Maruti stops SX4 production pending revamp

Passenger car leader Maruti Suzuki India has temporarily stopped production of its most expensive car SX4. The model has been doing poorly in the market, especially since the launch of the new Honda City.

The company has decided to revamp the car, and a new model would come in about six-eight weeks, reportsCNBC-TV18.

Maruti Suzuki will upgrade the SX4 with a new Bharat Stage-IV engine and a minor facelift. From April, 2010, eleven cities in India will upgrade to the Bharat Stage-IV emission norms, and Maruti Suzuki's SX4 is currently compliant with only Bharat Stage-III norms.

Although the company refused to comment officially, widespread reports say that the new SX4 will have a 1.6-litre engine with much better higher pick-up. It will also have an automatic variant, another first for Maruti. It will deliver 165-175 nm of power, much higher then the outgoing model, and will meet the latest emission norms.

Maruti will rope in Bollywood star John Abraham as the new brand ambassador for the model.

SX4 was launched in May 2007 in three manual variants to counter Honda City. It steered ahead of the City and clocked top sales of over 3,000 cars per month in the first three months of its launch, but soon lost speed when Honda launched the third-generation City in November 2008.

 SX4 sales are now just a few hundred units per month.