Maruti 800 is a city car manufactured by Maruti Suzuki in India. It is a rebadged version of an old model of the Suzuki Alto. Over 2.5 million Maruti 800s have been sold since its launch in 1983. The same car is sold in Pakistan as the Suzuki Mehran with a much older 1980s era Suzuki SS80 carburetor based engine.
It used to be the best selling car in India until 2004; upon its launch the Maruti Alto took that title. It is also exported to a number of countries in South Asia including Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and to some South American markets (as Chile, sold as Suzuki Maruti), and was available in selected European markets between 1988 and 1992, sold as the Suzuki Maruti. In Morocco it is currently sold as Suzuki Maruti (as of March 2008). The car comes in different versions including one with air conditioning and one without. It was launched in December 1984 with almost 100% imported components. The first car to be sold in India was purchased by Harpal Singh, an Indian Airlines employee from New Delhi, who won the ownership rights to the car competing against other prospective owners, through a lucky draw and was handed over the keys of his dream machine by the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The original 800 was based on the SS80 Suzuki Fronte, but a modernized version using the body of the second generation Alto (SB308) was presented in 1986.
Proposed phasing out
Maruti Suzuki is planning a phase out of Maruti 800 beginning in April 2010. Maruti Suzuki does not have plans to upgrade it to Euro IV or BS IV emission norms. Starting April 2010, Maruti will stop selling the car in 13 major cities – the four metros and 9 other cities including Kanpur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Agra and Surat, where the law made it mandatory for the vehicles sold to be Euro IV compliant. Maruti 800 will be sold in other cities until 2015–16.
Another reason cited is the model's declining sales. Maruti 800 sales are down by 3.7% in the month of April 2010, when compared with April 2009. In April 2009, the total sales was 2345 and this year, it had gone to 2258. Total sales of Maruti 800 is 33028 for the period April 2009 to March 2010. The Indian Automobile industry is the seventh largest in the world, with an annual production of over 11 million vehicles and exports of about 1.5 million. In 2009, India emerged as Asia's fourth largest exporter of automobiles, behind Japan, South Korea and Thailand. In October 2009, the sales of Maruti 800 were 3,124; they declined to 2,631 units in October of the following year.
After a full model change in 1986, the 800 has undergone some minor face lifts but overall it still remains the same as it was on introduction. The car has reported slipping sales in recent times, mainly due to the introduction of the Alto at a comparable price. The car produces approximately 37 bhp (28 kW; 38 PS) of power and runs on 12 inch wheels. Curb weight is 650 kg (1,433 lb) and four passengers (including the driver) fit in. Top speed is in the region of 125 km/h (78 mph) and the car is known[who?] to deliver fuel economy better than 20 km/l (47 mpg) on clear and plain roads. Maruti Suzuki had earlier launched a version with a four-valve version of the engine producing 45 bhp (34 kW; 46 PS), coupled with a five-speed manual transmission (currently found in the Suzuki Alto) but discontinued it after a couple of years.
A Euro III emission compliant version of the car was released in 2005 to meet Indian emissions regulations. An LPG version of the vehicle was also released in 2008. As of September 2009, the company has yet to reach a decision regarding the manufacture of a Euro IV compliant version of the vehicle due because it would increase the retail price. However even stricter emissions regulations which come into effect by April 2010, would mandate Euro IV compliance in major Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore and 2015–2016 for the remainder of the country.The car was to be phased out during 2010 but it still on sale in October 2011. Its main competitor is the cheaper Tata Nano (123,000 compared to 184,641 Rupees) which has an 8 percent smaller exterior size and a 23 percent larger interior space.