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Finally, Maruti 800 will be retired – only in 11 cities

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That little car has seen a lot of things. The economic reforms of 1991, the rise of Indian services and telecom sector and the launch of Tata Nano – its bitter rival. The India’s first small car – Maruti 800 – was launched in 1983. It already has 26 years under its belt and sold 27 lakh cars.Maruti_800

Now, the makers of the car are hanging the tyres for Maruti 800. The announcement coincided with the launch of Nano.The reason for withdrawing this popular car is the stricter emission norms (Euro 4) set in the 11 metro cities which will come into affect in 2016.

Maruti 800 along with Omni will be phased out of the 11 cities starting in 2010 and end in 2016. It will continue to sell in the rural areas. The cars need to be Euro 4 compliant and making the Maruti 800,  Euro 4 complaint is a costly affair. Now, it really doesn’t make any business sense to spend more money when much cheaper cars are available.

Phasing out the car just out of the metros because of the emission standards just beats me. I really don’t get. How is the environment different between rural and urban? It is not the FMCG company trying to sell Surf Excel to market the product in 2 rupee sachets. It’s the environment we are talking about. How is it fine to pollute the rural air and is not fine polluting the urban air? Is there a technology to filter out air between urban and rural areas? When it comes to air rural areas are no different from urban areas.

The real reason :

Our view is that the Nano will have a different segment from that of the normal car user. There will be an upgrade by some two-wheelers users to the Nano… three-wheelers too will become a definite market for the Nano,(TelegraphIndia)

I disagree. Maruti is living in denial that Nano will not affect the sales of 800 even though most of its sales are coming from rural areas. They are thinking that the 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler segment is most affected. Maruti 800 will be affected and I do not see any differentiator that will tilt the scales in favor of 800.

Maruti should phase out the 800 even in rural areas too. Both for the environment and Nano. Because Nano is not an ersatz of Maruti 800. It is a real spacious car and in 3 months it will kick ass.

What will happen to the 27 lakh cars plying on the roads after 2016?

PS : I sold my Swift and eagerly waiting for Ritz.

*Image credit

  1. Sriram Vadlamani says

    @Shyam : You added yet another dimension, but I still think the air should be treated the same way.

  2. Shyam Kumar says

    A guess at why the 800’s being phased out in the cities first:

    Emission norms and vehicle taxes (and many other taxes) should be probably be more stringent in cities then in the rural areas as a deterrent to migration. Principle of scarcity and so on.

    So it’s not that the air in rural areas is not important, it’s just that it’s less important for now.

    And phasing it out makes sense – think of the businesses built around the 800. Mechanics, service stations, etc. Easier for them to switch in metros, technology and knowledge transfer will probably take more time in the rural areas.

  3. Keshav says

    With competition rising so high in small car section, it was expected

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