With an eye on reviving growth in its bread and butter mini car segment, the country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India will launch a new version of its Alto K10 equipped with automated gear shift next month.
Maruti is positioning the new car as a mass market product equipped with 'futuristic technology' to cater to "very demanding, value for money conscious customers".
It has been developed at a cost of Rs 200 crore on the existing platform of the model by its engineers along with counterparts at parent Suzuki Motor Corp in Japan.
"The Alto K10 is a very important product for us. Customers in this segment are very demanding. They expect a lot of features and are very value-for-money conscious. It has always been a challenge catering to them. So our effort has been to create the excitement with a futuristic offering," Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) RS Kalsi told PTI.
After the Celerio, the Alto K10 will be the second model to be equipped with auto gear shift (ASG) feature.
"The convenience factor of the ASG with high fuel efficiency levels at affordable cost will definitely be attractive to entry level customers," he said.
Kalsi said while the petrol version delivers a mileage of 24.07 km per litre, the CNG variant will have a fuel economy of 32.26 km per kg.
It will have six different variants and the ASG option will be available only with the top end.
The company will announce the price of the new car at the time of launch in November. The existing Alto K10 is priced between Rs 3.15 lakh and Rs 3.31 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The new Alto K10 is coming at a time when MSI's sales in the mini segment comprising Alto and WagonR witnessed 1.3 per cent decline in the April-September period this fiscal at 2,01,721 units as against 2,04,335 units in the year-ago period. In September 2014 it stood at 35,547 units as against 41,061 in the same month last year, down 13.4 per cent.
When asked if the decline in mini segment sales has been a concern, Kalsi said: "Any such situation has to be of concern but we have grown at every level in the first half of the year. We will grow more than the industry this year."
He said the dip in the mini segment sales was mainly due to the stoppage of production of the existing Alto K10 in view of its upcoming replacement by the new version.
Launched in 2010, the Alto K10 has clocked cumulative sales of 4.3 lakh units in four years. The Alto brand overall, including the Alto 800, has sold 26 lakh units in 14 years since launch.