Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, which last week launched the country's first BS-IV compliant car Ritz - in both petrol and diesel engine options - on Tuesday said it is working on upgrading the Maruti 800 engine as well, so as to comply with emission requirements that will take effect in April 2010.
Major Indian cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, will implement Euro-IV emission norms, and Maruti said it plans to upgrade the Maruti 800 and Omni engines in order to make them Euro-IV emission norms compliant.
Maruti's statement comes after reports that said Maruti Suzuki will stop production of the Maruti 800 and Maruti Omni as they would not meet the standard to run in those cities.
"We have the engineering capabilities to upgrade the engines of Maruti 800, so that it could meet the emission norms and we are working on it," sales and marketing director Shuji Oishi said at the launch of Maruti's premium Ritz hatchback.
The Maruti 800, which is priced at about Rs185,000 ($3,900), which revolutionised the Indian car market with its introductory price of around Rs50,000, has also been the company's mainstay .
Maruti 800 sales have seen a dent with increasing consumer preference for the next best models and rising income levels. Maruti sales dropped 23 per cent to 62,323 units In the year ended March 2009.
Maruti is banking on the rural market to drive its sales. The rural market accounted for about 5 per cent of its car sales in 2008-09, and Oishi expects this to rise to about 15 per cent in 2009-10.
Maruti's rural sales were driven mostly by rising numbers of the 800, the Omni and the Alto hatchback.
Maruti Suzuki is 54.2 per cent owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp.
Maruti Suzuki, India's largest car maker, with a turnover of about Rs20,500 crore, is hoping to nearly double its exports this fiscal and also expand its footprint in the rural belt.
Maruti's export basket will consist of the `A-Star', `Maruti 800', `Estilo', and `Swift' models and the company expects current year (2009-10) exports of 130,000 units.
Maruti plans to ship 70,000 A-Star models to Germany, Italy, France, Holland and other European countries to be sold as Suzuki Alto. It will also ship 30,000 units of the same model to Nissan Motor Co to be marketed in Europe as Nissan Pixo.
The balance will comprise Maruti 800, Estilo and Swift - to be sold in non-European markets such as Algeria, Chile, Sri Lanka and Egypt.
Maruti Suzuki's exports rose from 50,000 units in 2007-08 to 70,000 units last fiscal.