Snapshot – 2014 has been a tough year for the Indian car market. Fiscal year 2015, which stretched from April 2014 to March 2015, didn’t bring big cheer for the market as far as sales were concerned. The poor selling cars only struggled more in these difficult times. Here’s a compilation India’s 10 lowest selling mass market hatchbacks and sedans.
The Renault Fluence D-Segment sedan is now sold only in turbo diesel guise. The car is powered by a 1.5 liter K9K motor with 108 Bhp-240 Nm outputs, while the 2 liter petrol engined variants have been discontinued. Despite the variant rationalization and a facelift, the Fluence has failed to find enough takers in India. Sales of 232 units in 12 months doesn’t make for pretty reading, does it. Yet, Renault builds the car in India through the CKD route to mark a presence in this segment.
The facelifted Ford Fiesta sedan looks ravishing, and is one of the most involving cars to drive in the sub-10 lakh territory. However, the Indian car market rarely gives second chances. The Fiesta’s launch in 2011 saw Ford getting over optimistic with its pricing. The result wasn’t surprising. The car instantly became the slowest seller in India. Last year saw the car being relaunched with a facelift, and at an attractive price tag to boot. Sales haven’t materialized though. The car has just registered 730 unit sales in 12 months.
The Tata Manza C-Segment sedan towered and still towers over its competitors as far as sheer size and interior volume go. But the Manza never hit it big in terms of numbers. In the last 12 months, the car has just managed sales of 1,311 units. The car will soon be discontinued and its makers don’t have immediate plans to replace it. Tata Motors now has its focus solely on the compact sedan segment, with multiple cars to be soon available in the sub-4 meter segment.
Mahindra Verito Vibe
The Verito Vibe is an unusual car, with dowdy looks that are enough to turn many buyers off. Under the skin, it’s quite a capable car though. Well put together, the Verito Vibe is powered by the Renault sourced 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel engine with 65 Bhp-160 Nm on tap. This engine is very reliable, responsive and fuel efficient, making it one of the strongest points of the car. However, the Verito Vibe never clicked as Mahindra isn’t really known for selling sedans, and as the car’s design made it look like a cross between a hatchback and a sedan. Sales over the last year? 1.361 units.
The Cruze is an car enthusiast oriented vehicle in its segment, with a 2 liter turbo diesel engine with a blistering 380 Nm of torque to thrill acceleration junkies. The car lookessharp and even featured in the Transformer movies. Handling is so-so and this means that many driving enthusiasts look elsewhere. The result is that the Cruze ends up as not-very-attractive for both the enthusiast and non-enthusiast C-Segment car buyer. Sales of 1,401 units over the last year goes on to indicate the car’s struggle for sales.
The Chevrolet Spark’s fortunes seem tied to General Motors’ steady decline in India. The car, despite being a very competent package just doesn’t sell well in India. 1,431 monthly units in a segment that easily does 30,000 month after months means that the Spark needs a replacement. A replacement isn’t due for the next 2 years at least. The Spark seems beached as far as the Indian market goes. On the other hand, the car’s segment is witnessing a slew of budget hatchback launches.
Badge engineering does not work in India and the Renault Scala is the best example around. The sedan is a Renault badged, slightly restyled Nissan Sunny. Available with the same set of engines and transmission, the Scala sells about 1/10th of what the Sunny does. The car is very spacious and is great for those who like to be chauffeured. The car starts at a competitive 7.44 lakh rupees, and given the discounts thrown in, it’s great value. In the last 12 months, Renault managed to move 1,473 units of the car.
The Verito is a sharp bet as far as the cab market is concerned, and Mahindra concentrated on this segment. However, even the cabbies are taking to more modern designs such as the one on the Maruti Suzuki Dzire. This means that the Verito is in a tough spot, appealing neither to family car owners nor the cab operators. This effect has been telling on the sales of the car, which has done just 1,823 units in the past year, a sorry number for a car that access to Mahindra’s strong dealership network.
The Jetta sedan is a laggard in its segment. However, the car just have its share of enthusiast buyers, who opt for it for its sorted ride and handling, and powerful turbo diesel engine. The car is solidly built but even a strong build cannot shake the faith of car buyers, who seem extremely risk averse, opting for the Toyota Corolla Altis instead. This has meant that the Jetta, which received a facelift recently, continues to lag behind, with 2,165 units. The car’s 2015 sales are likely to be better on the back of the facelifted model.
The Pulse is another badge engineered car that is struggling for sales and that is offered with hefty discounts. Renault India failed to read the pulse of the Indian car market before the Pulse. For those who want a Nissan Micra at a hefty discount, the Renault Pulse, largely discounted., is the car to go to. Like the Micra, the Pulse is nimble and easy to drive. The car variant with the 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel engine with seamless torque delivery and high fuel efficiency, is the pick of the lot.