The Renault Kwid’s disruption of the Indian small car segment is not taken lightly by the incumbents Maruti and Hyundai. The SUV-ish hatchback’s immense success has prompted the other automakers to rethink their small car product strategy. Speaking to Economic Times, a senior Maruti Suzuki official stated that the design of the next gen Maruti Alto which is due for 2018 is yet to be frozen for India but clearly a crossover body style is being looked at.Maruti will soon launch the Ignis crossover hatchback in a segment above the Alto to rival the Mahindra KUV100. A similar approach for the next gen Alto’s body style is expected. In order for Maruti to give the Kwid a run for its money, the next gen Alto has to be locally engineered (to keep the development costs in check), heavily localized (to keep the production costs in check) and very light (to arrive at impressive fuel economy and performance).
In addition to Kwid, the Maruti Alto also has to take on the soon-to-be-launched Datsun redi-Go. The sub-4 lakh segment nearly accounts for half of the Indian passenger car market and the health of Maruti’s indomitable market share hinges on its next gen Alto.