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Old 7th February 2010, 21:50   #91
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Wouldn't that be too late in the diesel hatch market?
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Old 7th February 2010, 22:31   #92
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Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
Some automobiles that made "blink and you miss me" appearance or never saw the light of the day...

A little known but an interesting fact is that Kinetic Engineering actually readied a prototype of a French microcar Aixam 540 quadricycle with a 480 cc 16 bhp twin pot motor, priced at 1 lakh only. Time was 1996 auto expo. But what happened to that project only god knows, and despite some pre launch ads, there was some spat between kinetic and aixam and the car did not ever see the light of the day......
Hey, I remember that one from Kinetic in the 1996 Auto Show. IIRC they had even displayed the concept piece there and were handing out 1 page leaflets. It for sure did create quite a buzz during the show.
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Old 8th February 2010, 01:13   #93
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Sid, This is some serious research fantastically weaved with nostalgia. Although I was aware of the broad outline of the evolution of the Indian Auto industry, the kind of granular detail you have dished out is absolutely amazing. Hats off to you!
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Old 8th February 2010, 06:42   #94
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Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
Rest in Peace...Lest we forget

Some automobiles that made "blink and you miss me" appearance or never saw the light of the day...
  • Mahindra Voyager- Mahindra promised India it a first "luxurious 8 seater people mover" after it launched the crude armada, way back in 1996-97. Based on 1988 Mitsubishi L300 van and fitted with a mahindra diesel motor, this so called "luxury van" was also priced luxuriously, north of 5 lakh. Its boxy looks notwithstanding, all mahindra's marketing went for a toss even after launching a factory fitted AC version which promised you "outside, Thar desert. Inside, Shimla" tagline. The public shunned this vehicle right from the start and barring a few "worthy" individuals who bought it, this vehicle sank without a trace. Special mention must be made of my erstwhile school who purchased no less than 5 of hem to transport princi madam and the staff. Come on, you could have done better. How many of them have you seen by now?".
I thought it was a good concept. As usual Mahindra tries to promote it as a personal vehicle and that simply didnt work. This would have easily taken on the Sumo. They just didn't have the will power to rescue the project.
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Old 19th February 2010, 12:56   #95
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Forgotten yet unforgettable (excerpts from wiki)

Welcome to Chinkara Motors

Chinkara Motors is a Mumbai-based auto manufacturer, which makes a 2 seat sports car called the Chinkara Roadster 1.8S, and the Jeepster, a classic 1940s Jeep look-alike. The cars are developed at Alibag near Mumbai, India, by a husband-wife team.

Chinkara Roadster 1.8S

The Chinkara Roadster is derived from the Lotus 7. The car is put together out of parts from various Indian cars, including the Maruti 800 and the now defunct Standard Herald. While this allows the car to be reasonably advanced, it allows the use of intermediate technology to compete with a western equivalent that may be more advanced. For example, news articles on the car say it uses McPherson struts front and rear taken from a Maruti Alto. Powered by an Isuzu 1.8 liter petrol engine, it is available in several states of tune. The basic Maruti 800 suspension at the front and a multi-sourced crude rear suspension take any intended agility out of this package. The steering is dead, the handling is average and the braking is inexistent.
  • Price: INR 740,000 (excluding taxes)
  • Engine: In-line, 4 cylinder, 1816cc (Petrol), 116PS @ 5000rpm, 135Nm @ 3000rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed Manual
  • Brakes: Ventilated disc (front and rear)
  • Tyres: Front - 205/50 R16, Rear - 225/50 R15 Goodyear F1 tubeless
  • Performance: 6.7sec 0–100 km/h, 187 km/h, 13kmpl (all figures claimed)
  • Length: 3560mm
  • Width: 1760mm
  • Height: 1280mm
  • Weight: 745 kg
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Old 22nd February 2010, 22:41   #96
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Default Remembering Peugeot and Zundapp two wheelers

I faintly remember one company called Shri Chamundi Motors ( pls correct me if Iam wrong) launching 2 two wheelers in India. One was the Peugeot 'Sportif' which had button start facility ( first time in a two wheeler in India) .It was a smallish scooter cum bike.The other one was a small capacity bike from Zundapp.
I urged my dad to book one 'Sportif', which he did, and I, as a kid, was thrilled and dreamt of owning one. However, there was some waiting period and hence we didnt get the delivery.Eventually the company was wound up.
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Old 18th May 2010, 11:36   #97
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It was an excellent article sid. great nostalgic stuff. I wish for more and more threads like this from you.
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Old 8th May 2014, 14:30   #98
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Thumbs up Nostalgia - Maruti: Three decades of the dictator!

Looking at Parry's latest report on Indian Car Sales, something struck me, and struck me hard...

Somewhere in the parallel universe
Audition for 2014 Disney's new Pixar film 'Cars 3' has its studio flouted with new generation over-enthusiastic, forerunners showing off their bling like the DSGs, (twin) turbo charged fuel injection engines, automatic assists in parking, driving and what nots and at the back of the crowd there is a follower with an aged, matured, refined and experienced look trying to push-through gently to get to the front with a very convincing and confident poise.

The follower here definitely as you might have guessed is Maruti and I sincerely hope that one day it makes it through the audition.
A well deserved king!

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What made me draft this post? Well, its the 'Omni'. Though Omni has been appearing in the previous car sales report but this time it caught my attention because if you look closely at the report, all other cars that make an appearance in top 20 are recent models aging not more than 3 year on tops. Our lean Omni is sandwiched between hatchbacks (on the left) and SUVs (on the right) but still standing tall. What more to say?

