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Old 26th September 2021, 18:44   #1
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Default Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

India is a very unforgiving market for cars. If a car flops at the time of launch, it would very well mean that it would never sell in good numbers in its lifetime. Hence, it is very important to get everything from price to features to looks to quality to service correct at the first time. You slip here and then there is no coming back. People might say in reviews or posts on social media that if this change was done or that change was done the car would succeed. It never happens. Let us take example of Tata Nano.

1. Would start selling if there was a openable hatch.
2. Would start selling if there was power steering.
3. Would start selling if there were proper gloveboxes.
4. If only there was an AMT version, the sales would be on fire.
5. Just give a CNG option and it would start selling like hot cakes.

Tata gave everything and more what reviewers said were missing but Tata Nano could never sell in numbers expected. In fact, with each of these features added, sales only reduced.

Chevrolet Sail twins, Chevrolet Enjoy - one of the major reasons given for their failure was poor interiors. They were launched with much better interiors but nothing happened.

Nissan Evalia - If only the second row window could somehow open. Well, it was given and sales only went down.

Mahindra Renault Logan/ Mahindra Verito/ Mahindra Verito Vibe : If only it had better interiors, conventional power windows, wiper controls and direction in line with RHD. If there was a sub 4 metre, it would sell in decent numbers. You got Verito Vibe but very few people bothered to even give a second look.

Mahindra Reva : If only it had 4 proper seats, 4 proper doors and a decent range. Everything was given but sales never improved.

There is a long list of such cars...

And it's not only about features. Even after price reduction or better marketing or positioning, these flop cars never succeed in our market.

Has there been any car which flopped at launch but succeeded afterwards. Toyota Innova might be the only one.

I have heard that the car was flop at launch and started selling only after that Aamir Khan advertisement. However, I'm not sure if that's actually truth or just a good story.

Would like to know members' opinion on why once a car fails in India, it can never succeed afterwards. Or if there has been a car which has broken this trend.
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Old 26th September 2021, 19:09   #2
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

S-Cross comes to the mind.

Though with that being said, S-Cross could have been called a flop only from Maruti's perspective. On its own, it was a slow seller. Its number did increase after the facelift to the now respectable figures.
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Old 26th September 2021, 19:18   #3
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

Alto !
When it was launched, it was priced close to the likes of WagonR and Santro ! For the space on offer, people didnt find a case for the car.

Things changed after Maruti repositoned it as Maruti 800's replacement. With price correction and a minor facelift things clicked. Then there was no looking back.

That was a remarkable change in fortunes.
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Old 26th September 2021, 19:26   #4
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

The Maruti Versa which we today know as the Eeco was a car that flopped big time in its day. It was a luxury "van" in those days but as the market has shown, they don't take too keenly to such cars. The same car was later stripped down, given a makeup and launched as the Eeco which targetted more utilitarian audiences looking for an alternative to the Omni and it truly worked wonders

Last edited by Aditya : 27th September 2021 at 05:18. Reason: As requested
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Old 26th September 2021, 19:29   #5
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

The Hyundai Getz was a flop but its successor, the i20 was a big hit. The old Maruti Suzuki Baleno was a flop but the new Baleno Hatchback which is a totally different car is a hit.

Last edited by CarNerd : 26th September 2021 at 19:41.
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Old 26th September 2021, 19:30   #6
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

The original i20 was a sales dud initially, people equated hatchbacks as rank budget cars and found it too expensive. Then, Honda launched the Jazz, priced a little less than their (at that time) all conquering City. Suddenly, the i20 started being perceived as value for money. Sales shot up, and the rest is history.


Another example is the Chevy Tavera. When GM launched the Isuzu Panther in India under the Chevrolet name, they positioned it as a premium family car. I distinctly remember going to the Chevy showroom as a kid with dad to check it out. The top trims were priced well over 10L, back in 2004. It was actually more expensive than their Optra! No wonder it didn’t click. It was only later that better sense prevailed and GM repositioned it as a basic workhorse people carrier. It then found favour with cabbies all over and became a reasonable success.

