Will Maruti Suzuki challenge the Nano by pricing the new 2012 800/Alto at under 2 lakh rupees?
While it is of common news that Maruti Suzuki is lining up the Maruti 800 replacement for a festive season launch in India, the price and positioning of the car is something that has been clouded in secrecy. From the first spyshots that emerged of the Maruti 800 replacement, the car seemed to be roomier than the Alto, what with its greater height. The revised styling makes the car look more grown up than the bare basic Alto F8D. Also, the 796 three cylinder F8D petrol engine on the Maruti 800 replacement is expected to a tad more powerful than the one on the Alto, along with better fuel economy numbers.
Given these murmurings, the Maruti 800 replacement was expected to be priced about the 800cc Alto, but below the Alto K10. The 800cc Alto F8D was expected to sit below the Maruti 800 replacement in terms of price and positioning in the Indian car market. Now though, an AutocarIndia report suggests that Maruti could be looking at a sub 2 lakh rupee starting price for the Maruti 800 replacement, a price which could allow the car to come within sniffing distance of the Tata Nano’s top end LX variant.
If that happens, then the world’s least priced car could be under serious threat given the fact that the Nano sales are already in a slump of sorts. While the Tata Nano suffers from a serious image issue as a car that is the option for folks who cannot afford anything else, the Alto F8D, despite being more expensive than the Nano has been the best selling car in India for years. So, if the new Maruti 800 replacement is positioned below the Alto, at a price close to that of the top end Nano, expect even more prospective buyers of the Nano gravitate towards the latest Maruti entry level small car.
On the other hand, if the Alto F8D is driven lower down the price range by repositioning it and allowing the Maruti 800 replacement to occupy its erstwhile position, the Nano could still feel the heat given that the Alto F8D would then become even more affordable. So, the Nano is expected to be hit quite hard if both these scenarios pan out. If at all Maruti decide to bit the bullet and go against tradition by culling the Alto F8D once for all and replacing the small car with the Maruti 800 replacement, the Nano could get a breather of sorts.
But that is something that will scarcely happen as Maruti isn’t known to pull out hot sellers from the market. So, time then for Tata to bring out the CNG version of the Nano, with the diesel version still many months away from being production ready.