New Alto to be built in India

* New Alto built in India * Suzuki says quality is high * Available from March 2009...

New Alto to be built in India

Suzuki will be seeking to banish memories of the first Indian-built cars sold in Britain when it starts importing the new Alto city car next spring.

The company is acutely aware that quality will be vital for establishing the credibility of the car. The reputation of Indian-produced cars was tarnished in 2003 when Rover introduced the City Rover, an underdeveloped model that was based on the Tata Indica.

Suzuki's previous-generation Alto, also built in India, failed to boost the impression that cars from the sub-continent could meet European requirements.

'The difference this time is that the new Alto was designed from the concept stage to be a worldwide car,' said Masayuki Fujisaki, Suzukis manager of product planning.

'The previous model was originally designed for India, and we only decided to export it at a later stage.'

The new Alto is made at a much more modern factory, and internal quality audits claim it is matching the standards of Suzukis manufactured in Japan.

It will go on sale in the UK next March as a five-door, powered by a low-emission 67bhp, 1.0-litre petrol engine, and is likely to be priced from around 7000.

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