Today is the era of cheaper cars, not of the king-size, luxurious and costly ones. One by one every car maker has announced their small and cheaper car to compete with the much hyped 'Tata Nano', which is expected to over turn the Indian car market. Now it is the turn of Maruti Udyog Limited, India's leading car maker, to add to the row of cheapest cars and unofficial reports state that soon a car priced in 1 lakh bracket will roll out of the company. Earlier, at the launch of Tata Nano, Maruti had denied any plans of manufacturing an ultra low cost car that could compete with Tata"s car and squashed reports of a possible price cut on its flagship Maruti 800. But alarmed by the expected revolution that may hit Indian car market by the launch of Nano, They are reported to have changed the mind and the market expects a small and cheaper car from Maruti.
As the commencement, Suzuki Motor has recently launched a mini car named Cervo in Japan, which is powered by a 660cc engine offering 54 bhp. Its turbo-charged variant offers 60 bhp, more power than the Alto and the Maruti 800 and nearly the same as Wagon R"s 64 bhp. Cervo meets Japan"s 4-star emission standards and exceeds the 2010 fuel economy standards by about 10%. And the same car is expected for India too, of course with necessary changes.
The new model is part of MUL"s flanking strategy against Tata Motors" Rs 1-lakh car, scheduled to hit the market by 2008-end, if Maruti goes forward with the plan. The other flank will be the new 660cc small car being developed at Suzuki"s headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan. The new Maruti 800 will be on the existing platform but would sport a more contemporary look, entirely different from the current product. Both cars are likely to be priced aggressively against Ratan Tata's dream car, Nano.
Maruti's car may hit the market in 2008, around the same time that Tata Motors plans to launch its new small car. “We are working on a mini car which would be lower than 800cc in engine capacity," Maruti"s director, sales & marketing Shuji Oishi commented about the car.
The Suzuki and the Tata cars will be the first sub-800cc cars in the Indian market. The Suzuki car will offer over 50 bhp power with a 660cc petrol engine. In comparison, the Tata small car is expected to offer 30 bhp with a 700cc petrol engine.
Reliable sources say that the Maruti vehicle will be a geared, front-wheel driven car, “Our car will be far more fuel-efficient than any car in the segment," Oishi said. Maruti 800, is currently India"s most fuel-efficient car, offers a mileage of 18-20 km a liter and the new car is expected to go much higher.