Kochi, Sept. 29: Maruti Suzuki India has spent Rs 470 crore to develop the new Alto 800 as part of its efforts to generate demand among first-time car buyers.
"Around 60 per cent of customers in the small car category are first-time buyers and the new model will re-energise the segment as well as generate excitement in the market," Manohar Bhat, vice-president, marketing, at Maruti Suzuki, told The Telegraph.
Analysts said the launch of Alto 800 by October could not have come at a better time. While banks are reducing auto loans, there is a general revival in demand during the festive season. Consumers are also likely to shift to petrol cars after the rise in diesel prices.
While Maruti will announce the price of the Alto 800 at the official launch, industry players said it could be around Rs 2.4 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
With car sales falling over 19 per cent in August, car makers are keen on introducing models in the low-cost, compact volume segments.
Alto has been Maruti's top-selling model in India for eight years. Maruti said it sold more than 2 million units of the Alto since its launch 12 years ago and has exported around 275,000 units. It plans to start exporting the new Alto 800 to Latin America and Africa by December.