Six cars that desperately need an upgrade

Over the model life cycle, car manufacturers update their products by including facelifts and addition of features etc., depending on the market demand, and if the competition suddenly starts to look stronger. That way not just well-settled products get a new lease of life, but those not doing so well could also bank on the novelty and try to reach the top of the sales charts. We take a look at six cars that desperately need an update, not just as a product, but more so because of the poor to mediocre performance in the market.

Chevrolet Beat

Chevrolet Beat

Once one of the coolest cars around, the Chevrolet Beat has lost a lot of that coolness to its age. Novelty soon wore off, and now the car fails to appear as special as it once did. The instrument cluster that appeared to have been taken off a motorcycle, the almost hidden rear door handles that made the Beat appear like a 3-door hatchback still stand out, but not enough to help the car’s sales.

The new Spark (that’s what the Beat is known globally) is soon headed to showrooms abroad, and the only way Chevrolet could bump up the sales here is by bringing the new car to India.

Maruti Suzuki Ritz

new-maruti-ritz-front

Closely matched to the Swift in terms of specs, but the Ritz didn’t turn out to be as successful. And now it’s nothing but long in the tooth. Positioned below the Swift, the Ritz now gets tough competition, and doesn’t fare as well.

It’s not as much to drive as the Swift, either, and that means its appeal diminishes even further. Maruti, will you please bring in the new Ritz ASAP?

Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra

The Micra has been respected as an everyday car, but not the current generation car. A facelift didn’t really work for the company either, with current sales hovering around 300 units (per month). The sad thing is that the car doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, and that’s what hurts its success.

An all new car is expected in 2017, but whether or not the same one makes to India is something that hasn’t been announced yet. If India gets a pared down version, Nissan could see history, er failure, repeating all over again.

Mahindra Bolero

Mahindra Bolero

Now that the TUV300 didn’t turn out to be the Bolero replacement a lot of people were expecting, it remains to be seen what happens to what’s still one of the most successful vehicle by Mahindra. With better (both in terms of dynamics and luxury) products in the line up, there’s a lot of cannibalisation expected.

And given that the Bolero isn’t anywhere close in either aspect, unless Bolero updates the vehicle, its chances of tasting success again seem to be very slim. The 7 seat version of the TUV300 may be the replacement that puts the zing back in Bolero sales, currently hovering near the 5,000 units/month mark. In its heyday, the Bolero did 10,000 units a month.

Renault Duster

2014 Renault Duster AWD 37

A hugely capable product, and the first successful compact SUV in the market, the Duster is in need of an update now – not necessarily a huge mechanical change or anything but a substantial facelift and introduction of say an automatic gearbox should help the Duster soldier on.

The now dated exterior, and an interior that’s neither premium nor very well built, can’t work, especially with the competition moving ahead steadily. A 7 seat Duster is coming to India, but it won’t be until 2018. 1,000 units/month for the current-Duster means that compact SUV buyers are simply looking elsewhere.

Fiat Linea

Fiat Linea

The Fiat Linea still continues to be one of the very few driver-oriented sedans in the segment, but it has lost a few places in the looks and even desirability department. Leave the turbocharged petrol T-Jet, and the other two engines feel a bit underpowered.

The Italian flair might have not worn off, but the competition is stronger than ever. To ensure that customers keep coming to Fiat’s showrooms (and walking out with their new Fiat products), the company has to update the Linea. The Tipo/Egea is likely to make it to the Indian market, but ‘when’ is going to determine the company’s fate, to a large extent.