Suzuki's India-made Alto a hit in the UK
27 May 2009
Big cars from the stables of Jaguar Land Rover, and even Ford and General Motors are having a bumpy ride in Britain. But it's the smaller cars from India that seem to be going places. CNBC-TV18's Sanjay Suri and Ashwin Mohan report.
While the biggies like Jaguar Land Rover have been hit by falling sales, it's the small car made in India that is succeeding on Britain's roads, almost without anyone knowing it, none other than the Maruti being sold here as the Suzuki Alto, also being presented by Nissan as the Pixo, with minor variations to this particular model. So if you do hit the roads here in a car small enough, recession can be good news.
In the UK, you can now buy a brand new Suzuki Alto for just about GBP 4,700 - thanks to a scheme that's expected to drive the automobile sector out of recession. The dealers and the British government will together provide the remaining 2,000 pounds.
Says Nicky Rook, Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, We are hoping that will have a very strong impact on the market, clearly a 2,000-pound discount people will be able to get off the price of a new car is quite a significant amount, and will do quite a lot to get people out to buy new cars again.''
And the alto is suzuki's big promise. Says Amin Miah, a car dealer, ''For Suzuki range, we are having the biggest level of interest in the Alto range because that is the entry level model we have in the UK.''
The rush of consumers looking to buy the Alto suggests success for this India-made model. Around 1,500 Altos were sold in the UK even before the scheme came into being, and sales should get a further boost.
Alun Parry, Chief Spokesperson, Suzuki UK, says, ''Every one of the new Alto models sold in the UK is exported from the Manesar plant in India, which was opened about two years ago. So that is the global production base."
Nissan is also looking for a piece of the action. It will market a variation of the Alto, under the Pixo banner, starting the first of June. And experts say the Pixo will hit the ground running, given the growing popularity of the government's discount scheme.