4 decades ago, India started its road trip in this little car
In the early-1980s, almost a decade before the economy was liberalised, an ambitious project – linked in the popular imagination with Sanjay Gandhi, son of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – started taking shape. Unfortunately, Sanjay died in a plane crash in June 1980, without realising his dream of bringing out an affordable, efficient and indigenous small car that would appeal to the middle class, but not burn a hole in their pockets. He was not there to see his dream fructify with the creation of Maruti Udyog Ltd (now called Maruti Suzuki) – a unique joint venture between Japan’s Suzuki Motor Co. and the Indian go nment.
The new company singlehandedly made India mobile and modernised the local industrial landscape, thanks to the clockwork precision of Japanese management and process sy ems. Right from the day it opened bookings on April 9, 1983, Maruti had the pulse of Indian buyers in its grasp. The opening orders crossed 1.35 lakh units (big even by today’s standards) by June 8, or just two months.
The vehicle that led to this automotive revo tion of sorts was the Maruti 800, still revered for its simplicity, efficiency, ease of use, adaptability, and easy-on-the-pocket price. At launch, the 800 cost Rs 52,500 in Delhi. When deliveries began on December 14, 1983 – a day chosen as it was Sanjay’s birth anniversary – the so-called people’s small car became the darling of rich and poor alike.
引发这场汽车革命的是马鲁蒂800 (Maruti 800)，它仍然以其简单、易于使用、适用性和价格亲民而备受推崇。在德里发布时，马鲁蒂800的售价为5.25万卢比。1983年12月14日，也就是桑杰的生日那天，这款所谓的“人民的小汽车”开始交付，成为富人和穷人的最爱。
PM Indira Gandhi herself handed over the keys to the first 10 allottees (all chosen through a draw of lots to maintain transparency in the licence-raj era). The first car was delivered to Indian Airlines employee Harpal Singh, whose picture while receiving the keys from the PM has become a part of Indian automobile history.
The 800 never looked back again, as they say for all success stories, and went on to create one record after another as it caught the fancy of Indians who swore by its dependability and the ease of maintenance, which was backed by Maruti’s ever-growing dealer and service network, watched over for quality by the sharp eyes of Suzuki and the Japanese management.
“It was the first car for me, and for so many from my generation, and even later,” Lt Gen (retd) Dr RK Suri, who is in his 80s now, reminisces fondly about the car that took him places but “never gave up”.
Thanks for bringing this write up about Maruti Car. I couldn't afford to book the 800 car way back in 1983 due to its high cost around Rs 52,00/- plus but it remained in my subconscious mind somewhere. And the dream came true in 1994 when I could muster the courage to manage Rs 1,85,000/- plus, the cost of car by then in Delhi. But the wait was unending. My car was delivered to me after 9 months of wait after having paid full amount at the time of booking.
Bloody oldUglyWitch indiraGaandii and her rapistGoonda son SanjayGaaandi screwed up the entire beaurocracy and economy. Cor ion and licence raj drove economy backwards while countries like korea, japan, china raced ahead.
Surya Kant Agrawal
Maruti Suzuki transformed the manufacturing in India and brought in lean, mean, just in time, management
For us , our small family bought this car for Rs65000/- , used it for ten yeaaaaars , and then sold it for Rs95000/- !!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT ? THOSE WERE THE DAYS ..
Modi The Global Feku
Had it been Feku in the 1980s, our current mode of transport would still have been the Bullock carts
Thanks to Sanjay Gandhi, our industry revo tionized. If only Sanjay were alive for another couple of decades instead of Indira or Rajeev, our country's picture would have been totally different now. Gandhi's family feud and hunger for power changed the course of the country!
All those who bought Maruti 800 as their first car can relate to this article. In those days even having one small car at home was luxury and pride for the owner. Now even after having many cars, one doesn't get that same feeling.
Maruthi car in Indian automobile industry was like A R Rahman for Indian music , My first car was a used Maruthi 800
Sanjay had the vision of industrialisation and population control.
Subba Iyer Mani
It was the best car that I ever owned or driven. I was able to get my Maruti 800 in 1985 and ever since I have always been a Maruti car owner.
Sanjay Gandhi was much re led in his lifetime. But, with the benefit of hindsight and in view of subsequent events, I can say that he was a farsighted visionary. Somehow, people close to Gandhi family seem to be dying through air crashes, when they stand in the way of other members of the family.
Maruti 800 was an iconic car, ch and maintain and very dependable. I had driven my first 800 across the length and breadth of India and it never gave me any trouble. Engine was simple and most mechanics could easily do minor repairs .
Yes, it was a statesymbol to be owner of maruti 800 and today also we see love of people for it. Thanks Sanjay Gandhi for his gift to India.
Narela M R
Indian middle classes transformed their dreams of personal transport (car) to high end SUVs for merry making in these 4 decades of growth.
The whole nation knows Sanjay , his activities and interference in the bureaucracy.
I also fondly remember my first car M-800 AC which I continued for 13 years and at the time of exchanging I felt very bad.
Gandhi's brought us where we are today ,they were real visionaries and we need them again !
my Maruti 800 has completed 20 years of its life and still going on
I have seen some modi bhakths expressed their narrow mind set even on this article only because Maruti was started by Indira.
Modi Bhakths with filthy mindset are not able to digest this appreciation for Maruti car since it is a gift to Indians from indira and sanjay.