The Indian car market offers a host of options, from different segments, to car buyers. While some of these have been very popular, there are others that are totally unheard of. Today, we take a look at 10 such cars.
We bet you’ve never heard of this 2+2 British convertible. The Quantum Ocal has been the most successful car from its manufacturer. In India, however, no one ever got to know about its existence. This car came to India in 1997 and was sold through a dealership in Mumbai. The car looks pretty attractive and promised to be fun to drive. It’s said that if 9 Quantums were booked at once, the booking amount for the 10th car would be waived off. Sadly, however, not even a single car was sold.
The Mahindra Legend is a little-known SUV based on the 1953 Willys MD-M38A1. While this Willys was used by the Forces during the USA-Korean war, the Legend got its body from the MM540.550 and huge ‘Legend’ decals on the hood. Powering the Mahindra Legend was a 2,523-cc DI diesel motor that even went on to power the Bolero Camper. Other highlights of the Legend include 16-inch wheels, roll cage and as many as four roof-mounted aux lamps. The Legend offered a non-power assisted steering and had a price tag of Rs 6 lakh. It’s tough to find even one of these on our roads.
The Tata Nano is the cheapest car in India. However, much before the Nano saw the light of the day, Tata Motors worked on a microcar concept called Zing. The Tata Zing project started after the Indica met with enough success in the country. The Zing concept was released in 2000. The company even did a feasibility study for the launch of this small car. However, the respondents who took part in the studies didn’t like the Zing much. Hence, the project was shelved. Many years later, Tata came up with the Nano.
Tata Aria Coupe
No, the Aria Coupe has absolutely nothing to do with the Aria MPV. The Aria Coupe concept was showcased long before the Aria MPV made it to the market. This convertible was shown at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show. Tata was very serious about coming up with a sporty coupe and Mr Ratan Tata even said that his company is looking for a location to produce this vehicle. However, the Aria coupe never made it to production.
Hindustan Mini Ambassador
Yes, even the Ambassador tried to cash in on the sub-4-meter sedan trend. Actually, Hindustan Motors contemplated bringing a sub-4-meter version in order to boost the popularity of its highly dated sedan. A sub-4-meter length would have enabled HM to price the Amby more attractively. It’s said that Hindustan Motors was close to launching this car before it decided against doing so.
The Kazwa MPV came from Kerala-based Rajah motors. The Kazwa MPV was homologated for the Indian car market two years before Toyota launched the Qualis. Rajah Motors had an agreement with Hindustan Motors for the production of the Kazwa MPV. As per this agreement, HM was to produce 150 cars annually. The Kazwa was highly inspired by the Renault Escape. However, it got the same 2.0-litre diesel engine that powered the Ambassador. This MPV never made it to the market due to fears of a lawsuit by Renault owing to the high resemblance to the Escape.
The Tata Pr1ma was a sedan concept that was designed by renowned car designer Pininfarina. The Pr1ma was based on the Indigo platform and made its debut at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. The car looked production ready but could never make it to the market. It was said that the Pr1ma would cater to the D-segment but the low popularity of expensive sedans, a decade ago, probably forced Tata Motors to axe the project.
Daewoo Matiz facelift
While most of you would remember the Daewoo Matiz, the very likeable small car that impressed everyone with its cutesy looks, peppy engine and comfortable cabin, not many of you would be aware of the facelift version that was about to be launched in India. Daewoo even imported the facelifted version to the country for testing purposes. The facelift had a 1.04-litre engine and updated external styling. The interior also carried some updates. The car even offered optional ABS and airbags. However, the company got bankrupt before the facelift could come to us.
The Tata Magna was one of Tata Motors’ biggest projects. The manufacturer even made some prototypes of this car. Powering the Magna was the same 120 bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine that powered the Safari. This sedan would have also come with a 135 bhp, 3.0-litre diesel engine from the Safari. Also, it had a rear wheel drive layout. It was supposed to take on the Honda Accord and the Hyundai Sonata.
Kinetic micro car
Kinetic used to be one of the leading scooter manufacturers in India. The scooter manufacturer was working with French car manufacturer Aixam to come up with a microcar for entry-level car buyers. This micro car had a 500-cc engine and was in testing stages when the project was axed. It’s said that the car would have been much cheaper than the 800 and offered a top speed of 65 kmph along with an average fuel efficiency of 25 kmpl.