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Old 22nd January 2010, 14:07   #16
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1986-1990, Forward thinking

While not much events happened during these years, they did mark the beginning of localization phase, that is manugacturing of cars with more of Indian components rather than imported ones.

While premier launched a "modern" sedan, called the 118NE (NE=Nissan Engine), a version of Fiat 124/ Lada etc, and HM had a version of 1970s Vauxhall Victor, called the contessa kingsize, Maruti launched the second generation 800, bigger, more spacious and more suited to our market.

It was codenamed SB 308, and the car was given a complete makeover, and some of the components wee now beginning to b sourced from Indian suppliers. It had the same 796 cc, 35 bhp 3 cylinder F8B motor, powering the front wheels via a 4 speed tranny (imported from Suzuki Japan), a new spacious interior and more height and width as compared to SS80.

While this model did not have RDC player or clock or leather, the deluxe version did have AC and front belts as standard equipment.

The bumpers were now made of thermoplastic material and this was the beginning of cost cutting from MUL.

The company also launched its first 4WD SUV, the gypsy, based on the erstwhile Suzuki Vitara, powered by a 970 cc 4 pot motor with 45 bhp. Its macho looks made it a cult among youngsters, just as Yamaha RX 100 did at that time.

The era also had some disasters, mainly the standard 2000 going bust and so does the sipani montana, with less than stellar sales figures and having to eventually pull out of the market at later times.

The beginning of 1990s promised the Indian automobile industry a sign of better things to come, starting with the launch of a car that promised to speak more than a thousand words.

(pics from picasa web, old car manual project and carwale)

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Old 22nd January 2010, 15:26   #17
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Amazing thread Sid, as always. Love reading it, please continue.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 15:50   #18
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Amazing trip down memory lane. Love the way you interweave history with automobiles. Keep it flowing Sid.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 16:39   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiren View Post
I enjoy reading your threads.

Is this your statement or wikipidia excerpts ? sure you were not born in 1983
Hey Sid, even i wanted to ask you this..
Man tell us your real age.

Last edited by Daewood : 22nd January 2010 at 16:40.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 16:53   #20
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Tooo Good... worthy for a 5 Star Rating.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 17:12   #21
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excellent thread mate. very well written!

People,

Look at the turning radius of 118NE, 10.7 meters
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Old 22nd January 2010, 17:29   #22
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It is turning circle (diameter). Which means a turning radius of 5.85 meters. Not as good as modern cars of around the same size, but not too bad.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 17:54   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjacob View Post
It is turning circle (diameter). Which means a turning radius of 5.85 meters.
it is actually 5.35 mt. just a little more than Punto which has a TR of 5.3mt
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Old 22nd January 2010, 18:36   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daewood View Post
Hey Sid, even i wanted to ask you this..
Man tell us your real age.
I have asked my parents for their experience because they saw the entire match live on DD, so the statement.

Wait a li'l more, as things are about to get a whole lot interesting.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 18:45   #25
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sid, I think we need to change the title to the great indian Automobile war(or something similar). We've gone way beyond the scope of the hatchback
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Old 22nd January 2010, 19:38   #26
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1990 onwards
Policy of LPG (Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization)
and opening of a free market economy.

A new decade starts and it promises to bring more smiles to the Indian automobile industry.

Maruti takes the first mover advantage and launches the Maruti 1000, the country's first contemporary 3 box sedan priced at 3,80,000 ex-showroom. There is a wait list, and again it is available in AC and NON AC models, powered by the same 970 cc motor that powered the gypsy that time with humble 45 bhp, weighs around 815 kg that time.

Launch time is around October 1990, and that time it is India's most expensive 3 box car on sale.

February, 1991, a landmark month for the Indian industries, which now encourage multinationals to enter as our economy becomes a free market economy.

Dr. Manmohan Singh, the then Finance Minister, announces the policy of liberalization which formally marks the end of license raj. MNCs can now enter our country, and the gap between supply and demand is now almost equal. Maruti 800, Omni and gypsy continue to sell in huge numbers, so does the premier 118 NE. The padmini and amby sales dwindle.

Time for general elections.

June 25, 1991, an unexpected tragedy shocks the nation when Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, who revolutionized the IT sector in India, worked for empowerment for youth and made amendments to the constitution with respect to the legal marriage age of women to 18 and men to 21, is killed in a suicide attack outside Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.

The nation is shocked, and the election takes place with Mr. P.V.N. Rao being elected as the next Prime Minister, of Congress (I).

While the oldies (montana, and standard) die a slow death, Sipani introduced the country's first million rupee car, the Rover Montego, a couple of years after production had ceased in the UK, in order to compete in the executive car market.

