Maruti M800 still very much alive

The M800 the car which revolutionised Indian auto industry may have say bye bye to the 13 metros of India, however the car is still very much alive.

As per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data, exports of the M800 jumped by a massive 91.49 per cent to 4,435 units in the April-August period of 2010, as against 2,316 in the same period last year.

Maruti Suzuki exports the M800 to neighboring countries and other nations like Algeria, Chile and Egypt. In August, M800 exports stood at 1,075 units, as against 236 units in the same month of the previous year, up by a whopping 355.5 per cent.

This is in contrast to gradually declining domestic sales. In the April-August period, M800 sales stood at 10,505 units as against 12,649 units in the year-ago period, down 16.94 per cent.

In August, M800 domestic sales were down by 29.8 per cent to 1,919 units, compared to 2,734 in the same month last year.

The company had phased out the model in 13 Indian cities from April this year following the implementation of strict Bharat Stage IV emission norms. Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) did not upgrade the car to meet the stringent norms enforced in the metros, despite the rise in exports.

“The (export) numbers are too small and I won’t attach any significance to it,” MSI Chairman R C Bhargava said.

In 26 years, the M800 has so far clocked total sales of over 28 lakh units, of which over 25 lakh units were in the domestic market and the rest were exported.

In its first year of commercial operations (December- March, 1983), Maruti had produced 840 cars, but this fiscal, the M800 had lost ground to more modern peers and on average, was clocking sales of about 2,000 units a month in the domestic market.

Source: ET