Maruti stops model that revolutionized India’s roads

NEW DELHI, February 8, 2014 (AFP) – India’s Maruti Suzuki said Saturday it had halted production of its iconic first small car, the Maruti 800, which revolutionised road transport for millions of Indians. The boxy, four-seater hatchback — the first car ever owned by many Indian middle class families — first rolled off the production line in 1983 and 2.9 million have been sold since, the company said.

“We have stopped the M-800 (Maruti 800) production,” C.V. Raman, executive director of Maruti Suzuki told reporters at India’s premier auto fair in the New Delhi suburb of Greater Noida.

The decision to phase out the Maruti 800, hailed as a triumph of small-car engineering when launched, was taken in 2010.

The company said it would be too costly to make the hatchback meet stricter emission standards aimed at cutting pollution on congested roads.

The no-frills car also had been eclipsed by fancier models.

“It was the car which drove the motorisation of India,” Maruti deputy general manager Puneet Dhawan told AFP.

“But people wanted a more modern car and sales were slowing,” he added.

Although the car is driving into history, spare parts for the Maruti 800 will be availabl