Snapshot – The compact SUV market in India is booming. So, it’s not unreasonable to expect that every automaker worth its salt will partake in the riches. The story hasn’t quite gone that way though. There are only a handful of compact SUV offerings in India. While more will arrive in the coming months and years, there have been more misses than hits in the context of international compact SUVs that have an Indian future. Here are seven such SUVs that raised our hopes but that won’t be here anytime soon.
After acquiring South Korean SUV specialist Ssangyong, Mahindra showcased a range of vehicles with the Ssangyong badge at the 2012 Indian Auto Expo. The Korando was one such offering that was to be positioned below the Rexton as a big volume offering from the South Korean brand. The SUV was even spotted at Nashik, the city that hosts one of Mahindra’s major manufacturing facilities. However, the Korando is not primed for a launch in India anytime soon. The reasons are that Mahindra is taking time to scale up the Ssangyong brand and that the Tivoli would be a better option that the larger Korando.
The Russian car market is similar to that in India, in that it is also an emerging market. So, a compact SUV that suits Russia may suit India as well. Or so we thought when the Chevrolet Niva was first showcased at the 2014 Moscow Motor Show. The SUV is a badge engineered version of the second generation Lada Niva. It was thought that this SUV would lift up General Motors’ sagging fortunes in India. However, the American automaker has other plans for the country. A compact SUV, in this case the Adra, which is based on the Amber low cost car platform, will instead be launched in India. However, 2017 is.the launch timeline that is likely for the Adra.
The Nissan Juke is the Ford Ecosport’s competitor in UK and Europe. UK is a right hand drive market, which means that the Juke is readily available to be inducted into India as well. However, the crossover is said to be a touch too premium to fit into the extremely cost conscious compact SUV market here. So, Nissan will serve up another offering for India come 2016, in the form of the production version of the Kicks concept. The Kicks is likely to be a couple of notches less premium than the Juke, with a much more attractive price tag to boot.
The Volkswagen Taigun was speculated to be under consideration for India at one point of time, with reports even suggesting that the German automaker was looking at a lengthened version of this Micro SUV. Now though, the tide seems to have dramatically changed with Volkswagen India officials having gone on record saying that a compact SUV is not due for India in the next couple of years at least. While the next-generation Polo based compact SUV may eventually be launched here, don’t keep your hopes high until 2017 at least.
The Honda Vezel is another crossover that seems to be right sized as far as India is concerned, but with a premiumness quotient that makes its price unattractive. So, Honda won’t be selling the Vezel in many emerging markets of the world, and this includes India. Instead, a compact SUV spun out of the versatile Brio platform is what the Japanese automaker is said to be putting together for the Indian car market. The new Honda SUV for India is at least a couple of years away from production reality.
The Chevrolet Trax sells in Brazil, where it squares off against the likes of the Ford Ecosport and the Renault Duster. However, the Trax is not destined for India, for reasons best known to General Motors (GM). Like we’ve mentioned earlier, the only compact SUV that GM India plans to launch here is the one that will be hosted by the Amber low cost car platform. This platform will also underpin two other cars – the next generation Beat hatchback and a sub-4 meter compact sedan.
The Toyota Rush is already in India. Surprised? Don’t be. The Rush is a rebadged Daihatsu Terios, which is built by Zotye for China under the Nomad name plate. The convolution starts. The first generation Nomad was brought to India by Premier, and was sold with the Rio badge. The Rush/Terios is already in its second generation, and is due for an all-new model. The third generation of the Rush is tipped to have an India future, but that’ll take a couple of years from now. This makes the current Rush another compact SUV that raised hopes, only to add a big delay into the equation.