As time goes by, many car manufacturers phase out their offerings. When newer models come out, older ones start losing relevance. While some cars make us happy they left, many make us sad. Manufacturers like Honda, Maruti and Tata have all discontinued some of their car models over the years. So, we shall take a look at 5 good cars that went out of production and why they were discontinued in India.
Honda Civic came to India in 2006. It was a decent car loved by many. The luxury sedan came at a base price of 17.94 lakh. Civic only offered its buyers an option of one i-VTEC petrol engine.
With the BS6 emission norms coming into force, Honda had launched the new BS6 compliant Civic in March 2019. Later, they released the BS6 diesel variant of the car in July 2020. But, after a few months – in December 2020 – Honda discontinued Civic, shocking the automotive industry.
Honda hasn’t been doing very well in the country over the past few years. In the last financial year, the manufacturer only sold around 1 lakh units of its cars. Honda could only manage to sell 14 unit of Civic in June 2020. Even though sales picked up by November with 143 units being sold, it just wasn’t enough. Honda had to consider cutting costs and leaving Civic behind.
The Greater Noida Plant
With the pandemic, Honda had a hard time with capacity utilization and efficiency. As the market for passenger cars dwindled at the beginning of 2020, Honda started losing hope. Even with the economy showing signs of recovery, the Japanese carmaker decided to shut down its oldest facility; the Greater Noida factory. With this plant in UP shutting down, the production of good cars like Civic and CR-V had come to an end as well.
This is because automobiles like Civic was produced in Completely Knocked-Down (CKD) form. That is all the car parts were imported but, were assembled in India. With the production shifting to Tapukara plant in Rajasthan, they had two options in front of them. They could either set up a CKD assembly line in Tapukara plant. Or they could simply discontinue their SUV CR-V and Civic. They didn’t hesitate to do the latter.
They hope that 5 years from now, people will think back and say they made a wise choice. So, for now, Honda will continue making its flagship Honda City, along with Jazz and WR-V. They are continuing with the production of their best-seller Amaze.
When Tata Nano was released it had a base price starting from 1 Lakh. It was cheap to buy and cheaper to maintain. With the cost so low it was a car worth buying in every way. The tiny car did not have a lot of exterior dimensions but had a cabin that was surprisingly spacious enough. Nano was a small city car that no owner ever had to look hard to find a place to park.
The starting price of the Nano was recorded at 2.05 lakh when it went on sale. Nano had a 624 cc 2 cylinder engine. ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce’; at the beginning that was how Nano was looked upon. The vehicle was introduced as a replacement for 2-wheelers so that families could trade in theirs for an affordable four-wheeler. Nano was arguably safer than any two-wheeler, although we cannot say this if we compare it to cars.
Gift and a curse
Tata, however, failed to woo two-wheeler buyers to the Nano, and the car eventually flopped. Nano’s biggest gift – affordability – turned out to be its biggest curse. The car’s cheap image stuck and its unusual looks didn’t help either. To purchase a Nano, you needed to be either a rebel or have a thick skin.
Also, it lacked the features people wanted, compared to its competitors. Small boot and smaller wheels made it hard to compete on utility and appearance.
A crash test concluded that Nano was not safe at all, as per Global NCAP standards. It got a dismal 0-star rating. Besides, Nano was not equipped with anti-lock brakes and airbags, which was a huge letdown. And with newer variants, Nano was no longer a cheap car, even though it looked and felt like one.
The inevitable end
Since the car did not have the basic safety features and with the disappointing sales, Tata saw no reason to delay the inevitable. In April 2020, they discontinued the car altogether.
Nevertheless, Nano was a revolution in the micro hatchback industry. It was the belle of the ball at the 2008 auto expo, outshining Renault and Fiat cars as well as Tata’s own Indica. This lakhtakiya car was unlike any we had ever seen or experienced before. Even now, when it is gone, there is no other car to take its place.
It’s not a car.. its a caaar. We all remember this charming commercial from way back. Nissan added Sunny to its portfolio in India in 2011. The sedan was popular for its roomy cabin, not just in India but across the globe. The car came with a 1498cc 4-cyl engine and had a starting price of around 7 lakhs. Nissan Sunny had plenty of features and provided its customers with great value for money.
