It is the soothing thing about history that it does repeat itself and in this case, its the some of the iconic cars of the past the in many ways defines the Indian car industry. Famous brands like Hindustan Ambassador, Hyundai Santro that has seen the eviltion of Indian auto industry at various stages and catered to a booming market with pride. Cars and vehicles like the Hyundai Santro, Maruti Suzuki Zen became the household names in the Indian middle-class society and provided Indian families a new way of commute that was safer, faster and increasingly led to the overall development of India.
These iconic cars might not be on sale in India but have a special connect with Indian customers and many bring back the nostalgic feeling when spoken, written or read about. We still see many on Indian roads few in perfect conditions and few just lying in the garage due to the lack of availability of spare parts. It is also safe to say that these cars have now turned into brands and companies will soon revive these iconic cars in India as it is always good to recreate a brand in a new avatar to attract a customer rather than creating and explaining a new brand.
It’s not just the iconic Ambassador or the Santro might make a comeback in India, Mitsubishi Lancer is also likely to make a comeback in India in a crossover avatar and market leader, Maruti Suzuki could bring back its Zen and Gypsy brands and make the most of its mass fan following.
Cars to make a comeback in India with expected launch timelines:
Expected Launch date: January 2019:
The reviving of brands will start as early as this financial year as Honda Cars India has confirmed the launch of 2018 Honda Civic in India. India bound Honda Civic was first showcased at the Auto Expo 2018 and the sedan will be back on the Indian roads after a gap of 5 years. Honda Civic has been a popular nameplate in India and its low-stance and sporty appeal made it one of the most anticipated upcoming cars in India. The car was first launched in 2006 and saw two major facelifts before it went out production in 2013. Honda Civic will fill the gap between Honda City and Honda Accord hybrid sedan in India.
2. New 2018 Hyundai Santro:
Expected Launch date: September/October 2018
Hyundai Motor India is celebrating 20 years in India and has already confirmed the launch of its new small car codenamed as AH2. It is likely that the company will brand this new car as the new 2018 Hyundai Santro as it was the Santro with which the South Korean carmaker started its successful India journey and the 2018 Santro is a perfect way to celebrate its 20th anniversary in India. The car has been spotted several times in India Once launched, 2018 Hyundai Santro will take on the likes of Tata Tiago, Maruti Suzuki Celerio and the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R.
3. Hindustan Ambassador:
Expected launch date: 3rd/4th quarter of FY 2020-21
Hindustan Motors’ owned by C K Birla group has now jointly ventured with French automaker PSA Groupe to make cars and SUVs in India. Both the companies will invest about Rs 700 crore to establish a manufacturing plant in India. PSA Groupe has acquired the brand Ambassador from Hindustan Motors for Rs 80 crore in February 2017. The joint venture between PSA and C.K Birla is in the final stages of construction of its powertrain plant in Hosur, Tamil Nadu that will have an annual capacity of 2 lakh units. While the company has not officially confirmed reviving on Ambassador in India, the massive investment just to acquire the Ambassador brand suggests a comeback for Ambassador car in India.
4. Maruti Suzuki Zen:
Expected launch: January 2020
Maruti Suzuki has already tasted success by reviving its Baleno brand and now it is likely that the production version of Maruti Suzuki Concept Future S that was showcased at the Auto Expo 2018 might be branded as the Maruti Suzuki Zen. Maruti Suzuki Zen will make a comeback in India in a compact SUV or a crossover avatar and it is also likely to get an electric powertrain. Maruti Suzuki Zen made its India debut in 1993 and served for 16 long years. The car was already revived once as the Zen Estilo in a tallboy avatar and later discontinued in 2010. Maruti Suzuki Zen (badged as Alto) was also the first car to be exported from India to Europe by the company. Overall, the company has sold over 7.60 lakh units of Zen in India including 1.22 lakh units of exports.
5. Mitsubishi Lancer:
Expected launch: mid-2020
Japanese automaker Mitsubishi is planning to bring back its legendary Lancer brand and it might also see a crossover avatar. Post joining the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Mitsubishi has seen an increase in its sales globally and now the company is working to bring in some new age SUVs, a small car and also the new Lancer confirms the company. Mitsubishi will bring in a C-Segment crossover for the international markets and will take on the likes of Hyundai Creta, Renault Captur and Mahindra XUV500. Tsunehiro Kunimoto, Corporate Vice-President, Head of Design, Mitsubishi Motors was quoted saying “Our main preview image shows how it could evolve into a new Lancer hatch. “Just because it’s C-segment doesn’t mean it has to be a very conventional hatchback."
6. Maruti Suzuki Gypsy:
Expected launch: end 2020
Another icon whose return is likely to be met with fanfare is the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy. A new Jimny in international markets has revitalized interest, especially considering the new car is likely to be a much more evolved usable version of the Gypsy who ’s greatest flaws was its spartan interiors and rough ride that made it almost unusable on a day-to-day basis. The 2018 Jimny in that sense, takes all the best things about the uber-capable Maruti Suzuki Gypsy and puts it in a more usable package. With India’s love for compact SUVs it is perhaps the perfect time to relaunch the Gypsy in India.