Fancy a relatively affordable two-seater sports car? It's there on our list!
With India anticipated to become the third-largest car market in the world in a couple of years, we certainly want buyers to be spoilt for choice in various segments, especially the relatively accessible ones! Here’s our list of 10 cars that we want in the country as soon as possible!
All-new Nissan Micra
Although the fourth-gen Micra, which was introduced in India in 2010, had a glorious start as one of the most feature-loaded hatchback money could buy, it is hardly rolling out of Nissan showrooms in the present day. It desperately needs a model change and what better car to replace it than the fifth-gen model, which entered production in January 2017 and is currently on sale in various global markets.
The monthly cumulative sales of Nissan’s models – the Micra, Sunny and the Terrano – have been below 1,000 units for a long time now. There’s no doubt that Nissan certainly needs a volume churner in India and the fifth-gen Micra, with its sharp new styling, could very well fill that space.
It would also give car buyers looking for a premium hatchback an alternative to popular ones like the Maruti Suzuki Baleno or the Hyundai Elite i20. Sadly, Nissan has not confirmed the launch of the new Micra for the Indian market yet.
Read more about the new Micra here: Paris Motor Show: 2017 Nissan Micra Revealed
Sixth-gen Polo and Vento
In June 2017, Volkswagen’s globally popular Polo moved on to the smaller avatar of the German conglomerate's famed MQB platform. Courtesy of the MQB-A0 platform, the latest Polo is substantially larger than the previous-gen model sold here. The new hatchback has upped its game on the technology front as well and gets a digital instrument cluster and up to 8-inch touchscreen units. The all-new Polo’s sedan version, the Virtus, which is technically the second-gen Vento, arrived a couple of months later in November 2017.
We certainly want Volkswagen to bring both the cars to replace the current versions. Thanks to frequent upgrades, the present Polo and Vento still remain competitive when it comes to powertrain options and features. However, with no changes done to the design of both cars, they have started to show their age a little! Speculation is rife that VW Group, after its fallout with Tata Motors, has assigned Skoda to come up with a relatively economical version of the MQB A0 platform for future India-spec models. Sadly, there’s no official word on this either.
Ford Fiesta Hatchback
In India, Ford has mostly been living with just one popular product. Be it the Ikon – its first blockbuster – or the Fiesta, which was then followed by the first-gen Figo. Since 2013, the EcoSport has been the most popular model from the Blue Oval. Despite the second-gen Ford Figo and Aspire being capable offerings, they are no match for the original Figo when it comes to popularity and sales figures. We think Ford needs to bring in more products to increase its market share ( around 2 per cent) while also giving buyers a taste of American motoring in popular segments like the premium hatchback space. After all, it is the only American automaker left in the sub-10 lakh price segment since Chevrolet fled away!
The Fiesta hatchback, one of Ford’s global best-seller, could very well fill that role here! While India’s first-ever Fiesta was the sedan version of the global fifth-gen model, the subsequent sixth-gen sedan was a flop. Though it was one of the best driver’s car in its space, the now-discontinued Fiesta's relatively higher initial price tag had dented its future and it never recovered despite several price cuts.
While both generations of the Figo share their platform with the Fiesta, we never really got the proper hatchback version of the latter here. It is the product Ford needs to pitch against the Hyundai Elite i20, Honda Jazz and the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. To put things in perspective, Hyundai and Maruti sell close to 10,000 units of their premium hatchbacks.
The eighth-gen Honda Civic, which entered the Indian market in 2006, revolutionised the D-segment with its digital instrument cluster, sporty design and rev-happy 1.8-litre petrol motor. In its initial years, it was one of the most popular offerings in its segment. However, sales took a plunge due to the rising popularity of cars with diesel engines. Having said that, the Civic still remains popular among the masses as we continue to get questions like ‘When is the new Civic coming back to India?’ on a regular basis.
With Honda’s Tapukara plant becoming the global hub for the carmaker’s range of diesel engines, including the 1.6-litre motor that powers various Hondas in the global market, we believe that the time is right for Honda to re-introduce the Civic, which is now in its tenth generation, in the country. Honda could offer the new Civic with the 1.6-litre diesel engine made here while also offering a petrol motor. Besides a few rumours, Honda has not confirmed if the Civic will make a comeback or not. However, we are hoping the Civic makes an appearance at the upcoming Auto Expo.
Fiat Argo and Cronos
If there’s one automaker that needs immediate revival, it is Fiat. With long in the tooth products and sub-200 unit monthly sales figure (Punto EVO + Linea), Fiat is dwindling in India and there's no other way to put it.
The Italian carmaker has been making money from selling their 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel primarily to Maruti. But with petrol offerings gradually getting back in the game, that business has suddenly started to look bleak, isn’t it? Fiat has unveiled the successors to the Punto (Argo) and the Linea (Cronos) for the South American market and we certainly want them to be launched here as well.
The introduction of the competitively priced Jeep Compass this year has painted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India (parent company of Jeep and Fiat) in a good light and it can certainly cash in more by launching newer and competitive products, including the Cronos and the Argo. And now that FCA’s popular Mopar service and customer care organisation has been introduced in India, Fiat’s not-so-renowned aftersales could be improved to turn in more sales as well.
The Tata Racemo deserves a special mention here as the homegrown manufacturer stunned not just the Indian audience, but also the international media when it revealed the two-seater sports car at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year. However, Tata refrained from confirming the launch of the Racemo for the Indian market. A few months later, there were rumours that the automaker was shelving the project, either temporarily or permanently, due to a cash crunch. In October, however, Tata raised our hopes again. Although, even this time around, the manufacturer stopped itself short of revealing any further details. We wish Tata would speed up the process and showcase the Racemo at the upcoming 2018 Auto Expo followed by a launch later in the year.
Do you have other cars in mind? Please let us know in the comments below!
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