Hatchback wars: Maruti Suzuki A-Star v/s Hyundai i10

Will the Maruti A-Star succeed in dislodging the Hyundai i10 from its perch? Sourya Biswas answers

After ruling the Indian small car roost for decades, Maruti found its dominance challenged in the early 2000s by the Hyundai Atos, or the Hyundai Santro as it was called in india.

Buoyed by positive reviews and an advertising campaign spearheaded by Bollywood super star Shah Rukh Khan, the Santro did manage to dislodge the Maruti Zen from the to spot in its category. But Maruti continued to sell more cars courtesy its workhorse the Alto.

Hyundai then sought to move up the hatchback value chain by offering the Getz.

However, the Indian consumer wasn't willing to pay top rupee for a premium hatch and sales weren't encouraging. Of course, things weren't improved by Maruti introducing the Swift soon after, which effectively monopolised the premium hatch segment.

Next, Hyundai came out with a car that not only captured the imagination of auto journalists nationwide, but also proved to be extremely popular with the Indian car-buyer - the i10.

It took a special kind of courage to introduce a vehicle in price-conscious India before showcasing it to the world, but Hyundai's gamble paid off. Winning all major ''car of the year'' awards in 2007, the i10 sent Hyundai's cash registers ringing as it made the mid-level hatchback segment its own.