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Magic Maruti off lines after 30 years

2014-02-10 11:14

END OF AN ERA: Production of the Maruti 800 will be discontinued because Maruti said it would be too expensive to meet stricter exhaust rules. Image: Maruti

NEW DELHI, India - India's Maruti Suzuki said it had halted production of its iconic first small car, the Maruti 800, which revolutionised road transport for millions of Indians when it was launched 30 years earlier.

The announcement was made at the 2014 New Dehli auto show.

The four-seat hatchback, the first car to be owned by many Indian middle-class families, was first driven off a production line in 1983. Since then 2.9-million have been sold.

OLD FAITHFUL BOWS OUT

The decision to phase out the 800 was made in 2010 because it had become too expensive to uptrade to current exhaust emissions requirements. However replacement parts will be available another decade.

The original 800 was based on the Suzuki Fronte SS80, but a modernised version using the body of the second generation Alto (SB308) was presented in 1986.

The vehicle cost $803 when it was launched in 1983; today it costs the equivalent of four times that through Premier Automobiles which produced the cars with help from Italy's Fiat,

MEGA AUTOMAKER

India's car revolution has gained pace since the Maruti 800's launch with total sales of nearly two million a year and industry forecasts say India will become the world's third-largest automobile market by 2020 at five million units a year.
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