The Indian Automotive industry has seen some cars that have been runaway hits from the day that they’ve launched. On the flipside, there have been some really exceptional cars that have not managed to make the mark. From the Standard 2000 that debuted in the 1980s to more recent cars like the Maruti Suzuki Kizashi, all seemed to have it all on paper but just failed to impress the Indian Market. Here’s our list of the top 5 cars in India that have failed to impress the Indian consumer. From being too pricey to just not being in-line with the consumer's aspiration these great cars were forced to bow out of the Indian Market:
Launched in 1985 the Standard 2000 was one of those really unique cars that were set apart from the moment you looked at it. Remember, in the 1980s the Indian market didn’t have the plethora of cars that are available in the market today. At the time options included the likes of the Ambassador, the Premier Padmini Fiat and the recently launched Maruti 800. The Standard 2000 was a rehashed version of the 1991cc Rover SD1 with slightly more ground clearance and more cost-effective interiors, Standard had hoped the 2000 would be a revolution in the Indian Market and prepared to produce almost 4000 units of the car on the monthly basis. This was never achieved, and 2000 soon made a quiet exit from the market in 1988.
A lot of people don’t even know that the Peugeot was on sale in India, and that was one among the myriad of reasons why the Peugeot never got off the ground. Launched in the 90s in collaboration with Premier Automobiles, the Peugeot 309 came to India and was met with an initial surge after which it quickly met its end owing to a lack of service stations and availability of spare parts. Peugeot pulled out of the collaboration in 2001 with barely a thousand units sold. All considered, in its time the Peugeot did have a small cult following that swore by their cars.
GM owned Chevrolet had a mixed bag run in India, although, aside from the badge the brand mainly focused on bringing cars from Daewoo (that they had acquired recently) re-badging them with the iconic Chevy cross and selling them in India. While cars like the Matiz based Spark and the Lacetti Sedan based Chevrolet Optra managed admirable numbers in the India the Lacetti hatch based Chevrolet SR-V. It was India’s first real taste of a luxury sedan and might have been a little too early for its time. Despite its sharp design and futuristic looks, the SRV was quickly pulled from production.
Maruti Suzuki Kizashi
Maruti Suzuki’s first attempt at building a really premium car, the Kizashi made its way to India in 2011. While the Kizashi came to India as CBU, it was priced at a seriously premium price of Rs 17.5 lakh. The Premium car got a 2.4 litre that made 185 hp and 230 Nm of torque. Unfortunately, the Indian was simply not ready for a Maruti that was as premium as the Kizashi and Maruti were left with a whole lot of stock that just didn’t seem to move off the shelf. Although this did force Maruti to go back to the drawing board, and can be attributed to the launch of their Nexa line which is Maruti new segway to the Indian Market.
The Fiat Punto was launched in 2009, after Fiat announced their tie-up with Tata Motors, despite the Punto was an exceptional car in the global market its premium price tag and a lack of strong dealer network in India along with reliability issues meant that Fiats inroads were quickly cut short. Fiat later retried their entry into the Indian market on their own but once again were not able to rid themselves of the demons of their past failures.