Many vehicles are discontinued from the market each year due to low sales, ageing products, or the manufacturer no longer being able to profit from the vehicle. Many of India’s iconic cars have been phased out over the years, but there were a few that deserved to be around for a little longer. To commemorate these seven cars, we’ve compiled a list of modern iterations we’d have liked to see instead of the discontinued originals.
Let’s begin with the most recognisable vehicle of all time. The Hindustan Ambassador. From 1958 to 2014, the Ambassador was India’s longest-running model, outselling all others. Although many people don’t realise that it’s a rear-wheel-drive sedan, the Ambassador has been the pride of India’s elites for decades and is still a popular choice today. The Hindustan Ambassador would have looked great in a modern setting. Try to picture an Amby with LED headlights, and perhaps an infotainment touchscreen. In fact, DC Design is currently working on an electric version of the Ambassador, which should go on sale next year. We’re eagerly awaiting to see how that turns out.
One of India’s most recognisable vehicles, the Tata Sumo was known for transporting a large number of passengers at once. The Tata Sumo was in the market for 25 years, starting in 1994 and was discontinued in 2019. Even before SUVs became popular, it was India’s most popular SUV for several years. The Sumo, on the other hand, failed the most recent round of crash tests, and Tata would have had to spend a lot of money to bring it up to date. The Sumo, in its later years, catered only to a very specific audience, so this didn’t make much sense at all. However, it would have been fascinating to see Tata reinvent the Sumo for the 21st century.
The Toyota Qualis was another well-liked SUV at the time, and it was particularly popular among large families due to its ability to accommodate up to 8 passengers. It was one of those cars that were discontinued a little too soon after Toyota brought it to India in 1999. Toyota did a good job updating the SUV over time, but the boxy design of the SUV made it look out of date after a while. Toyota ceased selling the Qualis in 2005. Can you guess what they replaced it with? It was the Toyota Innova, to be sure, and we’re sure Toyota is still very proud of that choice. The Toyota Innova, now renamed the Innova Crysta, remains the industry standard in India’s premium MPV segment and is a customer favourite. The Qualis’ evolution over the years would have been fascinating to see if Toyota had kept it in production.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
The Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is a rebadged version of the Suzuki Jimny that was sold in other countries. It arrived in India in 1985 and, despite the fact that it didn’t find many private buyers right away, it quickly became a favourite among law enforcement officials thanks to its high levels of performance, dependability, and all-terrain versatility. Off-road enthusiasts love the Gypsy, and you’ll see a lot of them tastefully customised around the country. With the Gypsy, too, you don’t have to use your imagination to envision a contemporary version. Maruti Suzuki will introduce the fourth-generation Jimny in India next year, albeit in a five-door body style. The Jimny has been a huge success in other countries, and we expect the same success in India. In India, the new Jimny will be powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 105 bhp.
Tata Nano’s starting price was one lakh rupees when it was released. Both purchasing and maintaining it were inexpensive. Because it was so inexpensive, it was a car that was a good investment in every way. Although the tiny car had a small exterior, the interior was surprisingly roomy. Due to Nano’s compact size and ease of parking, owners never had to look far for a spot.
When the Nano went on sale, the base price was recorded at Rs. 2.05 lakh. The engine in the Nano was a 624 cc two-cylinder model. Nano’s first impression was that she was “fierce,” despite her small stature. In order to allow families to upgrade from 2-wheelers to more affordable four-wheelers, the vehicle was introduced to replace them. If we compare it to cars, Nano was unquestionably the safest two-wheeler on the market.
Tata saw no point in delaying the inevitable because the car lacked basic safety features and had received disappointing sales results. The car was discontinued in 2019. Despite this, Nano was a game-changer for the micro-hatchback market. It was the star of the show at the 2008 auto expo, beating out rivals like the Renault Clio and Fiat 500X.
Maruti Suzuki Omni
This model of car was first made available in the latter part of the twentieth century. Omni was on the market for 35 years after it was first introduced in ’84. Maruti’s Omni was a huge success. Even today, the Omni is a well-liked school van. As a result of its popularity, it’s now available as a private van, as well as a commercial vehicle.
Except for a few cosmetic tweaks and a name change, the Omni didn’t change much over the course of its existence (it was called the Van before). The vehicle received its first facelift in 1998, which included an upgraded engine. Fuel injection replaced the carburettor. Aside from this, there haven’t been many changes to Omni’s engine.
Omni still had a sizable customer base after all these years. The Omni, on the other hand, failed miserably in safety and crash tests. Standard safety features like airbags or anti-lock brakes (ABS) were missing from the vehicle. Because of the strict BS6 standards, the MUV was discontinued. Maruti has no immediate plans to bring the minivan back.
Toyota Corolla is a line of subcompact and compact cars that are sold all over the world. The Toyota Corolla, which went on sale in 1966, was the world’s best-selling car by 1974 and has remained on that list ever since. The Toyota Corolla surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle as the world’s best-selling car nameplate in 1997. In 2021, Toyota sold 50 million Corollas across 12 generations, breaking the previous record of 40 million. There have been several major reimaginings of the series over the years.
A luxury sedan, the Toyota Corolla belongs in the same class as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This is now well-known for generating a large number of sales across India. SUVs in the same segment now have the same features and engines as cars but are housed in a larger body. This is because the SUV market in our market is extremely competitive. As a result, the luxury sedan segment as a whole has been declining. In 2019, the overall segment’s sales dropped by 30%.