It came in 3 models, the clubman, the saloon and an estate.

About the montego*

During the early 1990s, a deal was struck with Bangalore-based Sipani automobiles whereby saloons and estates would be exported in SKD form (semi knocked down) to be assembled in India and sold through the Sipani subsidiary, Dolphin Motors Ltd.

These cars were all built in Cowley during 1994 and were complete, save for a few locally-produced components, such as batteries and air conditioning. But when the first cars arrived Sipani had problems getting customs clearance despite a deal having been reached with the authorities prior to shipment on the basis that local content would be increased later with hopefully local production the eventual target.

Because of these problems, when the Montego went on sale in India, it was subject to higher duties, and this meant that prices were higher than planned for. Putting the high price into perspective, the Montego cost ten times the price of the basic Maruti and seven times that of the Hindustan Ambassador.

Sipani itself did not have much of a reputation as a car maker or car retailer. It had only made small numbers of the Reliant Kitten-based Dolphin car and, despite the high price of the Montego, Sipani could offer little more than a tiny network of workshop-style dealers. Another factor in the failure of the Montego was that it was considered by potential buyers as being an old car that had gone out production back in Europe. Indian buyers' tastes had become more sophisticated, and they demanded more.
Sipani decided that in order to counter their own bad name, they would market the car as the "Rover Montego".

The Rover Montego nevertheless found its place at the premium end of the Indian market, where it sat comfortably above the workaday cars from Maruti, Hindustan and Premier, with a suitably hefty price tag. Compared with the archaic Ambassador and Premier Padmini he was used to, the average Indian buyer would have seen the diesel-engined Montego as being up-to-date, and well specified, even though its specification was the same as that of the last UK-built Montego Clubman from 1994-95.

The newly liberalized market meant that the Montego faced stiffer opposition than Sipani would ever have anticipated, and despite great promise it never took off: in its first full year, just 236 Rover Montegos were sold, in both body styles, and its appeal rapidly faded. A total of 500 Montegos (approximately split 50/50 saloons to estates - all Clubman diesels) were shipped to India during 1994 and 1995, and the last 51 units were sold in 1998.

*(excerpts from austin rover online UK)

Zenerationext

1993 was another landmark in the Indian automobile industry when India's first modern contemporary hatchback, the low slung, sporty jellybean shaped hatchback-the Maruti ZEN, was launched, as a premium upgrade for existing Maruti 800 customers.

Based on the new version of Alto, it was powered by an all aluminum 993 cc 50 bhp 4 cylinder petrol motor and had what was termed as the best gearbox of any maruti to date. Initial sales were slow, but it became a cult car of all sorts. More on that later.

Maruti also launched an automatic version of 800 for a limited time IIRC.

The mid 1990s promise to bring more excitement to the Indian car market, as no less than 3 luxury saloons will be launched and 2 new companies, once platform sharing mates, decide to enter the Indian market as a result of economy opening up. The third company signs a JV meanwhile.

Which are these 3 companies? and what cars will be launched? Find out next.


Pics:
(Montego brochure from austin rover online UK, M 1000 pics courtesy BHPian "the mole", and 1993 zen pic from wikipedia)

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Last edited by sidindica : 22nd January 2010 at 19:39.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 21:04   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
Maruti also launched an automatic version of 800 for a limited time IIRC.
Never knew this... Can we have more details on this people...
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Old 22nd January 2010, 21:26   #28
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That is real cool. Maruti Esteem steering wheel has its logo in Hindi.! Truely Indian. Also I was not aware of so many things have happened and there are these glorious chapters of Indian Automobile Industry.

Waiting for more.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 21:46   #29
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THE MID 90S
THE ERA OF BOLLYWOOD MASALA, CABLE TV AND 3 BOX WARS

The Indian film industry churned out hits like maine pyaar kiya, jo jeeta wohi sikander, qayamat se qayamat tak and many more.

1993 say the launch of cable TV for the first time in our country, they provided proper alternatives to the cinema. the delicensing also meant that many MNCs can set up their shop in India.

Star TV, BBC, Discovery and Zee TV were some of the most popular channels that time. Night time news, led by Aaj Tak and NDTV were also increasingly popular.

1994 and 1995 saw the release of 2 mega blockbusters, namely Rajshri productions' Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Yash Raj Film's Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, creating a cult status which stands till today. These movies have become one of he highest grossing Bolly wood movies of all time.

Star TV had 2 very popular US shows-Santa Barbera and The bold and the beautiful, whereas Zee had India's first musical show-Sa Re Ga Ma hosted by Sonu Nigam, and a legendary game show for school kids-the Bournvita Quiz Contest hosted by Derek O' Brian, which I used to watch every Sunday but unfortunately, did not get a chance to participate.

