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Old 8th August 2010, 02:51   #1
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Smile Tribute to the Torch bearer - Alto (The 10 year old work horse)

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Old 8th August 2010, 14:27   #2
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Come September 27 , The Best Selling model in India right now , will complete 10 years ! Alto has changed it's position , from being a stable mate of Zen and Wagon - R , to becoming the best selling hatchback in country ! Alto was introduced at the time when Maruti Suzuki was facing the onslaught ! Pressure was developing on MUL as for the first time they faced competition in terms of sales as well as technology. Hyundai and Daewoo became extremely popular and soon Tata joined them ! When the BS -2 norms kicked in, Maruti was not ready with the MPFI engines , whereas the competition had it , further intensifying the pressure. Zen was starting to get older , Wagon - R was not particularly popular , and all pressure was on the humble 800. So, 800 needed an aid , and thus came Alto.

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Ever since the 5th generation Alto (HA12/22) was introduced in 1998 in JAPAN , it was speculated to come here in INDIA . Alto has been a succesful and important name for Suzuki as well as Maruti ! For Suzuki , it's been a best seller since it's inception in 1979. Whereas , for Maruti, Alto was a succesful export brand. Alto nameplate was very successfully being used to export the Maruti Zen to Europe from India since around 1994. Altough , 800 & Zen were nothing but Alto , this name was never used in Indian market. So Maruti Suzuki was aiming at real big success with the Alto brand.

So finally amidst huge expectation, Alto was launched on September the 27th , 2000.

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Here's a newspaper article on Alto's launch :

NEW DELHI, Sept. 28

MARUTI Udyog Ltd (MUL) has introduced its long-awaited small car -- the Suzuki Alto -- in two versions, the 796cc Alto LX and the 1,061cc Alto VX 1.1. The two versions have been priced at Rs 2.99 lakh and Rs 3.65 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the LX and VX, respectively.

Speaking at the launch conference here on Thursday, Mr Jagdish Khattar, Managing Director of MUL, said the base model of the Alto would be positioned at the top end of the `A' segment, where currently only the Maruti 800 was available. The Alto VX is being positioned as the part of the entry level options in the `B' segment, where MUL also offers Zen and Wagon-R as options.

Mr Khattar denied rumours that the Maruti 800 (M800), the company's principal entry level car, was being phased out after the launch of the Alto. He said the M800 and the Alto would subsist simultaneously. The Alto is MUL's fourth product offering during the past 10 months.

The Alto LX is powered by a 796cc, 45 bhp, 12 valve, multi-point fuel injected (MPFI) engine. The present Euro-II compliant M800 also sports the same engine. On the other hand, the Alto VX 1.1 is powered by the robust 1,061cc Wagon-R's 16 valve, MPFI engine, which develops 62 bhp.

The company had already produced about 4,000 cars and 1,500 of them had been despatched to other cities, Mr Khattar said. He mentioned that from Friday, the Alto would be available in all the major metros and later in all other cities.

Mr Khattar said the Alto had a local content level of over 70 per cent right from the point of roll-out. He said the company had hence, not entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government for the model. Also speaking at the launch conference, Mr Manohar Joshi, Minister for Heavy Industry, said the Government would continue to offer support to MUL and commended the high local content in the company's cars.

Speaking about the Alto, Mr Khattar said the car buyer would now have more choice in this segment. The Alto VX, in addition to the more powerful engine, also features body-coloured bumpers, internally adjustable rear view mirrors, rear wiper, power windows etc.

Mr Khattar felt the Alto will be an important car for MUL and ``represents the future of the company''. He said the company was looking for large volumes from the Alto whixh should help MUL retain marketshare. The company is targeting sales of 16,000 to 18,000 Altos during the remaining six months of the current financial year.

Overall MUL's sales during the current financial year was expected to be more than the sales of all the other 12 passenger car manufacturers put together, Mr Khattar said.

The specification and features list of Alto at the time of it's launch is as follows :

Alto Design Specifications

Overall Length: 3495 mm
Overall Width: 1475 mm
Overall Height: 1460 mm
Wheelbase: 2360 mm
Ground Clearance: 160 mm

Maruti Alto is powered by a 796 cc three cylinder [4 valves per cylinder] Petrol engine controlled by 32 bit ECM.

