Maruti Suzuki to phase out M800 in 13 Indian cities

Maruti Suzuki, India's largest carmaker, will discountinue sales of the low-priced M800 model in 13 cities, chairman R C Bhargava said today. He also denied plans to upgrade the Maruti 800, the company's oldest model, to meet Euro IV emissions standards.

In fact, sales of the M 800 have been declining since the company announced plans to phase out its older models. Sales of the M 800 model declined 55.2 per cent to 2,494 units in January 2010 against 5,571 sold in January 2009, figures released by the company showed.

Marti Suzuki sold 27,088 M 800s so far in fiscal 2009-10 against 42,878 sold in 2008-09, a 36.8 per cent fall.

Marti Suzuki India Limited, which is 54.2 per cent owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp, said it sold a total of 95,649 vehicles in January 2010, including 14,562 units it exported.

This is the highest ever domestic as well as total sales for Maruti Suzuki, which also recently outgrew its Japanese parent in sales (See: Maruti overtakes parent Suzuki in output, sales)

Maruti is now pushing its new models such as the A-Star and the Eeco, showcased at last month's Auto Expo.

Maruti Suzuki is also setting up its R&D facility at Rohtak, Suzuki's only such significant centre outside Japan. The centre is expected to make the company self-reliant by 2012, helping the company launch its first made-in-India small car, a senior executive of the company said. (See: Maruti's Rohtak R&D facility to be global hub for small car design

The company also plans to hire an additional 950 people to add to its current staff strength of 7,500, in the next fiscal, including some expatriates from Europe and the US.