‘Closing Time, every New Beginning comes from some other’s beginning’s End!’ … Lyrics from ‘Closing Time’ by ‘Semisonic’ seem apt for a lot of Indian car models at the moment. The upcoming safety norms will come into effect in 2019 and that means that Indian cars will start to get safer than before.
However, this also means that many cars which will fail to meet these stricter norms will no longer be available in company showrooms! Here is a list of cars from various manufacturers, which might or might not be missed, but are spending their last few weeks in company showrooms.
Tata Motors – Three Tata products in its current format, which will not be able to meet the safety norms are the Nano, Sumo and the Safari. Nano and Sumo sales are anyway insignificant, and the models don’t even have any specific popularity amongst the masses. High chances, the two won’t be missed much, neither by the dealers nor by the customers.
However, Safari still has a cult following and Safari lovers will be missing the SUV which started to loose ground since the arrival of the 2014 Mahindra Scorpio, its primary rival. However, there is still some hope that Tata might bring in the next generation Safari, but that too won’t happen in 2019 for sure, as it already has a packed product launch pipeline. Or if Tata decided to update the Safari to meet the new safety and emission norms, it may as well survive.
Mahindra – The upcoming safety norms might work out as a blessing in disguise for Mahindra as it will be forced to eliminate some non-performing products. Xylo and NuvoSport (an updated version of Quanto. It is fine if you don’t remember either) were axed last year and now the Verito and e2O are also expected to get discontinued, as in its current for, they do not meet the upcoming safety norms. What is disheartening is that these two are the only commercially available electric vehicles in the country, and they will no longer be available. However, Mahindra is reportedly working upon electric version of the KUV100, XUV300 and might introduce electric powertrain in other models as well.
The current gen Thar too won’t meet the crash-test norms, but Mahindra is working upon shifting the Thar to the platform which is shared by the Scorpio and TUV300. Hence, the Thar moniker will continue but there could be a small gap if the product is not readied by October 2019, which seems like a tough target to meet.
Maruti Suzuki – Two of the most iconic products from Maruti, the Omni and the Gypsy, both will be discontinued from its line-up once the safety norms kick-in. The current gen Alto will also be discontinued. But, Maruti has a replacement in the making, which will be launched before the norms kick in, and hence the Alto nameplate will survive. To replace the Gypsy, Maruti could launch the Jimny (4th gen Gypsy) in India.
Fiat – It is no surprise that the Fiat brand had been struggling in India for some time and now the upcoming test norms will just work like a final nail in the coffin for the Italian brand. Not only Fiat cars, but the brand will be bidding adieu to India. Parent company FCA will only be operating Jeep brand in India. Auto-enthusiasts will land up missing out on the Punto for sure, if not anything else!
Hyundai – Hyundai had recently brought back the ‘Santro’ and it worked out well as a reason to discontinue the Eon. In case there was any reason to continue, the stricter safety norms will ensure that the product won’t be sold in the future. We doubt if the Eon will be missed by anyone.
Honda – Honda had stepped into the highly competitive compact-hatchback segment when it launched the Brio. However, post the initial years, Brio couldn’t handle the competition well. An unjustified premium price tag and limited cabin-space didn’t help its case either. Honda did discontinue the hatch last year and it doesn’t plan on to bringing in a replacement any time soon.