Engine Type: FC Engine
Piston Displacement: 796cc
Maximum Power: 47 ps @ 6200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 62 Nm @ 3000 rpm
Transmission Type: 5 Speed Manual

Electronic trip meter
front console with cup holders.

Maruti Alto comes in 8 vivid colours:

-Bright Red
-Caribbean Blue Metallic
-Wine Red Metallic
-Brilliant Yellow
-Pearl Silver Metallic
-Superior White
-Midnight Black Metallic
-Silky Silver Metallic

Safety & Comfort Features

Built with high tensile steel, side door beams can guard against front, rear and side collision impact. The collapsible steering column and side-impact beams acts as shock absorbers.

The passengers are safe guarded with front and rear seat belts and head restraints.

Alto wasn't a big runaway success from Day 1 like it's stable mate's Swift and 800. It progressed gradually. Zen and Alto were priced similarly and that's where initially it was O.K in terms of sales. But things started getting better gradually. People started to move towards Alto. The design was fresh. The interiors were better and hard wearing. Decent boot, for a car of that size. Slowly it started to move in right direction.
Come 23rd of August 2001, a new variant of Alto Vxi was launched , equipped with electronic power steering. This gave the 1.1 model some boost and MUL some confidence to launch the EPS equipped with the 800 cc model too. Somewhere near April 2002, the Lxi version was launched, coined as the Alto SPIN. The SPIN became a big success as it made already nimble Alto more nimble to drive ! By then 51000 units of Alto's were sold till date. Also the year 2002 was important as MUL bagged the export order from Europe for 16000 Alto's.

By now Alto started growing both in terms of success and popularity. People started to connect with it as a good family car. To cash in popularity , MUL launched special limited edition 800 cc Alto called as Alto CELEBRATION.

Alto Celebration, the model will came in jazzy colour-coordinated interiors, a central-locking facility, sporty aluminium-coated speedometer dials and a special two-tone steering with leather cover. The special edition Alto LX and LXi came with body exterior-coloured bumpers, a chrome-plated garnish on the grille and stylish body graphics.

The model came in new colours - metallic pearl silver and metallic Riviera red. The special edition is targeted at the youth, the major owners of the Alto.

The Alto Celebration was offered in limited numbers and made available only for a limited period. It will come in two variants - one priced at Rs 3.02 lakh, and the other, with an electronic power steering, will be priced at Rs 3.22 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi).

Alto overtook Zen, WagonR in growth during the fiscal year 2002-03. But a major boost to the sales was given by slashing Alto model price by Rs 23,167 (ex showroom, Delhi). Further to consolidate the position MSIL introduced a new cut-price version of its Alto on April 8th 2004 priced at Rs 2,30,000 to help buyers upgrade from the cheaper Maruti 800.
The base version was a non - AC , non - Power steering version.

Now, Alto had three models

Maruti Alto Std Base model, non-AC.
Maruti Alto LX Upgraded, with AC, tinted windows, heater, floor front console with cup holders, remote fuel lid opener, fabric seats, etc.
Maruti Alto LXi High-end, with extra features like integrated rear seat head restraintselectronic power steering, etc.

The VX/VXi was discontinued somewhere in 2005.

Alto leapfrogged Zen and Wagon R in terms of sales and was closing in on the 800. It was time for MSIL to give a mid life dose of refreshment to Alto. So the refreshed version of Alto was launched.

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The changes were :
Re-designed clear lens headlamps
Re-designed grill and bumper
A C switches were changed to rotary ones
Tail lamps too were clear lens
Instrument cluster backlit in amber color

Tribute to the Torch bearer - Alto (The 10 year old work horse)-marutisuzukialtobs4firebrickred.jpg

These changes made Alto look better than before. These changes were important as MSIL recognised that Alto is the next big thing. By 2006 Alto became the Best Sellar.

On 13th of february 2008, Alto reached the 1 Million mark.Alto became the fastest to reach the million mark and India's best selling car for 37 straight months. A Silky Silver, Alto Lxi bearing Chassis no 1126046 rolled off the production line as the millionth Alto, at the company's Gurgaon plant.
The Alto crossed the million units mark in just seven years and five months since its launch. Of this, the last 5 lakh units (half a million) have come in a record 25 months.
As far as I know, those straight 37 months could have turned into straight 76 months.

