the appeal of this fuel. Car makers, ostensibly have ensured that all CNG powered cars feature the additional option of running on petrol, to tide over the non-availability of CNG in certain places.
The Alto 800, which was launched just ahead of Diwali last year, has managed to clock impressive numbers, with monthly sales exceeding the 30,000 unit mark. The Alto 800 is the best selling car in India. The car has been completely redesigned in terms of looks and features a more powerful and fuel efficient 796cc F8D 3 cylinder engine. Also, the car comes with additional creature comforts and more space than the older Alto F8D. In the coming months, Maruti Suzuki could launch an Alto equipped with the 1 Liter K-Series petrol engine.