Twenty six years after revolutionising personal transportation in India, Maruti Suzuki will bid adieu to its once bread-and-butter model M800 from 13 cities on Thursday as new emission norm comes into effect.
With the company deciding to let business rule over sentiments, M800, which was first was rolled out from Maruti's Gurgaon plant in December 14, 1983 in the presence of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, will no longer sell in major cities, including the National Capital and Mumbai.
"Lots of nostalgic value is attached with the car (M800). . ., but we can't allow sentiments to dictate business.
"We have not upgraded it to Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) norms as we do not consider it a good business proposition," Maruti Suzuki India chairman R C Bhargava told PTI.
From Thursday onwards, 13 cities, including the NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, will switch over to BS-IV emission norms, while rest of the country will adopt BS-III norms from October.
"This car has really done an amazing job in building the company and driving its success. In fact, the whole Maruti brand is based on M800. We greatly value this car," he said.
In 26 years, M800 has so far clocked a total of about 28 lakh (2.8 million) units, of which over 25 lakh units were in the domestic market and rest exported.
In its first year of commercial operations (December-March 1983), Maruti had produced 840 cars.
Of late, M800 had lost ground to more modern peers and on an average was clocking about 2,500-3,000 units a month.
While launching M800, Late Gandhi had said: "And it is my desire, that this motorcar will serve the ordinary people of India and they will have no complaints about this car. I hope it will contribute in every aspect of the nation building and will serve the Indian people".
The company has played its role in India's journey towards modernisation riding on the success of this 796cc car.
Along with M800, a few other vehicles such as Ford Ikon and Fiat Palio, will also be driving into sunset in the 13 cities.
Fiat India president and CEO Rajeev Kapoor said the company will phase out its hatchback Palio from the cities as it has not made the car BS-IV compliant.
A Ford India spokeswoman said the company will stop selling one of its successful sedans -- Ikon.
Meanwhile, General Motors vice-president P Balendran said the company will temporarily withdraw its utility vehicle Tavera as currently it is not BS-IV compliant and will be upgraded later.
SkodaAuto India senior general manager (sales and network development) Ashutosh Dixit said the company is working on to upgrade its premium sedan Octavia to meet the BS-IV norms.