The Maruti Zen, one of India’s first compact premium cars, may finally ride into the sunset this year after a run that lasted almost two decades.
While the Zen badge was discontinued in 2009, the car was launched in a new avatar as the Estilo. However, it failed to recreate the magic of the original. The company has now told some vendors it may not manufacture the car anymore.
“We’ve been told that ­production may be stopped in the ­latter half of the year around the festive season. A new car would be launched around the same time, but it won’t be a replacement,” said a vendor.
The new car in question is expected to be the latest version of the A-Star, and is in the last stages of development in Japan.
The company, however, denied any plans to discontinue the Estilo. “We have no plans to stop production of Estilo. We have a flexible manufacturing system that allows us to adjust production of cars according to their demand,” a company spokesperson said.
While it took time to gain popularity, Zen gradually carved a space for itself in India and was one of the top selling models in the 90s.
It has undergone a number of changes and was at one point offered with an automatic and diesel variant.
However, many felt its legacy died when Maruti discontinued the jellybean shape of the car in 2006, replacing it with the popular tall boy design. At the time, the company expected to sell at least 5,000 units every month, but failed to achieve that target.