Maruti Suzuki India hopes the newly launched Alto, which has kicked off a price war in the entry-level, will be a game changer in the mini-car segment.
"This segment has been shrinking for sometime, especially because it has very few diesel options and Alto can be a game changer for this segment," Shashank Srivastava, executive director - international operations, Maruti Suzuki, told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.
The new Alto's petrol models are priced between Rs 2.44 lakh and Rs 2.99 lakh while the CNG variant is priced between Rs 3.19 lakh and Rs 3.56 lakh.
With the new model, the country's largest carmaker by market share is taking on its Korean rival Hyundai's Eon, which too is priced at Rs 2.44 lakh (including discounts and bonuses).
According to a report in the Business Standard, the new Alto has kicked off a price war in the entry level segment, with Tata Motors and Hyundai announcing deep price cuts on the new variants of Nano and Eon.
"We believe the launch would revive demand in the entry segment and block the surge of Hyundai in this segment," said a note from IDFC, which expects the new Alto to be on discount within the next six months.
Srivastava told the TV channel the company was planning to export the car to Africa, South America and Asean countries.
When asked what was the run rate expected for the new car, he said, "I will not be able to give forward numbers on expectations, because for all the new products that we have introduced in the past, the actual results have been much better than expected."
The company has already received 10,000 pre-launch bookings for the car, reports said.
"We are just keeping our fingers crossed. It is a very important product for us," he said.
At 11:36 a.m, shares of Maruti Suzuki on the BSE were up more than 1 percent at Rs 1,382.