Tata Motors among the largest homegrown automotive brands. The manufacturer has made a name for itself internationally and has been in the passenger vehicle business since 1988, although its origin dates back to the 1950s. Till date, Tata has launched a lot of cars in almost every segment of the Indian car market. Some of them were hits while others did not go down that well and were slowly forgotten. Here are 10 such forgotten cars and SUVs made by Tata.
The Tata Sierra is often regarded as one of the first proper SUVs to be sold in India. The Sierra featured a three-door design with a large rear glass area. The SUV’s cabin was equipped with several class-leading features that made it ahead of its time. The butch looking Sierra was also given a 4×4 variant later on but in spite of all this, it never sold in big numbers. There were a few people at that time who could afford to splurge on something so unique, and unconventional. The Sierra came with a 2-litre diesel engine or a turbo diesel engines.
The Tata Estate was simply a… estate, which shared a lot of its mechanical and aesthetic parts from the Sierra. It is said that the design of the Estate was inspired by the Mercedes Benz station wagons of the 1980s. The fact that Tata assembled Mercedes Benz vehicles in India until they decided to part ways in 1969 further adds to the theory. Now Estates or station wagons have never caught the fantasy of Indian buyers and hence the Tata Estate did not do well in terms of sales.
The Tata mobile was the first small vehicle made by Tata and it later became the basis of other vehicles like the Sierra and the Estate. The pickup truck was aimed for personal use but the concept was way too early for India. What happened was that people who wanted to haul goods bought Tata 407s and those who wanted a pick-up truck for occasional use hired one. Therefore, Tata Mobile was a sales failure. It was powered by the same 2-liter, 68 Bhp non-turbo diesel engine that was also found on the Estate and the early Sierras.
Tata launched the Safari in 1998 and during its initial days, the SUV was offered with a petrol engine. The petrol engine that powered the Safari was a 2 litre, 135 Bhp unit which made it pretty quick but also was a fuel guzzler. For this reason, prospective buyers were forced to consider the 2 liter, 90 Bhp TCIC diesel engine which was much more efficient although less powerful. The petrol engine was later discontinued and since then, the Safari has been a diesel only model.
Safari 3.0 DICOR
Now that you know that the Safari came with a petrol engine, you probably didn’t know that the SUV once shared its engine with the 407 pickup truck also. Tata spent some time at the work board and gave the Safari a big diesel motor along with common rail fuel injection. Thus, the Safari 3.0 DICOR was born. Less than a year later though, Tata found that similar power and torque could be squeezed out from a 2.2-litre motor too. The 3.0 DICOR was then reserved for commercial use, and the Safari that featured this engine was squeezed out.
Despite the fact that the Estate failed miserably in the market, Tata again tried to experiment with the concept of station wagons several years later. It launched the Indigo Marina, which was based on an elongated Indica platform and was a spacious station wagon. Even Ratan Tata used one to transport his dogs. However, the Indigo Marina ended up with pretty much the same fate as the Estate.
The Tata Indica was India’s first fully indigenous sedan and it came with class-leading features. Sometime later though, Tata launched another variant of the Indica in the form of the Indigo XL. It was built on the Indica platform and offered more rear cabin space than a Honda Accord. Massive legroom was its forte and the cab segment even bought a few cars. However, personal car buyers were not impressed with the sedan which resulted in poor sales.
The Indigo Manza was launched in 2009 as the newer version of the Indigo sedan. The Manza was a step up from the Indigo in all aspects and was meant to be a rival for the likes of the Hyundai Verna and the Honda City among others but at a much lower price tag. It was offered in both petrol and diesel engines, one of which was the Fiat Multijet diesel engine that churned out 90 Bhp of power and 200 Nm of Torque. It was discontinued later on though since private ownership remained low throughout its lifetime.
A lot of people get confused between the Spacio and the Tata Sumo Spacio but both are different vehicles. The Spacio is a soft-top version of the regular Sumo. It was meant to be a people carrier, so it didn’t have any doors, allowing for better accessibility. It borrowed its engine from the Tata 407 DI pickup truck as compared to the Sumo’s 2.0-litre engine. The 407 DI engine produced 70 Bhp, which was more than enough for the vehicle. Tata pulled the plugs on this vehicle abruptly, which probably is the reason why is it no longer seen on the roads.
The Bolt was a refreshed version of the Indica Vista and was launched in 2015. It featured an updated body design along with new headlamps and tail lamps. Also updated were the interiors of the hatchback and were way better than that of the Vista’s. The overall quality of the car was improved along with the Bolt gaining ABS and Airbags. Despite all the aesthetic and other improvements, the Bolt could not bring enough customers to the dealerships. The car is still on sale but has been forgotten by people. It is a rare sight on roads too which further diminishes its existence