The Caaar sales fell short
But even after it was first launched, the sales of this saloon fell short of expectations. The car was given a facelift and was showcased in the 2014 Auto Expo. However even with the cosmetic changes, Sunny kept failing to make the mark Nissan India desperately wanted to make.
Nissan Sunny is no longer in production now. In 2020, with a drop in demand, Nissan has taken this sedan off the catalogue along with Micra. Sunny won’t see the BS6 age. Nissan chose to scrap Sunny and Micra with a new car on a new platform altogether to realize a better return on investment. By doing this they bid adios to the V-platform.
This legendary vehicle came into India in the winter of 1985. After 34 years, Maruti Suzuki axed the production of this SUV in 2019. The last recorded price of the car was 6.4 lakhs.
Gypsy was a cult classic. Throughout its lifetime, Maruti made improvements to this car every so often, even though it didn’t provide much creature comforts to those who purchased it. The final iteration of Gypsy had a 1298cc 4-cylinder engine and the car was not exactly popular for being packed with features. The basics like air conditioning, ABS and airbags were absent even in the second generation model that was there in 2019!
The Indian Army Vehicle
Nevertheless, Gypsy has long been deployed as a police car. From the year 1991 up until 2019 Maruti Suzuki has provided over 35,000 Gypsys to the Indian Army. As the troops and the paramilitary personnel had to go on expeditions in bad roadways and hilly terrain, Gypsy was best suited for the job. This off-roader can cruise through any tough ground and rugged, unpaved road unfazed.
The conclusion to the 34-year-old tale
Putting the health and the wellbeing of the people and the environment first, the authorities mandated better safety and emission norms. Quickly, one by one several cars vanished from the face of the Indian roads. Gypsy like many others became the collateral damage.
This is because the layout and the design of Gypsy were not suited for upgrades. To make changes that would make it conform to the rules, the car would have to be reconstructed from the ground up. And this would entail a lot of expense. Stricter crash test criteria came into force from October 2019 and with a not-so-great crash-test score, there really was no future for this vehicle.
The army – the biggest market for Gypsy – switched to Tata Safari Storme in 2017. With the sales figures dropping, in 2019 Maruti had to make the tough call to discontinue Gypsy. The Gypsy car was succeeded by the SUV Jimny.
Since the emission norms do not apply to the army, they are still using the Gypsy for defence purposes. Even after the production of the car was suspended the army placed the order to deliver thousands of Gypsys for their use. However, Maruti still does not make Gypsys for civilians. This is because the car does not meet BS6 and other standards. But if you are looking to buy a Gypsy there is still hope! You can always get one, second hand.
Maruti Suzuki Omni
This car was introduced in the closing decades of the 1900s. First launched in the ’84 Omni was in the market for 35 years. Maruti tasted huge success with Omni. Omni is a popular school van even now. It is so successful that it was used as a private van and to meet commercial needs.
The Omni remained more or less the same throughout its life, barring a few changes in appearance and its name (it was called the Van before). In 1998 the vehicle got its first facelift with an engine upgrade. The carburettor was replaced with fuel injection. Other than this Omni did not witness a lot of engine changes.
No ABS, No Airbags
Even after all those years, Omni still had a significant market. The car was last sold at a price of 2.85 lakh. It had an 800cc, 3-cyl engine. However, the Omni failed the safety and crash tests miserably. The car did not have standard safety devices like airbags or even ABS.
For the Omni to be practical today, the carmaker would have to make sea changes to the vehicle. With stringent BS6 norms, they had no option but to stop producing this MUV. Maruti is not planning to bring this minivan back anytime soon. But, at a reasonable price, you can always buy a Maruti Omni second hand.
If you want a brand new van we say go for Toyota Innova. This is the next best thing. 10 Evergreen Cars In India That Are Still In-Production
Will these discontinued cars make a comeback?
Nothing is forever. Neither are we nor are our cars. Cars have to reinvent themselves to catch up with the changing times. As the years pass by, the carmaker would have to get the existing models to comply with newer performance, emission, safety and other standards.
Even though manufacturers would bring in facelifts and newer generations for their pre-existing models, after a while it becomes difficult. When automakers feel like improvising dinosaurs are not worth their time, they would just throw in the towel and call it a day. Once they discontinue their old cars, companies would then rely on the sales of their newer better models.
However, there is always hope. Just like Tata brought back Safari, who knows, carmakers might bring back your favourite car too. So maybe – just maybe – cars are immortal after all.