Maruti Suzuki not to phase out its 800-model

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New Delhi, Jan.5 (ANI): Maruti Suzuki India Limited on Tuesday denied reports that the company is mulling over plans to phase out its most popular Maruti 800 model, which has literally dominated the Indian car market for almost last two decades.

Asked if the Maruti is contemplating about phasing out of its oldest model in India, Mayanak Pareek, Marketing Head of Maruti Suzuki, said:

"No we are not planning to phase out Maruti 800. In the year 2000 the first question that came to us was are you planning to phase out Maruti 800. Since then we have sold 1 million Maruti 800's we are not phasing them out," said Mayanak Pareek.

"Models are phased out by customers. If people are buying it , why should we phase it out, " added Pareek on the first day of the week-long 10th India Auto Expo here,

He, however, also mentioned that Maruti Suzuki would create a new segment with the launch of its new family car and hopes to maintain sales growth in calendar 2010.

The Maruti 800 model comprises only 5 per cent market share of the total Maruti Suzuki sales. Only 3,000 Maruti 800 models are sold monthly compared to 20,000 Alto sales in a month. Yet, seeing the demand Maruti has no plans to phase out 800 model in the near future.

Auto Expo is the complete automotive show organized jointly by Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Car sales in India, world's second-most populous country, are set to jump about 16 per cent this year to 1.4 million vehicles, buoyed by robust economic growth and government incentives, in contrast to a slump in many developed markets.

That, and the abundance of important new models waiting to make their world premiere has industry insiders talking for the first time of a Delhi auto show that could rival or surpass the annual Detroit auto show in importance.

The first Auto Expo was held in 1986, the second in 1993, and the third in 1996. Since then, Auto Expo has been institutionalised as a biennial show. By Damanjeet Kohli (ANI)

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