Maruti 800 completes 25 years in India

Billed as the people's car, the Maruti 800, which  soon became a hit, completes 25 years tomorrow.

On 14 December 1983, the first Maruti 800, rolled-off the assembly line at company's Gurgaon plant and the keys of the first car were handed over to the first Maruti customer by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Since then, Maruti  has produced and sold around 7.5 million cars, including 2.7 of the peppy Maruti 800 that caught the buyers' fancy, at different price points across segments, with a 54-per cent market share at present. The Swift, SX4 and recent A-star are examples of Maruti Suzuki integrating contemporary technology and designing for the Indian market.

Says Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, ''The Government of India had entrusted the company a responsibility of building low-cost, fuel-efficient cars for the people of India as also building firm foundation for the modernisation and growth of Indian automobile industry."

The Indian car industry, which was represented by two companies then, was at a volume of 40,000 cars annually. The Maruti-800, symbolising the rising aspirations of the Indian middle-class, completely took over the Indian roads within a few years and ushered in an irrevocable change in consumer prefrence.

Maruti's current efforts mirror the government's plan to make India a global auto hub for small cars.