Eight Flop Cars and SUVs That Were Launched In India Over The Past One Year

Snapshot – We’ve just given you an overview of how tough it is for new cars to succeed in the hugely competitive Indian market. As we mentioned previously, there are two flops to every big success in India. This list will round up the flops that the Indian car market has been witness to over the past one year. The criteria remains the same. If an all-new or a facelifted car cannot climb to the third position in its segment, it’s a flop in our books.

Tata Zest

2014-Tata-Zest-Front view

The Tata Zest compact sedan came as a breath of fresh air in its segment, when it was launched in September 2014. The car offers great value but never managed to go beyond its initial promise. After getting its nose ahead of the Honda Amaze for a couple of months, the Zest is now back to being a back marker in its segment, behind the Maruti Suzuki Dzire-Honda Amaze-Hyundai Xcent brigade. The upcoming Ford Figo Aspire could push the Zest further down.

What went wrong?

The Zest is a fresh car, with new looks, good engines, a great set of features and sharp pricing. However, the car is still facing the heat of being one from the Tata brand. Tata Motors has lost car buyers’ confidence over the last few years, and the Zest’s tapering performance is a direct consequence of that.

Tata Bolt

Tata Bolt Sport Front

The Tata Bolt is a re-imagined Indica Vista, with better quality levels all around, interesting engine options and more features. Unlike the Zest, the Bolt never showed promise even in the initial months of its launch. It has veen downhill all the way for the Bolt and the car is becoming yet another flop from Tata Motors. Discounts started right from the second month of the Bolt’s launch, and this simply doesn’t augur well for a car that was aimed straight at the hot selling Maruti Suzuki Swift.

What went wrong?

For one, Tata Motors got too optimistic with the pricing of the Bolt. Two, the car’s Vista genealogy is clearly visible to the buyer, unlike that of the Zest, which carries its new top-hat design rather well. The upcoming Bolt Sport could infuse more excitement into the Bolt brand, but sales continue to remain a question mark.

Datsun Go+

 

Datsun Go+ MPV 7

The Datsun Go+ is the second flop from the resurrected Japanese budget car brand owned by Nissan. The Go+ gave the buyer a lot of car, both literally and figuratively, and at an attractive price point. However, station wagons have traditionally done poorly in the Indian market, and the Go+ is no exception. However, the Go+ has managed to outsell its hatchback sibling, the Go. Nissan would be hoping that the Datsun RediGo’s launch in early 2016 makes for better tidings.

What went wrong? 

Building a station wagon is a sure fire way to get into the Indian car market’s flop list. Datsun has minimal brand strength compared to say that of a Maruti Suzuki or a Hyundai. Penetration of the Datsun sales and after sales franchise is also poor when compared to that of a Maruti or a Hyundai.

Fiat Punto Evo + Avventura

Fiat Punto Evo 1

Fiat’s biggest success in India is the Multijet turbo diesel engine, which has come to be the country’s most popular diesel motor on passenger cars. When it comes to cars though, the Italian marque is a perrennial laggard. Both the Fiat Punto Evo and its crossover derivative – the Avventura, are confirmed flops. The Punto+Avventura combine does not bring even 10 % of the volumes that the Hyundai Elite i20 and the i20 Active manage. This tells a tale, doesn’t it?

Fiat Avventura

What went wrong?

Fiat needs truly fresh cars. Facelifts and makeovers will not do anymore. The Indian car market hardly gives a car that has flopped the first time around, a second chance. This is a reality that the Punto Evo and Fiat need to live with and adapt for. The Avventura, for its part, suffers from the poor response to crossovers based on hatchbacks.

Honda Mobilio

Honda Mobilio road test

Like the Zest, the Honda Mobilio MPV started off strongly on the back of the Japanese automaker’s goodwill in the Indian car market. But there’s only so much goodwill can do. The Mobilio now finds itself firmly in the woods as far as sales are concerned. The car could have been the third successive hit for Honda, after the Amaze and the City, but it isn’t to be. With the competition increasing courtesy the well priced, recently launched Renault Lodgy, tougher days could be ahead for the Honda people mover.

What went wrong?

The Honda Mobilio’s steep price makes the MPV a hard sell, especially since it is challenging the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga for primacy. The Ertiga feels nicer to drive and be in, and the Mobilio has some way to go before matching the Maruti Suzuki.

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Ford Fiesta Facelift

Ford Fiesta Sedan Facelift Studio Shot

Despite Ford India’s best efforts to turn around one of its biggest flops in recent times, the Fiesta sedan remains stuck in a quagmire that was the American automaker’s own creation. Ford overpriced the Fiesta’s first interation and the Indian car market promptly pushed the C-Segment sedan to the depths. Price cuts haven’t worked and the Fiesta’s latest, most ravishing edition is yet to find traction, even among enthusiasts. A beautiful car to drive, and one that delivers fun in spades, the Fiesta is sadly the slowest selling C-Segment car in the country.

What went wrong?

The initial pricing botch up in 2011 meant that the Ford Fiesta was more expensive than the Hyundau Verna Fluidic, a car of similar vintage. The Verna offered much more than the Fiesta back then, and dealt the Ford a body blow that the car has never been able to recover from.

Fiat Linea Facelift

Fiat Linea Sedan Facelift 1

The Fiat Linea’s Facelift did nothing to change things on the ground for the car so far as sales are concerned. The Linea T-Jet is a very affordable high performance car but even enthusiasts are not buying the car is good numbers. The main sales of the Linea still comes from the diesel model, which feels underpowered compared to the cars offered by the competition. The perception about Fiats being tough to maintain, and the car’s poor resale value drives customers away.

What went wrong?

The facelift for the Fiat Linea was a classic case of too-little-too-late. The perception of the Fiat brand hasn’t helped matters either. While enthusiasts would love a 1.6 liter Multijet turbo diesel engine in the Linea, Fiat has instead allowed Maruti Suzuki to bring this engine in its upcoming S-Cross crossover.

Mahindra Xylo Facelift

Mahindra Xylo MPV

The Mahindra Xylo is a big improvement over its predecessor. The car’s suspension has been heavily revised and it shows in the way the Xylo now rides. Yet, the ladder framed MPV sells less than one fifth of the Toyota Innova. Sales have not improved even post the facelift. Even the taxi market seems to be looking at other options these days, and the Xylo has joined the long list of underperformers that Mahindra’s car and utility vehicle line up is now saddled with.

What went wrong?

The Xylo tries to please too many sets of buyers, and has ended up losing both markets – the family MPV buyer as well as the can operator. The Xylo also needs fresher appeal, the kinds that can match the Renault Lodgy or the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.

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