Maruti 800

One of India’s iconic brands, the Maruti 800, is all set to drive into the sunset as parent Maruti Suzuki said sales of this model would be discontinued from April 2010 across several cities in India. The company made this announcement while saying they had no plans to upgrade this model to Euro IV (Bharat Stage IV) emissions standards.

The model, launched by Maruti in the early ’80s, will bid farewell to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Surat and Agra.

Other cities will follow suit by 2015-16, so this model is still likely to be around for the next five years or so. Frankly, it’s high time the company decided to stop production of the M-800.

There is a limit to how much you can flog a dead horse and though this car will have sentimental value of crores of Indians, sales of this model have been on a steady decline (down 55% in the 10 months ending in January 2010, total sales – 27,088 cars). There are newer and better models on the road now and the consumer is definitely spoiled for choice.

Cars made by Maruti have for long held only a cost advantage, as the inbuilt features and quality of parts were average at best. The company is now facing an assault on its “entry-level carmaker” tag by companies like Tata Motors, which launched the Nano last year.