Auto Components

Maruti launches new Alto 800, to start exports by January 2013

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New Delhi, October 16, 2012: Maruti Suzuki India, which has launched its all-new Alto 800, is to kick off exports of the car from January 2013. The countries targeted are Chile as well as other South American geographies besides Africa and neighbouring Asian countries. So far, Alto exports constitute 10 percent, or 200,000 units, of Maruti’s total sales of over 2 million units in the past eight years. The Alto was first launched in September 2000. According to Maruti officials, the new Alto likely to notch the same number of exports.

Maruti has rolled out the petrol and CNG variants of the new Alto 800 in three trim levels -- Std, LX and LXi -- with an introductory pricing of Rs 2.44-Rs 2.99 lakh for the petrol edition and between Rs 3.19-Rs 3.56 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the CNG edition.

The new Alto 800 seems to have got off to a good start on the sales front. Speaking at the launch earlier today, Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director and CEO, said that from end-September, when Maruti had opened bookings, the car has till date received over 10,000 bookings even before the pricing was announced. “About 200 engineers have worked on the development of the new Alto 800, over four years, which has involved an investment of Rs 470 crore,” he revealed.

At a claimed 22.74 kilometres per litre, the new car’s fuel efficiency is up by 15 percent due to focused engineering. Maruti says an increased compression ratio and improved volumetric efficiency have helped increase fuel economy, which was further augmented through significant improvements in the engine intake system. Maruti also says the use of new-generation engine and transmission lubricants will help reduce frictional losses and enhance performance.

In the CNG version (branded Green), Maruti’s patented intelligent Gas Port Injection (i-GPI) technology, which comes as a factory fitment, helps deliver fuel efficiency of 30.46km/kg, an improvement of over 13 percent compared to the outgoing Alto Green. Last year the Alto Green accounted for sales of 2,000 units per month but this year the number has doubled to 4,000 units monthly in the three CNG markets of Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Gujarat.



The new Alto 800, which will be available in six colours, is based on the existing Alto platform and is powered by the same 796cc three-cylinder engine (F8D) from the Alto. However, the motor has been modified to meet the latest emission norms. Inside the car, headroom and legroom have been enhanced, legroom increasing by over 15mm.

The Alto 800 has a localisation content of 95 percent with 200 suppliers providing components for it including Krishna Maruti, Denso, Rico Auto, Asahi Glass and SKH Metals. The Gurgaon facility, from where the Alto 800 rolls out, has a manufacturing capacity of 25,000-30,000 units per month. This plant, which also produces the Wagon R, Estilo, Omni, Versa, Gypsy, Ritz, Eeco, Ertiga, Alto K10 and the Maruti 800, has a total production capacity of 900,000 units annually, in two shifts in three assembly facilities.

According to Mayank Pareek, managing executive officer sales and marketing (seen above with CEO Shinzo Nakanishi), the Alto sold 300,000 units last year, averaging sales of 25,000 units per month.

Manesar update

Meanwhile, at its Manesar facility, Maruti has started producing 1,350 cars every day and expects to cross production of 1,950 units daily by mid-November, over and above the earlier production schedule of 1,700-1,800 units per day. The current manpower strength at the plant has also been ramped up to 3,820 employees of which 750 are temporary workers deployed on non-production activities. About 200 regular employees are expected to join the rolls by end-October, said S Y Siddiqui, chief operating officer –administration and HR.

On the other hand, the SIT report on the Manesar labour riots is believed to have been completed and has charge-sheeted around 150 workers out of the 500 that Maruti had suspended, attributing the unrest to internal reasons. However, Nakanishi said that the carmaker is yet to receive the report and will study the same before reacting on it.

SHOBHA MATHUR
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