Hot hatches are basically high performing version of a hatchback. Hatchbacks are mass-produced is a pick for people looking for cars with a tight budget. Here are five of them that launched in India and were discontinued that we wish would make a comeback because they were genuinely good and sometimes ahead of their time.
Suggested Read: 5 Forgotten OPEL Cars in India. The Company that Was
Opel Corsa Sail
Opel was a General Motors car. Gm was trying really hard to get an opening in the Indian market and they tried a bunch of stuff like releasing all segments of cars famous back then. Corsa was one such car which was launched in three different variants, a hatchback, a sedan and a station wagon. We are talking about the hatchback Corsa Sail. Corsa Sail was one last-ditch effort by GM and Opel India to finally do something in the automobile market. The engine powering Opel Corsa sail was weaker than the other versions and had a top speed of 170 km/h. It was a 5 cylinder 5-speed manual transmission. The hatchback version was also a 5 seater like the other Corsa so it can be obvious that it was not as spacious. The engine was petrol like the other Opel cars in India that ever existed and had a displacement of 1389 cc. The rival that Opel Corsa sail had to face was Santro. Hyundai Santro is still a giant in the Indian market and after failing to make a dent in its sales, Corsa Sail was discontinued.
The hot hatch that came to India through the CKD route faced a lot of troubles and issues along the way. Fiat Uno was a front-drive, four-passenger hot hatch that was launched in 1983 and came to India in 1996. The first trouble for Fiat Uno began when its joint partner PAL delivered only 617 cars out of 30,000 cars that were ordered. This gave the car and the company a bad reputation which is not easy to cleanse. It was expected to rival the Maruti Suzuki and had a feel of Zen about it. But you cant rival the giant of Indian Automobile industry back then with a botched launch. Next year Fiat made another JV, this time with Tata Motors. This did give it some success overall but it still couldn’t penetrate the market. Bad dealer support and high maintenance of the car started turning people off and the sales slowly started declining. This was not helped by the fact that Fiat India had to pay a huge fine of 432 crores INR to make up for the fact that FIat purposely sold the cars at a loss in order to gain a foothold in the automobile sector. This is prohibited by Section 4 (1) (a) of the central excise Act which stated that the way the Fiat sold cars cannot be considered as ‘Ordinarily sold’. This was the final coffin in the nail for Fiat Uno.
Maruti Zen was launched back in 1993. It was a 5-door hot hatch and served the company for 16 years before it was discontinued in 2010. It was a successful car by all means selling over 7.6 Lakhs in its lifetime in India and was over 1.2 Lakhs units were exported. The reason Zen was discontinued was because of its sales slowly falling down and cars like Swift, Alto and Wagon R started gaining traction. So to make way for those cars Maruti decided it was the perfect time to discontinue and put those resources in the other cars which as we know was the correct decision by swift still being on the top of this list of car sales almost every month in all segments. All in all, we think Zen can make a comeback and just the name will tickle the nostalgia of people that were into cars during the time of its reign.
The hot hatch was introduced in India by Daewoo in 2002. A five-door hot-hatch it packed two engine options. It looked almost similar to Optra magnum but the front and rear gave it a sports coupe look. Targeted towards the youngster the interior cabin was at the prime at its time. Comparing it to current ties its almost hollow but we have to consider the fact that it was launched almost a decade ago when having a single airbag wax expected as a high safety standard, which the SRV provided. The car kind of had bad fuel economy with 10-12 km/l range and it generated around 100bhp and 140Nm torque which was not half bad. The gearbox was a 5-Speed manual and had kind of a bad reputation for being too sticky and rubbery to use. The SRV may be discontinued in India but they are still quite famous in other countries like Russia where its really easy to spot one. People that owned the car back then are eagerly waiting for it to return and maybe it might make a comeback.
Ford Fusion was a good car. Good build quality, decent performance with a 1.4-litre diesel engine with an output of 68hp and 160Nm torque. enough space inside yet it still didn’t stay for long in the Indian market. Some even considered the hot hatch a total flop which was discontinued after just three years of its launch in India back in 2007. So if the car was good enough why did it flop? It was the price point. The car cost around 6.5 Lakhs. True that the Ford Fusion was a good hatchback but it wasn’t as good to demand over 6 Lakhs. There were various different options to pick instead of this and that’s what people did. With some facelifts a new engine to match the current scene and aggressive pricing, Ford Fusion can come right back in the market and shake it up.
This covers the 5 hot hatches that we hope make a comeback. Some because they were good and some just to trigger the nostalgia!