New Delhi, April 1: The Maruti 800 — the tiny runabout that pioneered a motoring revolution in the early eighties — will be phased out in 2016.
But car maker Maruti Suzuki India will stop selling the car in 11 cities, including Calcutta, from next year when tough new emission standards kick in.
Along with its bread-and-butter small car, the car maker will also phase out its second oldest model, the utility van Omni launched in 1984, said company chairman R. C. Bhargava.
Launched in 1983, the M800 has sold over 27 lakh units in its 25 years of existence. It was the biggest selling car in the companys stable until recently.
The Alto, introduced in 2000, is now the companys largest selling model. The car maker had earlier indicated that it would not be able to continue with M800 when the new emission norms come into effect.
Sales of M800 in February fell 29.07 per cent to 4,075 units from 5,745 units last year.
In the initial phase, the two models will be done away with in 11 cities from next year, including Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore where the Bharat stage-IV emission norms (equivalent to Euro-IV standards) become applicable.
Once Euro-IV emission norms are applied across the country, which is likely to happen around 2015-16, the M800 and Omni may not be a saleable product. We will have to eventually phase (them) out then, Bhargava said.
In any case, we are selling very small numbers in these cities as they have opted for higher standard cars. Our main markets for the small car are the rural areas, where we will continue to sell, he added.
The company does not plan to upgrade the engines of these two models to meet the tougher emission standards, he said, even as he ruled out replacements.
We regularly introduce new models in the market, but at present there is no plan to bring out substitutes for these two cars, he added.
Bhargava said the recently launched Tata Nano would only marginally impact sales of Maruti 800. However, the company has no intentions of reducing the prices of Maruti 800 or the Alto to compete with the Nano.
Bhargava expected users of the three and two wheelers to upgrade to Tata Nano.
Our view is that the Nano will have a different segment from that of the normal car user. There will be an upgrade by some two-wheelers users to the Nano… three-wheelers too will become a definite market for the Nano, he said.