Last month, Maruti Suzuki India decided to abandon its M800. With the new emission norms haunting the car makers, many have started following Maruti Suzuki’s footsteps. Many more cars may leave India by 2015-16 when the whole nation will have to abide by the Bharat Stage IV. The Kizashi may be the one earning Maruti Suzuki’s bread and butter.
After the phasing out of the M800, Fiat India decided to send its Palio out of 13 cities. Fiat aims at Grand Punte as it will be the breadwinner of the Fiat family. The Palio was given a facelift in March 2008 and was believed to come up with a more rejuvenated version. However, Fiat has now dropped the idea of giving the Palio a 1.2 Litre engine. The Grand Punte will be replacing the Palio in the Indian market. Selling lesser than 50 units a month is a real sad figure. Hence, in a way, Fiat must have made the right choice of letting the Palio die the slow death.
The Grande Punto carries three exciting versions; the Active, the Dynamic and the Emotion. The car too is believed to be as interesting as the names. As the “Indian Car of the Year 2002” steps out of 13 major Indian cities, one can only hope that the Grand Punte lives to Fiat India’s dreams. The escape race does not end with Maruti Suzuki and Fiat. Honda too is following the two. The BS-IV norms have nothing to do with this farewell. It is the import duty this time.
Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) has thought of discontinuing the sale of its Civic Hybrid in India. Surprisingly, it is not even a year since the launch of the vehicle. Indians would be able to avail the Honda Civic Hybrid only as a direct import. In November 2008, Honda had announced a 40 per cent price cut on the Civic Hybrid. This actually came as a shock to the Indian auto industry such a thing had never happened earlier. Honda Civic Hybrid, however, was a not a very popular model then. But the announcement was just made and Honda received around 235 bookings within a period of just four days. This again was a surprise. Before that, over a period of five months, Honda had not received even one-fifth of the bookings that they got in these four days. The sales figures did not remain that high for long.
The Civic Hybrid found it very difficult to please the Indian car buyer. The price tag being a little heavy on an average Indian’s pocket was the main reason for the decline in sales. The hybrid car, before the discount, carried a tag of Rs.21.50 Lakh. This was twice the amount carried by its petrol variant. The main reason for this again, was the heavy import duty which was a 105%. May be, if the government supports the import of hybrid cars, lesser cars will leave the nation.