Between all this, the automobile industry was making giant strides as:
  • Korean giant Daewoo set up a giant 50,000 units per annum facility at Surajpur, the outskirts of Greater Noida, UP, and entered into a partnership with DCM to create an entity DCM Daewoo.
  • General Motors' Opel subsidiary also entered the market at the same time by setting up a manufacturing unit with capacity upto 25,000 units per annum at Halol, Gujarat.
  • Ford, meanwhile, set up a joint venture with Mahindra to assemble and sell its car at Mahindra and Mahindra's Nasik facility.
This marked the beginning of "luxury car wars", and Daewoo was the first into the foray, with the launch of its midsize "CIELO", based on erstwhile GM Opel Kadett, sold as Daewoo racer/ Nexia in most markets.

Powered by India's first Multi Point Fuel Injected motor, displacing 1.5 litres it was packed with features that were absent in many Indian cars.

Launched in September 1995, it was available in GL, GLE and GLX models with a first in class driver airbag as an option. It was also the first car with a 3 speed automatic transmission and a CD changer.

Price crossed the 6 lakh barrier, and the first owners were often questioned by Police and raided by IT department! It became an object of desire for many rich individuals.

In 1996, Opel launched its salvo-the ASTRA with a SPFI 16 LZ2 motor, 1.6 litre with 76 bhp. While the car had best in class interior quality and body durability, it was also packed with all features (barring coloured bumpers)
and was priced marginally higher than the Cielo, at about 7 lakhs IIRC.

However, this motor was unreliable and often gave complaints to owners with stalling problems, poor mileage and noise at speed. Opel recommended to add fuel additives available at workshops but of no avail.

To counter the ever growing numbers of dissatisfied customers, the company quietly replaced the old motor with 16NZR motor, with a promise of better performance, mileage and reliability. Also added were rear headrests and a defogger.

Cross town rival Ford launched its global bestsellar-the ESCORT in 2 varients-standard and LX with 2 engine options-an archaic pushrod OHV 1.3 petrol with 58 bhp and 1.8 endura diesel motor with 60 bhp.

It was actually one of the more durable cars in the market but its combination of ugly looks and less than stellar features and performance made it a market flop.
Ford did made amends. More on it in the coming parts.

To counter the competition, Maruti re-launched its 1000 with a bigger 1298 cc all aluminum motor with 65 ps, it finally gave the car the performance and mileage it should have deserved at first place and re-christened the esteem. The esteem was based on Suzuki Cultus/ Geo Metro/ Subaru Justy/ Swift sold globally in a common platform.

It was priced marginally higher than 1000 (which continued to be available) and was launched in LX, VX and in the coming years, an automatic AX was also launched. The esteem brand is one of the most successful nameplates in the Indian automobile history.

While all the action was concentrated into cars, how can MUVs be left behind?

Our very own desi Tata Engineering, or TELCO, forayed into passenger car market with the launch of a 3 door SUV, the sierra, in 1991, and the station wagon, the estate, in 1993. Both these vehicles were based on old 207 platform and designed in house with handbuilt dyes. Though packed with features, they were crude, unrefined and often had reliability issues, though they were comfortable and durable. Power came through 1948 cc 4 cylinder diesel engine with 68 bhp.

In 1994, Tata got the success it finally deserved- by launching its super successful SUMO, it became the first vehicle in its class to cross one lakh retail sales within 3 years of launch.

The coming years would witness the birth of 2 stars.
A small star and a super star.
But both these "stars" are on the same boat.

The coming years will also witness the creation of love triangles.
Some will suceed.
Others will fail.
Kyonki Itihaas gawah hai.

Its often said that these love triangles, if poorly scripted and executed, will end up suffering the same fate as the ones in Bermuda triangle.

And one such epic love triangle, which began with bang and fanfare, will eventually end up in a disaster.


'Cause disasters don't just happen, they are a chain of critical events.

Which events am I referring to?
And how will the market dynamics take shape from here?


Hold your edge tight and find out soon... The real story is just beginning.
Attached Thumbnails
Revisiting the Indian automobile Industry: Past, Present and future-19951997_daewoo_cielo_sedan_02.jpg  

Revisiting the Indian automobile Industry: Past, Present and future-2298050994_1218703425_b.jpg  

Revisiting the Indian automobile Industry: Past, Present and future-tata-sumo-sv2000-radar-_to-catch-enemy-warships_.jpg  

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Last edited by sidindica : 22nd January 2010 at 22:01.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 22:03   #30
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Amazing write up Sid. All the main points of this are already known but your informing a lot more about them in a step by step manner.

Great going. Waiting for more!!
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