A point to note with all the examples being listed on this thread is that they all are 15-20 years old. The market is a lot more unforgiving now. Nobody gets a second chance anymore.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 26th September 2021 at 19:39.
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Old 26th September 2021, 19:31   #7
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

Maruti Versa was launched as a premium family vehicle, with Big B advertising it. It flopped, MUL flattened the roof, renamed it and positioned it as a yellow/black taxi, ambulance, goods carrier etc as a successor to the Omni. It is selling in good numbers now.

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Old 26th September 2021, 20:02   #8
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

XUV 3OO was initially not received well thanks to pricing, it's doing well after price correction and NCAP rating.
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Old 26th September 2021, 20:09   #9
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

Suzuki WagonR too. Dont think the first versions (1999) were that successful. The Santro was more popular during that time. Think it picked during the 2nd gen (2010 models), and further in the 3rd gen version- its grown dimensions no doubt helping the cause.

The Baleno is another great 2nd innings success story, but then only the name plate is the same between the two versions
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Old 26th September 2021, 21:32   #10
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

I would also say the i20.
The first gen was called as heavy and lacking power even by the reviewers but then came the i20 Elite and the same engine and car(with some changes) set new benchmarks.

Although since sales data wasn't that easily available to us during the first gen days I have to go by anecdotal evidence and some articles on the same.

Last edited by shancz : 26th September 2021 at 21:35. Reason: ccl line
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Old 26th September 2021, 22:03   #11
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

1st Gen Honda Jazz.

When it was launched, Honda priced it at a huge premium, and even fanboys turned away. It took a long time but it was followed by a HUGE price correction, >2 lakh IIRC. Then, atleast the fanboys came back - because it really was a very good package - performance wise, as well as structural safety wise.

It didn't set sales charts on fire, but didn't go down the drain either - that's as good as it gets for a flopped car.

IMO this trend is the same reason that cars like Duster, XUV5OO & erstwhile Magnite/Keiger were priced well at launch. IMO its the same reason Mahindra has again aggressively priced the lower variants the XUV7OO.

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 26th September 2021 at 22:04.
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Old 26th September 2021, 22:35   #12
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

I think the Verna is the best example that comes to my mind. I donít think the first generation Verna was a big hit and the hideous Transform facelift made it even worse.
Then Hyundai launched the fluidic Verna and the sales just took off.

In contemporary times, Tata has to be credited with turning around the fortunes of the Harrier in 2020 with the update after it looked stillborn after its launch.
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Old 26th September 2021, 23:23   #13
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

I think the car that fits this bill is the Hyundai Elantra. The first Elantra's (3rd Gen) did not do well in sales, I believe it was due to the high price. But, the next generation of Elantra, the 5th Generation did decently for the segment it was in (D Segment sedans ain't selling like hotcakes) and despite the Octavia and Jetta being the most popular, I'm sure almost all Elantras running in India belong to the 5th Gen. Rarely do I see the newer gen Elantras on the road now, while the 5th gen can be seen occasionally. It ain't a huge turnaround, but when compared to its previous generation, it is a massive change.

Last edited by TorqueMonster : 26th September 2021 at 23:24.
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Old 27th September 2021, 00:04   #14
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

The most recent example that hits me is of an almost flop car Tata Harrier. The 1st gen of the Harrier did make a lot of buzz but then the euphoria died pretty quick and it was in the emergency room. Tata motors did make good effort and presented the facelift in an year which saved the brand. In fact the car is not only a hit now, they even went ahead and launched 7-seater version and called it "Safari"- a brand name which arguably has more weightage than Tata itself. Had they launched the 7 seater Harrier(Safari) before, it would have been a dud IMO. All it needs now is an AWD and the sales might increase further.

Last edited by Mach_1590 : 27th September 2021 at 00:34. Reason: typo
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Old 27th September 2021, 01:00   #15
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Default re: Has a flopped car in the Indian market ever made a turnaround?

While I would not call it a big turn around, the 2016 Ford Endeavour was much more successful than the earlier versions, thanks to the new 5 cylinder 3.2 diesel engine.
For a few months in 2016, the Endeavour was selling a few hundreds more than the Fortuner which made it the segment leader, though eventually variants and engin options made it slowly lose the market.
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