India is known to have cheaper ways to do everything possible. Obviously, the automotive industry is not far behind, but Indian consumers have found ways to reap as much benefit as they can from these already affordable vehicles. These low cost, invented vehicles can be traced in mostly small towns or rural parts of the country and from there some of them have emerged on the city roads as well. We have taken the liberty to list down 10 such vehicles for you.
The Tempo Hanseat is used as a good as well as a people carrier. The structure of the vehicle is testament to the fact that it mostly used in areas with thin roads or uneven roads. It was launched by Force Motors during the 1960s. It sits on three wheels and has a 452-cc twin-cylinder, two-stroke petrol engine which can produce a maximum of 20 Bhp. Interestingly, the engine has been mounted on top of the front wheel. What surprises us the most is, that even though this vehicle was launched almost half a century back, it is still found on the roads of villages and places with the rural population and poor road conditions.
Hindustan Motors is known for its two successful cars namely the Contessa and the Ambassador. Post the success of these cars, Hindustan Motors ventured into bringing other cars to the market as well, but it took parts from either of the two successful cars and built the new cars around it. One such car, that didn’t fare well in the Indian market was the Hindustan Trekker. It was made using the headlights, indicators, engine and even the suspension from the Ambassador. We don’t see this car at all now.
This is another failed launch from Hindustan Motor’s desperate attempt to expand its product base to increase revenue and market share. The Hindustan Veer was based completely on the design of the Ambassador, the only difference was that it was structured as a pickup truck which just ruined the design of the car eventually. It was brought in the market during the 1980s and the idea behind the launch was to disrupt the market share of the Porker pick up truck which dominated this particular segment of cars. It was initially launched only in West Bengal and then taken to the rest of the country. It was powered with BS3 (diesel) and BS4 (CNG) variants and was priced around 3 and a half lakhs.
There was an extremely popular car called the Reliant Robin, which was extremely popular in the 1970s in the UK. Based on the Reliant Robin, Sipani Badal was launched in India. It was built with a fibreglass body and was designed based on what looks like a toy car. Because of the fibreglass body, the car could roll over easily as well. It was powered with a 198-cc two-stroke petrol engine which powered the rear wheels of the car.
Tata launched the Spacio in the market hoping to give a sleeker version of the Tata Sumo to the Indian consumers. It was cheaper and looked like a small version of a pickup truck. The target customers were defined within the Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities of India. The most interesting fact about the Spacio is that it is powered with a 3.0-litre diesel engine which is bigger than the 2.0-litre diesel engine in the Sumo. Tata uses the 3.0- litre diesel engine in the Tata 407 truck as well.
Mahindra launched the Gio to give the 3-wheeler customer, an option to upgrade to a 4-wheeler car. Even though the design of the car is quite funny, it is equipped with substantial power to make it strong. It gets a 442-cc single-cylinder, direct injection diesel engine which can churn a maximum of 9 Bhp and 21.5. It also comes with four-speed manual transmission gear and is available in the pickup truck 6-seater version.
This is a unique car which was offered to the Indian consumer. It could work as a people carrier, a goods carrier and even as a generator. It was a cross product between the Polaris and the Eicher Motor JV and was taken off the market in the recent past. It is fitted with a Greaves-sourced 510 cc, water-cooled single-cylinder motor that can produce a maximum of 9.8 Bhp and 27 Nm. It came with a four-speed manual transmission.
This vehicle which is conveniently called Jugaad and as the name suggests it is conveniently modified to suit the needs of the owner. It is spotted in heavy numbers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of India. It is basically a low-cost vehicle made out of components from various other vehicles. Because of the diversity of the parts used, there is almost no consistency in two different Jugaads. It is also known as “Chhakda” in various parts of the country.
E-Rickshaws are extremely common now for short travel stints. It is available in huge numbers in urban as well as rural parts of the country. Its widest use case is for last-mile connectivity. These are powered with electric motors and the driver doesn’t need to have a licence to drive it.
This is the most famous form of lightweight last mile connectivity vehicle. The body of the vehicle makes it highly unstable on Indian roads, however, they remain the most cost-effective mode of travel for customers. Many manufacturers such as the Vikram, Piaggio, TVS and even Force Motors have ventured into this market.