All the celebrated car brands around the world are placing their bets on SUVs. From developing new platforms from scratch to featuring all of the latest technology, car manufacturers are throwing in all they’ve got to make their version of an ideal modern-day SUV to stand out from the rest. They have all the right reasons in the world to spend all of their time and energy on an SUV. it is evidently the most popular car body configuration currently.

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Similar is the case with the Indian car market. SUVs sell more than any other types of cars in our country. Be it a compact, mid-sized, or full-sized SUV, the Indian car market has a lot of potential for this segment. So manufacturers since a long time now have been churning out all kinds of SUVs to achieve their prime goal of market domination.

Despite the SUV being a sheer success formula most of the times for a car manufacturer, there have been times when an SUV gamble didn’t turn out to be as spectacular as they might’ve thought it would be. Companies like Hyundai, Mahindra and even Maruti have seen their SUV cars bomb in the Indian market.

Here are 10 such SUVs that failed in the Indian car market.

  1. Hyundai Terracan

    2003-2009 Hyundai Terracan
    2003-2009 Hyundai Terracan | Flop SUVs in India

    Launch in India back in 2003, the Terracan is Hyundai’s most unfortunate venture in India. It was a full-size SUV with huge proportions like no other car back in the day. Under the hood, it had a 2902cc CRDi Diesel engine making 148 HP and 343Nm of torque.

    What went wrong?
    The Terracan fell prey to a phenomenon which is highly influential in the Indian car market, Brand Image. Hyundai with its Santro and Accent was perceived as an economy car maker. People didn’t feel so confident in shelling out a huge sum of money for a brand with such a reputation. Also, there were better options in the segment like the Mitsubishi Pajero and Ford Endeavour and these cars made for a better full-size SUV ownership experience.

  2. Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara

    Suzuki Grand Vitara
    Suzuki Grand Vitara | Flop SUVs in India

    Another SUV in the Indian car market which could not spread its wings due to its brand’s mediocre perception in the country was the Grand Vitara by Maruti Suzuki. This car was Maruti’s attempt to move past their “economy car maker” perception and bring in a more premium range product.

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    The Grand Vitara came with a 2.4 Litre petrol engine making 163HP and 225Nm of peak torque. It also came with an automatic transmission and 4WD options as well.

    What went wrong?
    It’s fair for Maruti to choose to enhance its brand image, it’s just that they chose a wrong pilot for the mission. The Grand Vitara was priced around Rs. 21 Lakh – Rs 23 Lakh and was a proportionately small car for that price range. Indian Customers are accustomed to getting a chunky SUV for such an amount and such a price tag didn’t bode well for the rather small SUV. Also, the Rs.20 Lakh+ is a price range people won’t be comfortable shelling out for a Maruti car even today, So it was simply a no-no back in the day.

  3. Mitsubishi Montero

    Mitsubishi Montero
    Mitsubishi Montero | Flop SUVs in India

    Sharing stable with the legendary SUV in India the Pajero, came another offering in the SUV segment from Mitsubishi. The Montero is a car known by very few people to have ever existed. The car was discontinued in 2012 due to poor sales but was brought back to Mitsubishi’s Indian portfolio in 2016 through a CBU route. It got a 3.2 Litre Di-D engine producing 192HP and 441Nm of torque. The car was also feature-loaded and was all in all a luxury experience.

    Related: Mitsubishi and Why the brand Failed in India?

    What went wrong?
    Due to the CBU route, the Mitsubishi Montero came for an insane price tag of over Rs. 70 Lakh Rupees (ex-showroom). This made it enter the German luxury SUV territory and the Japanese SUV was no match to the ownership experience those premium brands have on offer.

  4. Hyundai Santa Fe

    Hyundai Santa Fe
    Hyundai Santa Fe | Flop SUVs in India

    Another Hyundai on this List is the Santa-Fe. The Hyundai Santa was yet another Full-size SUV from the manufacturer which bombed in the Indian Market. Let’s just say that this particular segment hasn’t been so lucky for Hyundai in India. The Santa Fe came with a 2.1-litre turbo diesel engine making 194HP and 420Nm of torque. Prices for the car before it was discontinued in the country were between Rs. 28 Lakh – Rs. 31 Lakh rupees ex-showroom.

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    What went wrong?
    The segment in which the Santa Fe resided has been dominated by the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour for numerous years and the Hyundai SUV was unable to make its mark under their reign. Hence, due to poor sales, Hyundai phased off the Santa Fe from India.

