Indian car market is quite big and comprises of different segments, but there was a time when all you had were an Ambassador, Premier Padmini and various Mahindras. Add to that, perhaps a Contessa. But then a bunch of cars came on, over time, and opened up more and more segments – where they led, and sometimes stood alone and won, sometimes, were beaten by the cars that followed.
Here are the segment starters of India.
The Maruti 800 will remain the king of the Indian car market. The car was first launched with the help of the Government and then it took its own course to become India’s most popular passenger vehicle. The SS80, Maruti 800’s earlier name, transformed the Indian car scenario with its affordable price tag and a long-lasting engine. The 800 is the foundation stone of modern India’s car market.
Indegenously deveoped diesel Hatchback
More car per car – a tagline that was made famous by the Tata Indica, India’s first diesel hatchback. After facing a lot of opposition to the idea of the Indica, Ratan Tata made sure that the Indica diesel was born and today, almost all the hatchbacks available in India have diesel engine powering them. The Indica diesel redefined offered really low running costs due to a very high fuel efficiency, which became one of the biggest reasons for its popularity. Even though there were Zen diesel and Fiat Uno diesel present in the market, none of them were developed in Indai.
Sub 4-meter Compact Sedan
Tata Indigo eCS
The Indigo was the sedan based on Indica hatchback and the eCS was the sub 4-meter version of it. The sedan was launched after the Government’s efforts to promote small vehicles in India by giving tax benefits. This segment has grown to a large number of vehicles in today’s time.
Sub 4-meter Compact SUV
Contrary to many claims, it e Premier Rio, and not the Ford EcoSport, that became the first compact SUV in India. Yes, the EcoSport made this segment quite popular but the Rio was the one that floated the idea of a small SUV to get tax benefits. Many manufacturers have now launched their products in this segment while much more are planning to do so in the near future.
Fiat Palio 1.6
Today there are quite a few options in this segment, like the Baleno RS, Abarth Punto and Figo S. The segment was started by the Fiat Palio 1.6. It came with a naturally-aspirated engine that churned out a good 100 Bhp while the others, like Maruti 800, were still making around 35 Bhp.
Honda Jazz became quite popular in the market due to its practicality but sadly most of the cars stayed in the showroom due to the high sticker price it carried. The Jazz was discontinued in India to come back again in an all-new avatar. By then, it had a lot of competition from cars like the Baleno and the i20.
Skoda Octavia vRS
Skoda launched the first Octavia vRS way back in 2001. The Octavia was already a priority choice for the new car buyers in the D-segment, but the vRS version really attracted a lot of enthusiasts. The 2001 Octavia vRS was powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine that generates a maximum power of 150 Bhp and a peak torque of 210 Nm. The Octavia 2001 can still be found in many garages of the enthusiasts.