India's Best-Selling Car – Maruti Suzuki Alto

Faisal Ali Khan
by Faisal Ali Khan
india s best selling car maruti suzuki alto

India is touted to become one of the biggest car markets in the world by the end of this decade. However, there is a lot of uncertainty in the Indian automobile market. Fuel prices fluctuate (usually northwards) abruptly, while the Government tries to cover its mis-governance by increasing taxes on cars when its least expected. But which is the car that Indians are buying the most? It is the Maruti Suzuki Alto!

The Alto used to sell around 35,000 units earlier, but in the last two months, its sales have declined massively to 17,842 units in April and 20,724 units in May. The sales decline is because the Alto is offered with gasoline engines only. The demand for gasoline powered cars is fast decreasing in India. Diesel fuel is heavily subsidized and hence people are opting for diesel cars.

Mind you, the Alto is not the Alto that you see in Europe or Japan. The Indian Alto is the last generation Alto, which is still on sale with some cosmetic changes. The new Alto has been re-badged as the A-Star in India. So, the Indian Alto is a very old car, low on safety, low on space, but still the highest selling car. The reason is the Maruti Suzuki badge, which the Alto carries. Maruti Suzuki (a tie-up between Maruti [local] and Suzuki [Japan] in the early 1980s, but now Suzuki has a majority stake) has been present in India since a long time. There is a vast dealership network. The Alto is a well established brand and is the second cheapest car in the country (the cheapest car is the Tata Nano).

As you can see, the interiors of the Alto are terrible. The rear seats are best for children and the front seats are best for short passengers. The vehicle pictured here is the top end model, which accounts for less than 30% of the Alto’s sales. The more popular model carries a 2-spoke steering wheel and a basic instrument cluster (no tachometer). Power comes in from a 796cc, 3-cylinder, gasoline engine which produces 47 BHP and 62 Nm. The more powerful version uses a 998cc, 3-cylinder gasoline engine to produce 67 BHP and 90 Nm. Fuel efficiency is around 20 km/l (47 MPG Non-EPA). The 800cc Alto is priced at $5,500, while the 1000cc Alto costs $7,300.

The Alto has no safety features on offer, there are no ABS, Airbags, etc. The only safety feature is the engine immobilizer. Still, the Alto sells like hot cakes, which clearly shows that pricing and economy are still the two important parameters a majority of first time car buyers look out for, at least in India.

Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of, a website covering the auto industry of India.

Join the conversation
2 of 7 comments
  • Grinchsmate Grinchsmate on Jun 10, 2012

    The most fun I've ever had in a car was in a 86 Suzuki Mighty Boy. The Mighty Boy was a tiny ute based on the second generation Alto. It had 22kW and weighed 560kg. I'm guessing this is based on the third generation Alto but if it is anything like my favorite little ute its a lot of fun to drive. The Mighty Boy I drove was the runabout for a small car yard. Its special feature was being light enough to physically manhandle into the tightest spaces, useful when the yard was absolutely packed with stock.

  • Methsuki Methsuki on Jun 10, 2012

    Indian car nice more than other cars, im using Indian car from long long time. noticias automotivas it is very easy to maintain, and its com potable, parts are very cheep. Maruti Suzuki Alto selling points have long included a low price and good fuel economy. this models, currently in its seventh generation, was first introduced in 1979 and has been built in many countries worldwide. The Alto badge has often been used on different cars in Japan and in export markets. any way i love too much this cars. The Alto badge has often been used on different cars in Japan and in export markets. if you want see more details log on to noticias automotivas you can find all about Maruti Suzuki Alto.......... ...

  • Lorenzo Back in olden times, I stopped reading the Superman comics for the stories. It was worth the dime to just read the letters to the editor, with all the letter writers trying to trip up the comics writers with discrepancies, mostly caused by the 4-color printing process, and others arguing the physics of of sn imaginary cartoon character who wore his underwear over his tights. I now find the same thing is hppening here. I'm beginning to shift my interest in TTAC from the articles to the comments section!
  • SCE to AUX Faraday Future shouldn't even be here, and they won't make it. Other ultra-expensive EVs are fun projects for companies who can fund them from other revenue.The Lucid Air is a strange one because it starts at $87k but can run to over $250k. Most cars jump only around 50% for top trims, not 300%.As for EVs - don't give me more power (easy); give me more range (hard). And quicker filling time.
  • Dukeisduke It's funny how stuff like this crosses over between sites nowadays - there's an article about it today on MacRumors: Polestar 2 Software Update Brings Wave of New Apple CarPlay Features - MacRumors
  • Fahrvergnugen "If you’re itching for an ultra-exclusive EV – and who isn’t – "Me...
  • Dukeisduke Tim, once all this foam is everywhere, how do you get rid of it? Does it take a while to break down? I think of the scene in the 1963 James Garner / Doris Day film "The Thrill Of It All", where boxes of soap end up in the swimming pool, creating mountains of foam. The Thrill of It All (1963) - IMDb