The onslaught of the BNSVAP safety norms and the upcoming BSVI norms has resulted in a lot of cars being discontinued from the market. While some of them are on temporary discontinuation and will be brought back with updates, some of the nameplates are not expected to return for long, maybe never. Among these are some of the iconic cars which in some way or the other left a mark on the Indian auto industry during their production runs. While following the new regulations is necessary for safety as well as a better environment, watching these cars go evokes a bit of nostalgia. Here are the 4 cars that have said goodbye to India this year.
The Tata Nano was the dream project of Ratan Tata and can also be said to be a philanthropic effort laid waste by poor marketing. Tata wanted to make a car that is so affordable that even those who are forced to travel in two-wheelers due to lack of funds can buy it. The company succeeded doing this to some extent and the Nano was launched amid much fanfare in 2008. It became famous worldwide and reputed celebrities with a good taste in automobiles like Jay Leno got themselves one. However, the ground reality of the Nano was quite opposite to what was expected and it never took off in terms of sales.
The Nano was introduced with a 624cc, twin cylinder petrol engine that churned out a maximum power of 37 Bhp along with 52 Nm of torque. The engine was paired to a four-speed manual gearbox and the modest power output was adequate for the car as it weighed well under 650 kilograms. The company also launched a 5 speed AMT option to the car, making it the most affordable automatic car in the country. The facelifted Gen X model came with more features and attractive styling but none of this helped to bring in more sales. A major reason for this was that no one wanted to be seen with the cheapest car in India (as it was marketed) because cars in our country are a status symbol to some extent. It is not expected that Tata would use the name plate again in the future.
Maruti Suzuki Omni
The Omni was the second vehicle launched in the country after the 800 and it was quite a successful model throughout its life due to its high utility-low cost factor. The launch of the Maruti 800 already had everybody’s attention on the company and with the Omni, also popularly called as the Maruti Van, helped the company penetrate the market in both the small hatchback category as well as the bigger utility segment. It came in various seat configurations like 5 seat, 8 seat and cargo among others.
The Maruti Omni was powered by a 796cc, 3 cylinder F8D engine that was available with petrol, LPG-Petrol and CNG-Petrol trims. This engine churned out a maximum power of 34 Bhp along with 59 Nm of torque and was paired to a four-speed gearbox. The Omni was used in various roles, such as school van, cargo delivery vehicle, Ambulance, picnic vehicle as well as a private vehicle for large families. It’s absense will be taken care of by the Eeco, which is a more modern form of the Omni but different in many areas.
The Tata Sumo Gold may have lost its sheen in the face of the modern competition but during its prime, the Sumo was among the top selling vehicles. It was launched back in 1994 and is said to be named after one of the most revered names within the Tata group, Sumant (Su) Moolgaokar (Mo). The Sumo quickly became popular as a people mover as it offered oodles of space along with an affordable price tag. During its production run, it was used in various government departments, the army as well as in the form of an ambulance.
There were many variants of the Sumo too like the Spacio, Grande, Victa, Movus, and the recent Gold among others. It was primarily challenged by another very popular vehicle, the Mahindra Bolero. Though it will no longer be available once the stock runs out, Tata’s design head, Pratap Bose, stated sometime back that he would like to revive the Sumo and the Sierra if conditions are favourable, though nothing is sure as of now.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
The Maruti Suzuki Gypsy needs no introduction. The last units of this off-road utility vehicle were hurriedly picked up by enthusiasts as soon as the company officially discontinued it. The Gypsy was launched back in 1985 with a 970 cc Suzuki F10A engine and quickly became popular with the armed forces as well as the police. Then in 1993 came the wide track version which added more stability to the Gypsy as wheel as some aesthetic changes. Finally came the Gypsy King in 1996 and with it came Esteem’s 1.3 litre motor along with some other updates.
Throughout its life, the Gypsy was seen as a macho icon and was bought by people for its appeal and off-road prowess rather than any real practical usage. It never came with any gadgetry or cool features and had spartan interiors compared to modern day cars, though what it had was an exceptional ability to be unstoppable in the wild. It is also quite a popular vehicle in the modification circuits along with the mountainous regions of India. With the Gypsy discontinued now, there is no vehicle that can fill its shoes until Suzuki decides to bring the Jimny to India.