Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 was slotted between the smaller Alto 800 and WagonR
Maruti Suzuki is the king of budget hatchbacks. There’s no denying it. Ever since the era of Maruti 800 and Zen, Maruti Suzuki has been extremely successful in this segment. But due to the recent car buying trends where buyers are gravitating towards SUVs, manufacturers have to comply. In the process, we get cars like S-Presso. It is not an SUV, but is marketed as one just so that people get to associate themselves with an SUV.
Alto K10 was discontinued in 2020 and it wasn’t ported to BS6 era either. Because of Maruti Suzuki’s large portfolio, a lot of products coincide with each other in terms of price. Buyers who were looking at a very low price point, chose the Alto 800 and others seemed to extend their budget slightly and went with WagonR or even Swift, for that matter. Due to low sales and demand, Maruti Suzuki dropped K10 off its lineup entirely.
Maruti Suzuki voiced their concern over Indian Government’s recent initiatives towards mandating crash tests under Bharat NCAP and mandating 6 airbags. The car maker even went on to state that they will exit the Alto segment if it is not viable. But that is not the case, at least for now. As the car maker is getting ready to launch the new gen Alto 800 and Alto K10.
Maruti Alto 800 New Gen, K10 New Gen
Ahead of the launch of the new gen Alto 800, Maruti Suzuki India has discontinued 3 variants of the hatchback. The 3 variants that are deleted are Std, LXi, and LXi CNG. The variants on offer now include Std (O), LXi (O), LXi (O) CNG, VXi, and VXi+.
We had reported earlier that Maruti had plans to start trial production of new gen Alto in June 2022. Maruti could use this extra space to modify their production lines for the upcoming Alto 800 new gen and Alto K10 new gen. Yes, Alto K10 is coming back in a new gen avatar. It is codenamed Y0K internally while the Alto 800 is codenamed Y1K.
Alto K10 was a step above the Alto 800 which is now just Alto. K10 had the same width and height, but was 150mm longer than the Alto 800. It also had a larger 998cc engine over Alto 800’s 796cc Maruti 800 derived engine. Ever since its launch in 2010, Alto K10 had registered sales of 8.8 lakh units; till its demise in 2020. New 2022 Maruti Alto K10 will be based on the next-gen Alto that is currently under testing. Test mules of the next-gen Alto have been spotted too.
Why Would Alto K10 Make Sense Now?
If we take FY 2022 as an example, we can see that Maruti Suzuki has sold 2,11,762 units of Alto and S-Presso combined whereas other entry-level hatchbacks like Renault Kwid have sold 26,535 units. The entry-level hatchback market is around 2.5 lakh units a year. If Maruti Suzuki does its product placement right, it might eat into Kwid’s share more and also draw buyers of higher segments towards K10.
This is because the 2022 Alto will be slightly more premium and larger car than the current Alto on sale. It will be made to comply with India’s upcoming safety norms like mandatory 6 airbags. Thanks to being bigger, it will be roomier on the inside and will get new features too. Design too has been updated, to give it more of an SUVish look.
Even amidst reports that Maruti might exit the entry-level budget hatchback segment altogether, it is a profitable segment. Maruti Suzuki is a pioneer in this segment. And with Hyundai out of the picture, Datsun shutting down and just Kwid as competition, we can expect next-gen Alto to take this segment by a storm. Launch of new Alto 800 and Alto K10 are likely to take place together, around festive season in 2022.