Omni made me nostalgic and yes, a kid nostalgia transported me to the past.

The past is early 80's wherein we owned an Ambassador and Padmini and commuted a lot on the Delhi-Jaipur highway (NH8). As kids the road journeys used to be the biggest ordeal in the entire part of the vacation/holiday/weekend getaway. And this commute in an Amby or a Padmini certainly did not help us as kids. The noisy engines, harsh NVH levels, bumpy rides on those single sofa springy seats, boring dash, a giant steering wheel with chrome plated concentric horn ring, column mounted gear shifters...and yaaawwnnn! Yes we would more often than not, doze off!

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And then someone in my family bought a green colored Maruti 800! The Indian automotive scene had started to change, and change with a bang.

If I were to describe my experience of sitting in the 800 for the first time it would be something similar to that of making an inquisitive 5 year old boy sit in an airplane cockpit. The first 5 minutes were of complete silence observing all around. Sleek steering wheel with mounted horn buttons, turn indicator stalks, recliner bucket seats in the front with a meaty joystick gear lever mounted in-between the seats, knobs to switch air flow between modes, seat belts, cassette rack and whoa!!...a slide in-out ashtray! Start the engine and you as a kid were not convinced if its turned on, being used to the spine jarring shudder of an Amby and Padmini. Now only if this 800 could fly!

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That was the start and year after year this car manufacturer rolled out models that were an epitome of innovation and design (in most cases) by the standards of what we were seeing around then on the roads.

People were so very fascinated by the Omni when it released. 'Maruti Van' as they called it, attracted people for its sliding doors and windows, perpetual seating capacity and an almost horizontal steering wheel. I was very impressed by the positioning of the steering wheel in particular because it was similar to the layout of trucks/buses and as I as a kid was hell bent on getting an opportunity to drive a truck, that never happened. Closing the sliding door of the 'Maruti Van' was one of the most exciting things to do which as kids, never happened in the first go because there was some amount of strength required to slide it to a lock.
Though the highway dynamics and safety were a big concern with the van, it still was a big hit in the city.

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Then came the biggest drool of the decade - the Maruti Gypsy, with the soft top. It was the then 'SUV' on Indian roads. The only other SUV that has as excited me as the Gypsy is the Safari. The long flat trunk, back mounted spare wheel, big tires and a solid built made the Gypsy look like the undisputed king of the road. The might of Amby had a competitor now, and a good looking one too! There was an ad on TV then, by the tire Manufacturer 'Ceat' that had Naseer Abdullah driving around a Gypsy in a forest swamp - with mouth half open, I used to think to myself that this is the car...this it is!
I still remember how much did I try to convince my dad to buy a Gypsy over a Swift when he was changing his Santro. His unarguable retort to my 'convincing' technicalities was - 'How would it look, me driving a god damn gypsy to work?!!'. In my mind I thought - 'How very cool dad, how very cool...!'
Such was the aura of the Gypsy.

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Just about the same time, Maruti 1000 started doing rounds on the Indian road, which revamped the chauffeur driven 'Saheb' culture in India. A sporty looking premium sedan it was during that time, which got later re-branded into Maruti Esteem with one of the finest engines of its time and times to come. Maruti 1000 was an astonishing pleasant surprise, welcomed with a huge applause from the people who were on the verge of scraping their HM Contessa's which was primarily the then 'Saheb' culture sedan.

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During mid 90's 800s bigger brother Maruti Zen was released that introduced the first premium hatchback concept in India. The design of the car was truly Japanese inspired with smooth curves all around. It was a head turner for sure and especially a hit with people who wanted to move up one class from the 800.

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These five model from the Maruti's assembly line ruled India with no competition whatsoever for almost two decades till the Koreans entered the Indian market and launched their Santro, the Tata's their Indica and Daewoo their Matiz. After a decade of fight and competition on Indian roads between all these car manufacturers, Maruti still holds the kings throne in terms of Sales and Service.

They might not be coming up with a head turner and a drooler anymore but yes, they understand the pulse of the Indian automobile market like no other manufacturer does. This is excellent for the consumer who in turn gets thousands of choices to choose from, from different manufactures who try to squeeze in more and more in the same chassis, frame and engine within the same cost or maybe less, just so that they get a big slice of the cake!

Long live the King!


Last edited by raveesh_k : 8th May 2014 at 18:31.
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Old 11th June 2014, 15:20   #99
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Default Re: Revisiting the Indian automobile Industry: Past, Present and future

I have always loved to read on the evolution of Indian automobile industry and kept surfing everywhere until I found this thread which is by far the best article on the subject and appreciate the way you have inter weaved it chronologically with current events and Bollywood - though it was a little cheesy it added to the charm . Sidindica, your attention to detail is commendable and it was a trip down memory lane. Specially loved the cola wars between Hyundai Santro and Daewoo Matiz. I am much inspired by your article. Thanks!
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Old 9th May 2016, 21:02   #100
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Default Re: Revisiting the Indian automobile Industry: Past, Present and future

I don't' know how I found this thread; just casual browsing and found this wonderful thread.

Sid, you deserve standing ovation for penning it down.

What a wonderful journey of Indian automotive industry at a glance with so many old memories refreshing up while reading it.

5 years old thread, still deserves 5 stars.

EDiT - Inspired by your thread, I would like to cover up the 2010-2016 phase of Indian automotive industry very soon in this thread only.

Last edited by bluevolt : 9th May 2016 at 21:04.
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