The country’s largest passenger car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India, is working on a new engine, which would replace the existing engines of its 800 cc hatchback Alto and 1.1 litre Wagon R. Once the automaker replaces the existing engine of these two high-selling cars, it is expected that it would be in a position to lower their prices significantly, which would help it rev up sales.
The new engine would be more powerful and would be the next revolutionary change after the KB Series engine, fitted in Estillo, Ritz and A Star. The new engine is codenamed YP3. Currently F8D engines are fitted in Alto and Wagon R.
Maruti has already started procuring components for YP3, to be fitted in these two cars by year-end. The new engine will have two variants with two cylinders and three cylinders for Alto and Wagon R, respectively.
When contacted, a Maruti spokesperson said, “We do not comment on our future product and strategies”.
The Maruti move comes at a time when global auto biggies like Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda and Nissan are stuck with anemic growth in their recession-hit home markets like the US, Europe and Japan and are set to be aggressive in India with their small car models. Auto majors already present in the Indian market like Hyundai, Ford and General Motors are also upping their ante. No wonder Maruti Suzuki India’s managing director S Nakanishi feels that 2010-11 will be the toughest year for the auto major.
Honda will launch its new small car (code name NSC) in 2011 to compete with the small cars of Maruti. Similarly, Fiat India would introduce CNG variant of its hatchback Punto at competitive prices.
Meanwhile, Hyundai is looking at a cheaper variant for its Santro, while Ford plans to bring its compact car Figo at under Rs 4-lakh to beat competition from Fiat’ s Punto, Chevrolet UV-A and Skoda Fabia. GM, apart from launching Beat with great fanfare on the eve of the Auto Expo, may also introduce Spark with an 800 cc engine thus directly competing with Maruti and country’s largest selling Alto.