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Maruti Suzuki says can upgrade 800 engine
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KOLKATA (Reuters) - Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country's leading carmaker, on Tuesday said it is working on upgrading the Maruti 800 engine so it complies with emission requirements that will take effect in April 2010.

Major Indian cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, will implement Euro-IV emission rules, and there have been reports the Maruti 800 and its Omni minivan would not meet the standard to run in those cities.

"We have the engineering capabilities to upgrade the engines of Maruti 800, so that it could meet the emission norms and we are working on it," sales and marketing director Shuji Oishi told reporters at the launch of Maruti's premium Ritz hatchback.

He declined to comment on the impact of compliance on vehicle prices. The Maruti 800 starts at about 185,000 rupees ($3,900).

Maruti, which sells one of every two cars sold in India, is not planning to phase out the 800 model, which revolutionised the Indian market when it was launched in 1984, Oishi said.

Sales of the 800 have fallen as consumer wealth and the range of cars on sale have increased. In the year ending March 2009, sales fell by about 23 percent to 62,323 units.[Image: ?m=02&d=20090519&t=2&i=10171862&w=192&r=...a-397270-1]

The rural market accounted for about 5 percent of Maruti's sales in 2008-09, and Oishi said that was expected to rise to about 15 per cent in 2009/10. He said Maruti expects to outperform the industry forecast of 3-5 percent growth.

Maruti's rural sales are driven by the the 800, the Omni and the Alto hatchback, which is India's largest-selling car.

Shares of Maruti, 54.2 percent owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp rose 7.8 percent to 998.95 rupees on Tuesday in a Mumbai market which rose 0.12 percent.
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