New Maruti Suzuki Alto to get crossover styling
In March this year, Maruti Suzuki revealed that the company was planning to develop a new-generation Alto. During an interview with the Times of India, Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki stated that the company needs to upgrade the Alto. Then Maruti introduced the facelifted Alto 800 in May this year. However, it isn't the most spacious car in its segment nor the best package overall. In fact, when we compared it to the Renault Kwid and the Datsun redi-Go, the Renault Kwid was the winner of this comparison.
Also, the rising popularity of the Kwid among entry-level hatchback buyers has got Maruti worried. According to SIAM data, the Maruti Suzuki Alto sells around 19-20,000 units a month. Since the past few months, Renault India has been selling around 9-11,000 units of the Kwid. The Renault Kwid stands out amongst its peers with a unique SUV-like styling and class-leading 300 litres of boot space. It not only looks like a much bigger car, but its ride quality is almost as comfortable and composed as the much bigger Duster.
Considering these things, Maruti Suzuki has begun developing the next-generation Alto, code-named the Y1K, to take the Kwid head-on. An Economic Times report has stated that 'the new model will be the most expressive Alto one has seen till date and may even sport a crossover design'. According to the report, the new Alto is expected to reach Maruti Suzuki showrooms by the festive season of 2019. A company spokesperson stated 'while we have made strong headway in the premium end of the market, we will never lose sight of the bread-and-butter segment. We need to have a solid option for the prospective buyer and the Y1K is an initiative on that front'.
The next-generation Alto will be developed on a new platform. It is being reported that the hardware and technology will come from Suzuki while the incorporation of those along with the company's arm in India will work on the design, engineering and validation. The company is also planning to revamp the WagonR (code-named YCA) and the Celerio (code-named YNC) and launch the new models in the next three years. This is part of the company's bigger plan of launching 15 new models in India by 2020.
The Maruti Alto is one of the highest-selling cars in our country. However, the Renault Kwid packs in a lot more features as well as cabin and boot space and has a near ideal blend of ride and handling. And prospective buyers have started realising it. Maruti Suzuki's share in the entry-level segment has gone down to almost 40 per cent from 48 per cent. In order to retain its market share, introducing a new Alto is the logical solution.
Source: Economic Times
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