Back to our shores, our longest serving car is the first generation Proton Saga where our first national car is sold at Proton showrooms for over 23 years. That is seven years shorter than the car we featured in this story, the Maruti 800 – the car that shaped the Indian car industry, which is set to be discontinued in the Indian market after it was introduced, 30 years ago.
The Maruti 800 is based on the first generation Suzuki Alto from 1979. The name “800” suggested this small, unpretentious hatchback is powered by a 3-cylinder 800cc engine. The first Maruti 800 rolled out of the state-owned Maruti Udyog factory in late 1983. The 800 went through a major redesign in 1986, followed by minor cosmetic upgrades until the recent times.
The Maruti 800 spots similar resemblance with our first generation Proton Saga, where both cars were prolonged for decades, powered by a basic engine and undergone tons of cosmetic facelifts. Another one major similarity between these cars is it has bought humble mode of transportation for many people – let it be singles, students, young executives, newly married couples, families with children and so on. Undeniably cars also sparked an automotive industry in respective countries.
After producing 2.7 million units and survived a potential onslaught from Tata Nano, parent company, Maruti Suzuki, decided that would be too costly to make the hatchback meet stricter emission standards hence lies their decision to discontinue the car. This will also allow newer Maruti Suzuki cars to make way in replacement of the 800.