Snapshot – India’s car market isn’t at its brightest phase, at least in terms of sales, which have been slow across the year. though the festive season is expected to bring the much needed cheer to car sales, the first half of the year has been quite subdued. While certain cars have managed to do very well in the first half of the year with many continuing their good run at the hustings, the perennial laggards continue to languish at the bottom of their respective segments. CarToq takes a look at India’s worst selling cars for the first half of 2014 segment-wise, in the sub-25 lakh rupee categories.
Entry Level Small Car – Chevrolet Spark
The Chevrolet Spark is a competent car that has been losing sales rapidly. With just 954 units sold in the entry-level small car segment, which is a big volume space, questions are bound to be raised on the Spark existence in General Motors India’s portfolio. The car uses a 1 liter-4 cylinder petrol engine that is more powerful than the likes of the Nano, Alto 800 and the Eon 800 but loses out on the fuel efficiency stakes.
B+ Segment Hatchback – Mahindra Verito Vibe
The Mahindra Verito Vibe had a bad vibe written all over it right from the outset considering the car’s quirky styling and confused positioning. Though available with a a highly capable and frugal turbo diesel engine, only 1,146 units of the Vibe managed to find homes in India. That the car does use the tried and tested underpinnings of the 1st generation, wide bodied Renault Logan seems lost on buyers.
Compact Sedan – Tata Indigo eCS
Although sales numbers of the Tata Indigo eCS haven’t been released (Tata Motors combines Indigo eCS and Manza sales), the car is the lowest selling compact sedan in India. This conclusion can be drawn as the combined sales of the Indigo eCS and the Manza is still lower than other compact sedans such as the Dzire, Xcent and Amaze. India’s first sub-4 meter sedan, the Indigo eCS is sold with petrol, diesel and CNG fuel options, giving the buyer a wide range of options. However, the car’s appeal lies mainly in the cab market.
C-Entry Sedan Segment – Hindustan Ambassador
The Ambassador’s production has ground to a halt with no silver lining in sight as loss-battered Hindustan Motors has downed its shutters. With 690 units sold in the first six months of the year, the Ambassador is also the lowest selling sedn in the entry level category whose other players include the Toyota Etios, the Ford Classic and the Chevrolet Sail. The Ambassador goes into India’s automotive history as a legend, which held its own against many modern cars for many years.
C Sedan Segment – Renault Scala
Badge engineering does not work in India and the proof of the pudding is the Renault Scala C-Segment sedan. With paltry sales of 1,013 units for the first 6 months of 2014, the Scala sits at the bottom of the pile. The sedan is arguably better looking than the Nissan Sunny, the car on which it it based. Though petrol and turbo diesel engined models with manual and automatic transmissions are on offer, the Scala continues to be a market dud.
Compact SUV Segment – Premier Rio
Sales numbers of the Premier Rio haven’t been released by its maker. However, gauging by the rare sightings of the compact SUV on Indian roads, it is easy to draw a conclusion that the Rio has done worse than the next slowest seller, the Maruti Gypsy, which has clocked over 1,000 units in sales despite being available only with a petrol engine option. The Rio’s Chinese underpinnings and outdated design are two reasons why the market isn’t showing much favour.
Full Size SUV Segment – Force One
Like the Rio, the Force One is another product whose sales numbers haven’t been released by its maker. Like the Rio, the Force One is a rare sight on Indian roads, while other players in its segment, such as the Tata Safari and the Mahindra Scorpio are regular sights. Force Motors is yet to get its act in the passenger vehicle segment right and the Force One’s abject failure is a reflection of that.
MPV Segment – Nissan Evalia
Nissan is doing its best to prop up the Evalia MPV through multiple facelifts but the Japanese automaker’s efforts aren’t translating into actual sales on the ground. With 322 units shipped to dealer yards in the first 6 months of the year, the Evalia is India’s worst selling MPV. A mild refresh of the Evalia was rolled out earlier this month. On whether it makes any difference to sales numbers remains to be seen.
C+ Segment Sedan – Renault Fluence
French automaker Renault is a one car wonder in India, with only the Duster doing well. Other Renault cars have been market duds and one such example is the Fluence sedan, which has managed to bag just 243 sales in the first six months of the year. Though a facelifted version has been launched, buyers don’t seem to be allured by the Renault C+ segment sedan.
D Segment Sedan – Volkswagen Passat
The Volkswagen Passat wouldn’t be bringing up the rear of the D-Segment sedan pack in India if not for Volkswagen India stopping supply of the current-generation car. The German automaker plans to launch the 2015 Passat in India next year and sales of the current-gen version have been suspended. If the Passat is taking out of the picture, the CBU import Nissan Teana, with 14 units sold in the first half of 2014, is the rightful claimant to the “worst selling D-Segment sedan” title.
Luxury SUV – Chevrolet Captiva
The Chevrolet Captiva is another General Motors product that is doing very poor numbers. With just 35 units sold in the first half of the year. the Captiva has failed to captivate the buyer. The car is a CBU import and this approach makes it more expensive than the competition, whose best sellers use the CKD kit route into the country. Until General Motors wakes up to this fact, the Captiva will remain a lost cause.