  5. Skoda Yeti

    Skoda Yeti
    Skoda Yeti

    Skoda India has seen its fair share of highs and lows in the Indian market. One such Skoda’s unsuccessful venture in India was the Yeti. The Yeti was a compact SUV before the Hype for the segment had actually kicked in. The Yeti had a 2.0 turbo diesel engine producing 138HP and 320Nm of torque. It came in 4×4 and 4×2 options and was priced around Rs.21 Lakh (ex-showroom).

    Related: The Škoda Yeti | Why this compact SUV failed in India

    What went wrong?
    There aren’t a lot of customers who have shown faith in the Skoda brand in India. So in such a scenario, a small proportioned SUV for more than 20 lakh rupees didn’t seem like a great deal. Despite having a capable powertrain and 4×4, the car seemed more suitable for the international markets and was not a suitable choice for the subcontinent at such a price point.

  6. Nissan X-Trail

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    The X-trial was a 4×4 SUV from Nissan which was discontinued in the year 2014. The X-Trail had a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine producing 150HP and 320Nm of torque.

    What went wrong?
    Being a CBU, the price for the X-Trail starting at Rs. 22.67 Lakh ex-showroom Delhi. This made it a comparatively expensive offering at a time when there was no potential market for such a car in India. During its last year in the country, Nissan sold only 7 units of the X-trail.

  7. Volkswagen Touareg

    2002 Volkswagen Touareg
    2002 Volkswagen Touareg | Flop SUVs in India

    The Volkswagen Touareg was once Volkswagen’s flagship offering in India. It was a highly capable SUV with massive power on offer and German reliability. It had a 3.0-litre V6 engine producing a tarmac thumping 242HP and 550Nm of torque.

    Most Viewed: 10 Forgotten Maruti Suzuki Cars In India: From SX4 To Stingray

    What went wrong?
    This was another car in India whose sales were affected due to a hefty price tag coming from a CBU route. Prices for the Volkswagen Touareg were Rs. 58.5 Lakh rupees ex-showroom Delhi. This made it difficult for the German SUV to compete with fellow Germans rivals in that price segment.

  8. Tata Aria

    2013 Tata Aria
    2013 Tata Aria | Flop SUVs in India

    This Tata came much before the company decided to revamp its entire image in the Indian market and hence missed from taking advantage of that. Tata Aria was an unusual blend of a Sedan and an MPV, merged together to make an SUV. It had a 2.2 Litre, common-rail diesel engine making 150HP and 320Nm of torque. The SUV also came loaded with various first in class features.

    What went wrong?
    Tata Aria’s direct rival was the Mahindra XUV500 which had gained a strong market share in the segment. Tata, on the other hand, was already struggling to make a strong impression with its existing vehicles. So the unconventional Tata Aria was not able to flourish with brands existing situation.

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  9. Mahindra Quanto

    Mahindra Quanto
    Mahindra Quanto | Flop SUVs in India

    If there’s one thing that Mahindra knows how to pull off then that would be knowing how to produce just the right kind of utility vehicle for the Indian market. But that wasn’t the case with all the cars they ever produced.

    Mahindra Quanto was a compact SUV having a 1.5 Litre Diesel engine producing a maximum of 100HP and 240Nm of peak torque.

    What went wrong?
    The Quanto was Mahindra’s first take on a compact SUV but it didn’t turn out to be a success. The Quanto was not such a good looking car. Its front and rear design was unattractive and disproportionate. It had bench seats in the rear and accommodating those seats meant the middle-row space was compromised. All this and several other factors made the Quanto fail in the Indian market.

  10. Premier Rio

    Premiere Rio A Failed Rebadged Chinese Car-01
    Premiere Rio | Flop SUVs in India

    Probably the smallest SUV you will ever come across. The Rio came from the legacy of the brand Premier which had the Iconic Padmini in the Country. It can be considered as the first compact SUV of India when it was launched in 2009, much before the sub-4-meter SUV fashion came into existence in India. The car was based on a Chinese product named “Zotye” or the Daihatsu Terios. The car had a 1.2-litre petrol engine producing little over 75HP and 103Nm of torque during its debut. Later on, it also received a fiat sourced 1.3 Litre multi-jet diesel engine producing 71HP and 180Nm of torque.

    Related: Premier Rio | A Failed Rebadged Chinese Car

    What went wrong?
    The car had several issues related to the built quality and after-sales service. Also, the design and overall proportions of the car weren’t very fulfilling. So, being a low-quality Chinese product, after all, the Rio was not able to live up to the legacy of the Premier brand in India.

So, what do you think about our list of 10 failed SUVs from big car manufacturers? Did we miss any car? Shout your heart out in the comments section.

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