The small car that changed the way Indians drove and helped put the Indian automobile market into the global big league will stop rolling out of showrooms in major cities from today. It has been driven off the roads by stringent emission laws that the original people’s car is unable to comply with any more.

Powered by a Suzuki collaboration and steered by Sanjay Gandhi’s political ambitions, the Maruti 800 rolled out onto Indian roads 27 years ago. The last of the 27 lakh units were driven out of showrooms in 13 cities on Wednesday, the company having decided that it was not worth pushing for a large investment to upgrade the engine to meet the stricter Bharat Stage IV norms that become mandatory from April 1.

BS-IV emission standards come into play in major cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Surat and even Agra.

The Ford Ikon (1.3 petrol), Fiat Palio, Skoda Fabia (1.2 petrol) and Octavia (1.9 TDI engine) and Chevrolet Tavera (2.5DI) too will no longer be sold in the 13 cities, which together account for almost half the total car sales in India.

“We were contemplating if we could upgrade the 800 to comply with new emission norms, and have taken a decision to stop selling the car in cities where new norms will be implemented from April 1,” Maruti chairman R C Bhargava had said

The above news is indeed very sad for many of the maruti owners. As i was watching this news on cnn-ibn, i asked my dad about it. Even in our home, maruti 800 was one of the many cars we used and even though we upgraded into other cars with time, there is still a nostalgia associated with maruti800. According to him, the car was one of the first major buy he ever made after settling down and making a home.So, he definitely has a nostalgia for it.

Primarily, because in most of the parts of India, driving schools prefer using 800, as it is dearly called to teach students and even myself learned driving from our own 800. Though the car didnt have many specifications like it lacked the power window, built in music system, poor in standard’s of comfort and safety, it was still thecrown of our roads during one time. When my dad, started working, it was one of his early ambitions to buy an 800. and it was a part of the common middle class dream, the status symbol.

Change is inevitable and so is it with cars. Before the arrival of maruti in collaboration with suzuki, the market was mainly shared by the ambassadors and padmini premier. The arrival of companies like hyundai, fiat and daewoo did provide large competition to the 800. The main competitor was the santro from hyundai motors.

Today, as per capita income has rised and the middle class have moved from middle class to largely the upper middle class and lower middle class and henceforth many international brands are crounching to hit their share in indian market. There is severe competition from Hyundai, Gm, fiat etc

But however, no one can deny the fact that maruti have a very strong command on indian roads. Be it Alto, their replacement for 800, or the new variants like eco, swift or Ritz etc.

Maruti has a strong base of customer service making it a very strong competition for the others.

Though, i presently use a chevrolet and a Daewoo, i will definitely miss my 800

Good bye, 800

May you rest in piece!!!

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today as i was driving home from town, i saw a maruti 800 being scrapped out in a garage and i wanted to shout to the people doing it, easy man, easy, she was one a princess…

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