Five cars in India that deserved to do well

There are cars and then there are some. Whether a model is highly aspirational doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t sell well. Take for instance the BMW i8. On the other hand, there is a lot of utility rolled into a vehicle and it still doesn’t appeal to the masses. An example of the S-Cross can be cited here. We have compiled five such models in this story.

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross

With the first launch in 2015, Maruti Suzuki hoped to enter the premium crossover segment with the S-Cross. However, the car was not accepted as good as the company would have liked and even after many attempts to make it pop, things remained the same.
Maruti S-Cross
S-Cross was launched only in diesel variants with two engine options: 1.3l and 1.6l but due to poor demand, Maruti discontinued the 1.6 litre engine earlier. Since then, the company has decided to axe all diesel variants from its lineup, the 1.6 diesel is likely to be replaced by the K15B hybrid petrol engine used in Ciaz and Ertiga. The newly developed 1.5 diesel could also be used here. Why it should have done well:
  • Very well designed, nearly SUV size with crossover looks
  • Was first premium offering from Maruti Suzuki
Why it didn’t:
  • It is overpriced. Starting from Rs 8.34 lakh at the time of the launch, it looked a bit high price for a car that isn’t a full SUV
  • Extremely tough competition. Cars like Hyundai Creta and Renault Duster are available at just a little higher price than the S-Cross so the consumers hesitated to go for the crossover.
  • Issues with the rear suspension are a known thing and Maruti has done precious little to fix it.

Renault Captur

Renault launched the Captur SUV with a lot of buzz and extreme marketing efforts. However, the car is struggling from the beginning to survive against the brutally tough competition. The sales are continuously declining and came down to just 125 units in April this year. Just for the scale, the rival Hyundai Creta clocks around nine to 10k units every month.
Renault Captur petrol
Why it should have done well:
  • Smooth but rugged look
  • Was offered with funky dual-tone paint job
  • Has high-stance, looks big
  • Currently hottest segment
Why it didn’t:
  • A bit too late in the game. It was launched when Creta and Duster were dominating and Jeep Compass was also gaining traction in the market
  • Internal competition from the Duster at not a big price difference

Nissan Evalia

Looking at the popularity of the big MPVs like Toyota Innova, Nissan tried to win the same game in the affordable segment with the Evalia. However, the MPV never picked up in terms of sales and popularity and Nissan managed to sell only 2412 units in the first three years of the launch before being discontinued from the Indian market in 2015.
Why it should have done well:
  • Quite roomy, practical seating layout
  • One of the best seven seat cars offered in the segment in terms of cabin space
Why it didn’t:
  • Not so attractive looks. It looked more like a small vanity van than a family car
  • 85PS diesel engine was considered wheezy for such a big vehicle
  • Increasing demand of the SUVs

Volvo S90

Volvo launched its flagship sedan S90 in India to replace the old S80. The S90 is quite a looker and comes with almost every feature you would ask for in a luxury car. We hoped the sedan to steal somewhat of the market share dominated by the German trio but it is a tough shield to break.
Why it should have done well:
  • Smooth, classy design
  • Packed with tons of premium comfort features
  • Longest and widest sedan in the segment
  • Volvo’s reputation of keeping safety on top priority
  • Generously priced at Rs 53.50 lakh (ex-showroom), in spite of being a CBU
Why it didn’t:
  • The German trio: BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 ruling the segment
  • Volvo’s patchy presence in the Indian market

BMW i8

BMW launched the i8 with a hope to turn the sportscar market towards electrification but may be it was too early for the petrolheads to accept. In the segment of naturally aspirated big motors and highly turbocharged V6s and V8s, BMW i8’s 1.5 litre 3-cylinder engine could not attract the potential customers of that segment. BMW pulled the plug on the i8 in India few years back but now are planning to give it a fresh lease of life along with a roadster version.
Why it should have done well:
  • Very unique and funky design
  • Butterfly doors
  • Highly fuel efficient; 47.45 kmpl
Why it didn’t:
  • Too  difficult to convince petrolheads for an electric or hybrid sports car
  • Little overpriced; At Rs 2.62 crore, it was well above the sports car segment, into the supercar range
  • No exciting engine sound (a big factor in the segment)

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