Maruti Suzuki’s longstanding best-seller, the Alto, recently crossed the three-million mark in total sales. Launched in September 2000, Maruti’s small car achieved this feat in 15 years and six months.
Over its lifetime, the Alto has witnessed quite a few facelifts with some notable ones being the version launched in July 2005, the Alto with the more powerful 998cc K-series engine in August 2010 (identifiable by its longer bonnet), the new Alto 800 in 2012 and of course, the new-generation Alto K10 that came in 2014.
A quick glance at the various avatars of the ‘family hatch’ reveals that its design language through the facelifts and generation changes hasn’t been a dramatic departure from what we saw back in September 2000, when it was first launched.
Interestingly, company officials have told Autocar India that apart from its affordability, the familiar form is one of the reasons for the Alto’s success. “The Alto is in a shape that the typical first-time buyer has grown up seeing. So buyers are very confident when buying that kind of car. The form factor certainly works in this case,” Vinay Pant, GM (Marketing), Maruti Suzuki India Limited said.
However, when further questioned if Maruti has ever considered a more distinct design, Pant said that there was a shift in some customer preferences, wherein they were keen on a more futuristic and slightly different-looking car and therefore, the K10 was introduced to meet their requirements.
However, with the mould-breaking Renault Kwid and the Hyundai Eon relying on distinct design to draw in buyers, could the next Alto be a radical departure from the current car? Pant did not commit that the next-generation Alto will be a revolutionary change, but instead suggests that it could be an evolutionary one in order to keep both the conservative as well as the futuristic buyer satisfied.
“I think you’ll have to wait and watch on that aspect. There is a segment which looks for a slightly conservative kind of design. Having said that, if you have seen the last couple of launches, be it the Baleno, the S-Cross or the recently revealed Vitara Brezza, the design language is changing. So, keeping both these factors in mind, we will be working on something,” he concludes.