Hatchbacks are really popular in India. The Indian audience absolutely love hatches due to their less price, compact size and easy driveability. These cars are cheap, easy to maintain and a perfect resource for city life where you need to drive in congested spaces or may even need to park in one! Among the hatchbacks that do really well, there were some who couldn’t. Here are 10 failed hatchbacks from major automakers. These cars were launched with high expectations but sadly couldn’t do well. Be it Maruti Suzuki or Hyundai, everyone has got a situation where they had to discontinue a car because the sale response was extremely poor.
Maruti Suzuki A-Star
Starting the list of the failed hatchbacks with our favourite brand! This hatchback was launched by Maruti Suzuki in India in November 2008. It was powered by the newly introduced K-Series engine. This hatch from MSIL had the best-in-class turning radius! This was surely a feature which the city people would love! It delivered excellent fuel economy, power and also the much-required style statement. A-Star did well in the initial days. This car was also exported from the Manesar plant. In 2013, MSIL produced 7171 units out of which 6,500 were exported. No doubt, this car did good in the initial years but sales dipped as the time went through. Nissan Europe also stopped the import of the A-Star which they sold as Pixo. With low local demand and almost no export demand as well, Maruti Suzuki saw no sense in continuing its production. Maruti Suzuki A-Star was discontinued in 2014.
Skoda introduced the Fabia in India in 2008. This hatchback was then, able to rest the hatchback standards in India. Luxury, features, performance, Fabia had it all! This was the only hatch from the German automaker in India. The only problem with this. car was the unavailability of the parts. This car was a purely import-based assembly. This car didn’t have impressive sale numbers ever since it was launched.
To boost sales, Skoda decided to cut the prices. With multiple cuts, the price came to a number where the automaker started bearing losses! According to industry sources, Skoda was losing as much as Rs 1.5 lakh per car. Therefore, they were refraining from marketing it as well. In 2012-2013, fiscal year, the Fabia sold only 3,343 units. In the last month of its existence, Fabia sold only 115 units. The only hatch from Skoda was discontinued and never returned. We don’t have any Skoda hatch in the market currently. Those waiting for a power-packed hatch will have to wait a little longer we suppose.
Hyundai Getz was launched in India in 2002. This one had a really good response from the Indian audience. It came at a time when there were not much offered in the segment. Getz came powered by a 1.4-litre DOHC petrol engine that used to churn out 81.86hp of power and a peak torque of 115Nm. Hyundai left no stone unturned to provide all the modern-day features inside the Getz. There was power steering, rear defogger, rear reading lamps and power windows to count on. The i20 took over the international markets in 2008. This is where the Getz lost its popularity and Hyundai had to pull the plugs. Hyundai Getz was discontinued in 2007.
Ford Fusion was launched in India in 2004. It seems like luxury hatches didn’t sell at all at that time. Fusion was another example of why the automakers refrained themselves from manufacturing expensive hatchbacks. Ford trimmed the car by 4 meters in order to avail excise benefits. Further, Ford also did many price cuts to push the sales of this car but all in vain! Ford Fusion couldn’t perform well at all in the Indian market. At the initial stage, they thought that the absence of a diesel engine was the reason for the low sales. Ford then introduced the Fiesta Duratorq engine. The diesel wasn’t able to push the sales as well. This car was therefore discontinued in 2006.
Chevrolet Sail UVA
Chevrolet Sail UVA was launched in India in 2012. The introductory starting price was Rs. 4.44 Lakhs. The price was quite impressive. The Sail and the Sail UVA combo did good in the initial days. Chevrolet was doing good in the Indian market but started to struggle around 2016. This is when Chevrolet decided to pull the plug on the Sail UVA and the Sail. In January 2016, the Sail UVA sold 0 units. This was the biggest failure ever reported. Therefore, the American automaker decided to call off this car from the Indian market. Though Chevrolet is not present in India as of now, there were some great masterpieces that they created here!
The Renault Pulse was launched in India in 2012. The car resembled the Nissan Micra to some extent and did well till 2015. This was an officially rebadged version of the Micra. The demand for this hatchback fell drastically in 2015 therefore, the automaker decided to temporarily call-off its production. The Pulse and the Scala were not produced for some time in 2015 seeing the low demand. The Renault Scala was available with a 99hp, 1.5-litre petrol and an 86hp, 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine. While both engines were mated to a five-speed manual, a CVT gearbox was also offered with the petrol variant. Thew car reported a sale of 0 units in June 2017. Therefore, it was a wise decision for Renault to discontinue this car.
Mahindra Verito Vibe
Mahindra Verito Vibe looks like a hatchback but it isn’t a true one! Yes, this one is a sub-4 metre saloon but doesn’t look like one! Its boot is hinged at the bottom of the rear windscreen. This one was launched in India in 2013. This car came with a diesel engine only as using a petrol motor inside it won’t let Mahindra avail the tax benefits. The 1.5-litre diesel engine was the same as that on the Mahindra Verito. This engine produced 64 bhp. This was a good car considering the mileage it delivered. The claimed mileage was around 21kmpl. We didn’t know what went wrong. The sale for this car fell drastically and Mahindra decided not to go ahead with this model. With the incoming BS6 norms, Mahindra wiped this car off with others like NuvoSport and Xylo.
Tata Bolt was showcased at the Auto Expo 2014. The Indian automaker introduced the Zest and the Bolt which were the sedan-hatch siblings. This car was launched in the Indian market in 2015. The Bolt was the part of the automaker’s Next Horizon umbrella under which they pledged to make new-age cars with modern-day features and styling. Many said that it resembled Indica but Tata Motors claimed it to be a different breed altogether! It was powered by the 1.2-litre Revotron Turbocharged MPFi engine generating 90PS. The diesel model had Fiat’s 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine. The hatch lived a 5-year life in the Indian market and the production was ceased in April 2019.
This one by the American automaker really set the design standards apart! Chevrolet Beat was the perfect example of how a young hatch should be! This one was surely made to target the younger generation as it cam with a sporty look and overall stance. The interior was also quite futuristic. It was a class apart from all the hatchbacks that existed at that time. Launched in 2010, this model continued to be on sale till 2017. Chevrolet Beat was powered by a four-cylinder, 16-valve 1200-cc S-TEC II petrol engine with a maximum power of 80.5 PS. Chevrolet ceased the production and the sale of this hatch along with other cars from its lineup. We can, therefore, say, this one was one of the last cars that Chevrolet sold in India. Chevrolet reported very low sale numbers, and decided to wrap up all the operations from India.
Stepping back to the ’90s, this one was launched in India in 1998. Daewoo introduced a bunch of new products in the Indian market. Matiz was the only hatchback that the automaker offered in India. It gave a good performance with its 796cc engine that churned 52hp and peak torque of 71 Nm. It also had a good fuel efficiency offering 18.5 kmpl. This also had the much-required comfort and convenience which was possible with the technology at that time. The car was sold in good numbers but couldn’t beat giants like the Maruti 800 due to the poor service backup that Daewoo had. This hatch was discontinued due to low sale in 2000. General Motors then bought Daewoo and re-launched the Matiz as Chevrolet Spark! The rest is history!
These were the 10 failed hatchbacks which belonged to major Indian auto brands but still couldn’t do well in the market. Sometimes it is the competition, other times it is the brand image which leads a car to be a hit or a flop in the market. Whatever the reasons were, these cars couldn’t do good and hence, were discontinued.