Codename Y1K : Maruti’s Next-Gen Crossover-ish Alto, Inspired by the KWID’s Success

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Added in: Maruti Suzuki

Maruti is sitting on a near 50% percent share of the Indian passenger car market. And yet, the leader of the pack isn’t ready to give even an inch away. The Indo-Japanese company’s bread and butter Alto is under pressure of late from its French nemesis, the Renault KWID. The crossover-ish looks of the KWID have gone down rather well with the Indians, and coupled with an aggressive pricing, the model has managed to make a dent in  the Alto’s sales. Never the one to rest on its laurels, MSIL has started designing its next gen Alto, codenamed Y1K which will allegedly don a crossover shape to take on the KWID more effectively.  The new car is expected to be launched by the festive season of 2019.

Renault Kwid 1.0L SCe (111)

The Renault KWID has been a runaway success for the French carmaker 

According to some sources which shared information with the Economic Times without revealing their names, the new Alto, or the Y1K will be ready by the year 2019. It’s notable that the Alto, which  enjoyed almost 50% share of the entry level small car segment about a year ago, has slipped to about 40% now. While the Alto sold more than 21,000 units in the last fiscal, this fiscal, the sales are down to 19,000-20,000. At the same time, the sales of the KWID are up to 9,000 – 10,000 units per month.  from 21,500 in the last fiscal year. Maruti Suzuki, which understands the importance of the entry level segment more than any other manufacturer, obviously isn’t going to take that dip lying down, and thus, the crossover oriented design for the new Alto.

In addition to the new Alto, or the Y1K, Maruti is also working on its new generation WagonR (codename YCA) and Celerio (codename YNC) in the next two to three years. The company plans to launch as many as fifteen new models by 2020, starting from 2015 when  the plan was first announced.

Maruti, however, has done an exceptional job of fending off competition in the more premium B and C segments, where its new Baleno premium hatch and Brezza crossover have been setting the sales charts on fire, while also increasing the margins for the company, and in turn profits. Thanks to the vast sales achieved by the aforementioned models, along with the traditional bestsellers like the Swift and Dzire, Maruti Suzuki, even after sitting on a 50% market share is planning positively to expand – despite facing stiff competition from global carmakers.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza white (5)2015 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Front Right three quarter view

The duo of Brezza and Baleno has clocked thundering sales for Maruti Suzuki

According to ET’s report, the new Alto will be developed almost entirely in India except for some components such as the powetrain, and will be even more customized to the regional demands and preferences. “While the company has made strong headway in the premium end of the market with the Baleno, Vitara Brezza and Ciaz, it will never lose sight of its bread-and-butter segment as the largest carmaker, Maruti needs to have a solid option for the prospective buyer and Y1K is an initiative on that front,” a company official was quoted as saying. .

The new Alto, or the Y1K will be developed on an all-new platform. “The hardware and technology will come from Suzuki, the putting together of hardware — that is design, engineering and validation will be all done by the Indian team with local inputs,” another company representive was quoted as saying.

Do you think the super economy segment represented by the Alto and the KWID will be as relevant as today by 2019? Should the carmakers be moving their focus to more premium segments, as demonstrated by the success of the Baleno and the Brezza? Do share your thoughts via comments, or through one of our social channels.

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