The original Alto model was first introduced in Japan in 1979 to provide motorists with a city car which combined fun, practicality, affordability and low running costs. During the last 32 years, this ethos has been maintained, and these values remain at the heart of the seventh generation Alto.

With outstanding performance in terms of fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, Alto meets the lifestyle needs of today's motorists and the pressing global need for a reduced impact on the environment. Furthermore, it is one of the most fun-to-drive city cars available, a great example of Suzuki's "Way of Life!" philosophy.

The five-door Alto is available in three levels of specification; SZ2, SZ3, and SZ4. The SZ3 is equipped with air conditioning as standard, whilst the top of the range SZ4 model adds ESP, curtain airbags, 14-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps and body-coloured door handles as standard.

The car is manufactured at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar assembly facility near Delhi, India, and is the first Suzuki to be exported from there since the last generation Alto ceased production for Europe at the end of 2005. Suzuki achieves annual sales of 50,000 units in Europe of which around 6,500 are sold in the UK market.

Maruti Suzuki India, in which Suzuki Motor Corporation has a 54.0 per cent stake, is India's largest carmaker with a current domestic market share of 51.0 per cent and celebrated its 27 year anniversary in December 2010. Since 1994, 400,000 cars have been exported to Europe, and more than 8.5 million Suzuki cars have been produced and sold in India since the launch in 1983 of the Maruti 800, India’s first affordable world-class car. There are over four million Alto’s on the roads there.

Design work for the new Alto was conducted by a team based at Suzuki's headquarters in Japan but involved extensive studies in Europe.

The design programme began in February 2005 at styling clinics in Paris and Milan. By showing European customers four minivehicle models that it was marketing in Japan, Suzuki learned that there were great differences in styling preferences between the Japanese minivehicle, and the European compact-car markets. To identify European styling tastes more clearly, Suzuki designers then stayed in Paris and Milan, observing the latest design techniques and making numerous sketches with a view to creating a Suzuki compact car that would look fresh and distinctive on European city streets. This work created the basis for all subsequent aspects of the design for the Alto.

Amid growing international efforts to reduce carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions, Suzuki sees the latest Alto, the smallest of its world strategic models, as its flagship low-carbon vehicle. Consequently, the product concept for the Alto gave top priority to fuel economy, and to a design that was both light weight and compact. The design team also faced the challenge of creating a concept which incorporated appealing, user-friendly packaging and styling.

By refining the shape of the body, the design team achieved Suzuki's performance targets in terms of aerodynamics and other attributes whilst achieving the required styling for the Alto.

A smooth flowing profile from the windscreen to the roof line combines with wedge-shaped side windows to provide a sporty look. The door mirrors further promote aerodynamic efficiency.