The Indian car market, though very competitive, is very simple when looked at from a bird’s eye view. The majorly consists of only 3 segments, hatchbacks, SUVs, and sedans. Yes, there are variations in the sizes, like SUVs, compact SUVs, and sub-compact SUVs, but these are the primary segments that we look at. This doesn’t mean that other segments don’t exist, but the cars are so few in numbers that these are almost nonexistent. Today, let’s talk about these lesser known car segments in India!
Station wagons, also known as estate cars are pretty much extinct in India right now. In the early 2000s, two manufacturers experimented with station wagons in India. These were Maruti and Skoda. Maruti launched an estate version of the Baleno and Skoda did the same with the Octavia. This is the most practical segment on this list of lesser known car segments in India. Estate cars are defined by the massive boot space that they carry. These are regular 5-seater cars that can literally fit your entire house in the boot! They don’t look very attractive, but they’re very useful for road trips and frequent movers. In the late 2010s, Volvo also launched a station wagon, the V90, however, it did not fare very well in the market.
The most exciting entry on this list of lesser known car segments in India is Muscle cars. Indians love luxury, comfort, and convenience, and that is why we see many expensive luxury cars on the roads. The same price bracket also carries muscle cars like the Ford Mustang, Dodge Demon, and Chevy ZL1. Muscle cars are chunkier versions of high-performance cars. These vehicles carry huge engines, usually V8s, and are very high on torque. This segment never picked up in India even though the Mustang was on sale for a long time. A Mustang with a 5L V8 engine would cost you around Rs. 80 Lakhs, pretty similar to a Mercedes E-Class, but not many people chose this car. We wish muscle cars were more popular in India.
Yes, we know that pickup trucks have been gaining a lot of attention these days, but that’s majorly only on social media. How many pickup trucks have you actually seen on the roads? Not many, right? The primary reason behind them being on this list of lesser known car segments in India is the pricing and size. Today, a good pickup truck wouldn’t cost you less than Rs. 25 Lakhs. And even with this cost, pickup trucks do not offer a lot of features, or any kind of luxury. Moreover, the size of these vehicles is so massive that driving them in city traffic gets very tiring. Currently, India has only 2 options for a person looking for a pickup truck for personal use – the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross and the Toyota Hilux.
Another very exciting name on this list of lesser known car segments in India is the hot hatch category. A hot hatch is a high-performance version of a regular hatchback. Some good examples of these cars would be the Honda Civic Type-R, Ford Focus RS, and the VW Golf GTI. All these hatches have high-performance turbocharged engines that produce over 200HP! The reason they haven’t been popular in India is the cost. A real hot hatchback would easily cost you over Rs. 50 Lakhs, which is too much money for a hatchback, as per Indian buyers. VW did introduce the Polo GTI in India at around Rs. 25 Lakhs, but it didn’t sell a lot. Even the Mini Cooper JCW, which is still on sale, is a rare sight on Indian roads.
By definition, a sleeper car is a car that looks extremely ordinary but is a very high performer. These cars are usually modified and customized by people and are very popular in countries like USA and Japan. Some of the most popular sleepers are based on old Honda, Nissan, and Toyota cars. They use the same chassis and body but replace the interiors, and even the engines at times! A lot of sleepers in the market produce over 1000HP! Sleepers are surely a work of passion and are very hard to build and maintain. This Honda Civic in the image below is from the 1980s and has been worked on by an American individual. Believe it or not, this lazy-looking hatch produces over 700HP!
Which of these lesser known car segments in India would you like to see more of? Let us know in the comments below!