December 14, 1983 marked the launch of the Maruti Suzuki’s pioneer in the Indian automobile industry in the form of the Maruti 800. The hatchback by the Japanese automaker changed the complete structure of the Indian auto industry by bringing the affordable car in the country and making it available for those who couldn’t afford bigger cars available in the country then. The Maruti 800 successfully became people’s car and received a lot of applause for everything it offered to the customers.
Though the 800 by Maruti Suzuki is no more manufactured, this year marks the 35th anniversary of Maruti Suzuki in India. Maruti Suzuki dealer Fort Point Automotive in Mumbai had organized a Classic Maruti Day on Friday, December 16, 2018 to celebrate the day. The dealership started the day with a rally that showcased several classic Maruti models, starting from Fort in South Mumbai and ending up at the new Fort Point dealership in Jogeshwari. A number of Maruti Suzuki owners with their vehicles such as SS80 (codename for the first model), 800, 1000, Zen, Van and Gypsy were seen participating in the celebration.
The celebration day concluded at Fort Point's Maruti Suzuki Arena dealership in Jogeshwari, which was all decked up in period decor for the occasion. The dealership displayed a photo gallery with Maruti’s milestone moments, and old TV and print advertisements of Maruti cars from yesteryear providing a trip down memory lane for the crowd. The showroom also showcased a first- gen Maruti 800, Maruti Gyspy and Maruti Van on the showroom floor.
The first generation Maruti 800, the SS80 retailed for around Rs 50,000 in the country. The potential customers were willing to shell out a lakh or even more for the car owned by lucky owners, based on the lottery system in the initial days. The keys to the first car were handed over to Harpal Singh by the ex-prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi. The hatchback was not only the first model to get a front wheel drive setup in India but also the first ever model in the country to offer a molded dashboard. The Maruti 800 was the bestselling model in the country until the manufacturer launched a new hatchback based on it, called ‘Alto’. About 2.87 million 800s were produced during its course of which 2.66 million were sold in India. Maruti Suzuki also exported the 800’s models in countries in South Asia including Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka and was also available in Morocco and selected European markets.
Maruti Suzuki stopped production for the 800 in February 2014 as its replacement Alto became equally popular choice among the customers and offered marginally better space and features over its predecessor. The manufacturer also introduced the Alto 800 based on both the best- selling hatchbacks by the brand in the country in 2016. The Alto 800 goes up against the Hyundai Eon, Renault Kwid and the upcoming Datsun redi- GO in the segment. Stay tuned to V3cars.com for further updates from Maruti Suzuki in India.