MSIL kept bringing limited edition Alto's like the Xcite and Flash as a dope of variety to costumers.

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When whole of the industry was increasing the increasing the product prices, MSIL bought the BS4 version with a price cut. MSIL achieved the cost cut by sharing the parts.
Till now, Alto was unchallenged as the Numero Uno as there was no direct competition to Alto. Alto sits safe between the Nano on one end and the cars like Spark, Estilo on the other end.
But companies like HMIL and Tata are now aiming at Alto. So MSIL bought in the th ALTO K10. Introduction of K10 will enable Alto to tackle the rivals Nano as well as the upcoming H800/ Spark 800 ,etc.

The changes in Alto K10 are as follows:

Engine Specs & Dimensions:

Displacement: 998cc, 3-cylinder In-line, KB10 K-series engine
Peak Power 68PS@6200rpm
Torque 90Nm@3500rpm
Brakes: Ventilated Front disc & Rear drums
Length: 3,620mm
Width: 1,475mm
Height: 1,460mm
Wheelbase: 2,360mm
Weight: 760kg

Improved suspension system with Ground Clearance of 160mm.

Other Changes in the New K10M Alto Includes:
-All Tinted Glasses.
-Body coloured bumpers
-Precise and smart front grill
-Stylish tail gate
-Large13-inch tubeless tyres
-Trendy wheel-covers
-Interesting body side mouldings
-Vibrant new colours for upholstery
-Colour coordinated door trim fabric
-Stylish gear knob
-Integrated headrests at front and rear
-All-new speedometer, tachometer and electronic trip-meter
-Vanity mirror
-Accessory socket
-Rear parcel tray
-Ash tray and Cup holder-Front power windows
-Improved knee-room for rear seat passenger comfort
-Remote fuel tank lid opener
-Remote back door opener
-Key-off reminder
-Internally adjustable ORVMs.

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Almost 10 years have passed by. Alto has changed in terms of looks, though all of them look familiar. The interior quality has gone down a bit ( I may be wrong) , may be due to sharing of parts. The slogan to has changed from Lets Go, to, Aap ka sachcha humsafar. Alto has changed its role as a youth oriented car, to a family car. And now it's oriented towards family as well as youth, courtesy two similar yet different cars.

Alto as a car has done wonders for MSIL. Maybe down couple of years we will see Alto crossing two million mark. It is unrivalled as the People's car for now, and my gut feeling says it will remain so, for quite a sometime. But it will be really interesting to see, if Alto remains people's first choice another 10 years down the line.

Images Courtesy : Google search
Article Courtesy : Various information through internet

@ mods : Sorry for the earlier mistake.
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Old 9th August 2010, 15:19   #3
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Some modifications that Alto received when upgraded to BS 4 norms :

New 2 tone dashboard design and new speedometer cluster with digital fuel level indicator.

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The car also got a new steel rim design, sticker badging at the rear and a new tail lamp cluster.

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The front seats were redesigned to have an integrated head rest like the one found in its sibling A- Star

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Images courtesy : goaonwheels and www.indiancarbikes.in
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Old 9th August 2010, 17:33   #4
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Good compilation.

The alto is indeed one amazing car, and very suitable to fit in the 800's shoes.
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Old 26th October 2010, 16:40   #5
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There was an Ad in TOI, bangalore today about a new 'Alto Joy'. Apparently, this one has new features like Bluetooth connectivity, I-cats and a few other features.

Not sure how much premium Maruti is charging for this version.
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Old 26th October 2010, 18:09   #6
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30K Alto's were sold last month , and I think 2/3rd of them should be the K10 , as the standard variant is too basic .
Its good to see people are ready to shell out a few extra grands for a better engine .
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Old 26th October 2010, 19:04   #7
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I recently drove the new K10 ALto as a buddy of mine bought it. It is lovely car, so well balanced and fun to play with
Al in all, a pefect successor to the 800/Zen!
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Old 26th October 2010, 22:27   #8
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The Alto K10 images on first page seem to be lifted from autocar website as their issue had same images.
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Old 27th October 2010, 11:55   #9
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Originally Posted by fx45 View Post
The Alto K10 images on first page seem to be lifted from autocar website as their issue had same images.
Yes, you are right ! But I've mentioned the image source in general , as I've found these images using google search engine.
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