Leading Indian carmaker, Maruti Udyog Limited, has announced the launch of its latest variant, Alto LXi. The Suzuki Alto based design comes equipped with Maruti's Electronic Power Steering while offering all the features of the Alto LX. The power steering fitment is seen as competitively significant by Maruti.

It is being priced aggressively at Rs 3.19 lakh (ex showroom, Delhi) and the company hopes that it will appeal to a broad base of potential customers, including first time car buyers and existing owners of the Maruti 800.

According to Maruti, the minimum price for a car with power steering in the domestic market is Rs 3.4 lakh (ex showroom, Delhi).

"Our research shows that customers want power steering in their cars because it makes the car easy to drive, easy to turn, easy to park and easy to manoeuvre in city traffic. But many customers are deterred by the high price they have to pay for cars with a power steering", said a Maruti spokesperson.

"The Alto LXi now brings power steering within the reach of first time car buyers and existing owners of Maruti 800", the spokesperson said.

Power steering has emerged as the most popular features after air conditioning among owners of small cars. An estimated 30 per cent of cars currently sold in the B and C segments have power steering.