While some vehicles carve an unforgettable niche for themselves in the Indian market, there are others that even fail to create an impact. Be it low sales volume or a concept that’s beyond the market sentiments, many cars have become a flop in the Indian automobile market over the years.
But those who are passionate enough, know that the true success of a vehicle isn’t determined purely by its sales volume. There are vehicles that bring about a revolution and are way ahead of their era. And despite their little cameo, these are truly the cars that set off a trend. So here 5 flop vehicles that were truly ahead of their time.
Maruti Suzuki Kizashi
Often dubbed as one of India’s most affordable automobile manufacturer, there was a time when Maruti Suzuki wanted to disrupt the premium segment. Their contender was the 2011 Maruti Suzuki Kizashi; a premium sedan that was determined to leave a mark. Powered by a 2.4-litre petrol engine that returned 185 HP, the Kizashi was available with both a 5-speed manual and a CVT option.
But despite its promising package, there were a few setbacks that the Kizashi failed to address. First was the dearth of a diesel engine at a time when the Indian market wasn’t really inclined towards petrol. The second was the fact that the Kizashi was a CBU (Direct Import) unit that made it quite expensive for the masses. As a result, the Kizashi became a flop after 4 years, due to sluggish sales and non-competitive pricing. But with that said, the Kizashi was indeed ahead of its time.
Skoda Octavia Combi
While estate cars and station wagons are quite the charm in Europe, the same cannot be said for India and that too in 2005. The Skoda Octavia Combi however was a risk the Czech automaker was willing to take, after the success of the Octavia. Offered with capable engine options that included a 1.9-litre diesel and a 1.8-litre turbo petrol unit, the Octavia Combi failed to leave a mark. It seemed as if the Indian consumers were either inclined towards the sleek sedans or the muscular SUVs with no grey area in between. As a result, the Combi fled from the Indian market, never returning again. But despite its failure to sell, the Combi was a true blend of sedan looks and SUV bulk.
A sedan that brought in a lovely look, wider stance, great road presence and ample features, the Opel Vectra was a true head-turner. Offered with a 2.2-litre petrol burner, the vehicle produced 146 BHP with 203 NM. The year was 2003, and the entry of Opel Vectra was a refreshing move by GM. But the fact that axed the Vectra out of the market, was that it was a purely CBU unit. The result was that the Vectra was priced too high in the price spectrum with maintenance and fuel cost too being on the higher side.
Before the Thar became a cult, Mahindra brought in an SUV that was built on the same philosophies on which the Thar is built today. Launched to take on the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, the Mahindra Invader was an all-rounder SUV that could tackle any and every road. Offered with a 2.5-litre diesel making 63bhp and 177Nm of torque, the Invader had a power advantage over the Gypsy. The Indian consumers were however not ready to trade in their petrol burners for a diesel vehicle meant for recreation purposes. As a result, the Invader “flopped”, despite being worthy enough to put the Gypsy to shame.
It was 1991, and the stage was set for India to reap the fruits of economic reforms. And adding a cherry on top, Tata decided to prepare home-cooked SUV goodness with a pinch of fancy gadgetry. The result was the Tata Sierra a cult that still has its existence deeply rooted in the hearts of true enthusiasts.
It was completely “made in India” and had a unique design that caught the fancy of many but the hearts, of just a few. Overall, the Sierra was one of India’s first SUV that came with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel naturally-aspirated Peugeot engine. The sad reality, however, was that the Sierra failed to leave a lasting impression. There were only 4 seats on offer, and the rear windows did not operate, making the Sierra seem a little odd to many. As a result, the Sierra faded away to never come back.
So these were 5 “Flop” vehicles that were actually ahead of their time. And if you want to add to the list, comment below and stay pinned!
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