With over 120 models and 800 variants, the Indian Automobile market in India is fuelled by vehicles ranging from manual to automatic, to petrol to diesel and CNG. With an average sales of over 2.5 million+ units sold solely in the Indian market on a yearly basis, the passenger vehicle category is largely populated by the top 10 bestselling models which makes or contributes to about 50% of the total sales.
The year 2016 is set to see new launches on a month on month basis and will also have facelift versions of existing vehicles. Promotional campaigns and new launches alone cannot drive sales of the vehicles and guarantee numbers in the immensely competitive automobile market. Regardless of all the action taken, the promotions, adverts and even impressive packaging, some models are just not able to sustain in the cutthroat auto market. There is no significant impression made or left behind by some models and they are on the verge of either being discontinued or need a change in pricing or much in need of a facelift model.
Let’s take a peek at some of the entries into the list of the sedans in India that didn’t make the cut:
The era of the French automaker, Renault in India started with the Logan. The Logan’s failure laid the foundation of what came next to haunt the company. The French automaker wanted to stir things up and decided to launch a premium sedan called the Fluence and few other premium models which followed. However, the positioning of Renault as a premium car with an aim of rejuvenating its image, did not work too well for the company. With outdated looks, high pricing and in a country where consumers prefer value for money, the performance of the vehicle was an all-time low and down. Sadly, with consumers’ it did not strike the right chord in many ways.
The design of the car was either taken into fully or just hated completely. Though there was a good hype just before its launch, the car did not sustain for long after. The extreme offering of the Fluence created an imbalance. The top-end models came with all requisite features whereas the low-end models came with literally nothing good offered at all for its pricing and also unfortunately there was no distinct variants that distinguished the top-end and lower end models. And the Fluence is the first to feature in the list of Sedans that didn’t quite make it, and Renault hopes to change this nametag and bring about a change in the coming months.
Ford Fiesta (Facelift Version)
When the first model of the Ford Fiesta was released, it set everything and everyone abuzz and created a rave in the Indian market. It was well-priced, a spacious sedan, with good mileage and available in diesel. The sales of Ford Fiesta Classic were good and the car was much liked in the Indian market. But with the launch of new competitor vehicles, Ford had to keep up with competition and they launched the Fiesta Classic’s facelift version. But it was a plan that backfired, from a vehicle that was much in demand and widely-appreciated, it was a pity for Ford that the Fiesta went downhill. From being one of the most desirable sedans with fine interiors and good looks and dependable performance, it is now trending as a sore disappointment in the sales charts.
A couple reasons for a decline in the Fiesta sales were because of its high pricing, offering only a diesel variant and stiff competition from its sibling, the Ecosport. Also it could not hold off against its closest competitions like the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Ciaz or the Volkswagen Vento. Another important point was that the latest Fiesta was way different from the original Ford Classic Fiesta, if these apparent issues are dealt with, differences eased, then maybe sales will perk up and it could be see a good rerun in the auto market.
Preceding its launch, the Tata Manza was developed on an INR 2000 crore platform which was shared by the Tata Vista as well. Initially called the Indigo Manza, the name was changed after the launch of the facelift version. The Manza was up against established sedans such as the SX4, Verna and City and did not manage to keep up with the competition. In spite of making every effort to survive and keep pace with rivals, the sales of the Manza were affected. To cope with the situation, heavy discounts were offered which also did not make much of a difference. It was evident that foreign brand sedans and other Indian brand sedans in its range were performing better and clocking higher sales and the Manza was just playing catch.
Despite their best efforts, Tata could not manage to revive sales of the Manza and hence, eventually, the automaker decided to launch the Tata Zest and the Tata Bolt. With the two new launches, they have taken the Manza off the market; it now stands discontinued and is focussing their efforts to make the other new launches a success.
The launch of the flagship sedan Cruze by Chevrolet was thought out to be a powerful, reliable, good build quality and good-looking vehicle. Unfortunately, this did not attract customers in the Indian market. According to customers, everything about the sedan was mediocre – the design, engine, sales and after sales service and therefore, as a sedan it was not sought after in India.
For the Indian auto enthusiasts’, GM has not made an impact especially when looking at critical elements like fuel efficiency, network, engineering, reliability etc. Therefore, they are left nowhere in the Indian market and are yet to have their stand and presence. For example, in the US auto market, GM is known for their SUVs, trucks, muscle cars and crossovers even. They have made their mark there. But here in India it’s a whole different story, its positioning in India is still work-in-progress.
Stitching up all thoughts and observations
To put it simply or in simple words, auto companies do have certain issues and problems which affect their vehicle portfolio in some way or the other. In India, Fiat does not have a brand presence like the one it has globally. And this is owing to after sales servicing and support and as a brand; they haven’t really cracked the Indian auto market, as yet. It’s definitely a strange phenomenon. Globally, they are sought after but here in India it’s not among the top auto companies.
Similarly the market leader, Maruti Suzuki has issues when it comes down to diesel engines. Sales volumes of Honda are taking a hit as they have limited number of diesel engine vehicles. Volkswagen being a fairly new entrant into the market and coming with a tag of premium and fixed number of small cars does not have really have it to compete with Maruti or Hyundai in India. Again, with a smaller service network and after sales service, Renault and Nissan are impacted, though of course Renault is growing owing to its new, growing vehicle portfolio. Chevrolet has many features like technology and portfolio of products but it just not able to make it to the top, though GM is an iconic brand world over.
In the minds of Indian customers, few companies have created a certain value for which they stand, like Maruti Suzuki stands for fuel efficiency, price, service and sales network in India. The highest rating for German engineering goes to Volkswagen. The mark of reliability if ever held goes to Toyota and Hyundai is known for design.
Therefore, some of these sedans just didn’t make the cut in India due to certain factors and therefore, ratings were low and consumer’ didn’t warm up to them much as expected.
If you want to know more about newly launched sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, facelifts, used car valuation and more, then log onto, IndianBlueBook portal, for up-to-date information.