10 Indian cars: 10 Amazing Facts
There are quite a lot of ‘lesser-known-facts’ about the Indian car industry. Here are 10 such facts.
The Tata Sumo, which was developed in a quick 18 months, held the record for the most selling utility vehicle till the Bolero and Qualis came. Not only that, a version of the Sumo, called the Spacio, was sold with the Tata 407 engine, making it the first vehicle in India to be sold with a truck engine.
The Contessa gave the Indian public a taste of what it felt like to be in a muscle car. The long never-ending hood and the boxy design made it very cool. A dealer in Mumbai used to sell and promote a car called the ‘Concedes’. The Concedes is basically a Contessa who’s front-end and rear-end had been replaced with that of a Mercedes. A lot of people got fooled into buying them as well.
The Fiat Uno is now a forgotten car. But back in the day, it was extremely popular. So popular in fact that the vehicle managed to get 2.9 lakh bookings in the 1990’s. That is a huge number given that not many people bought cars back then. The demand was way too much and Fiat couldn’t cater to them all. A lot of people ended up losing their booking amounts on the car.
Supercars and hypercars today have a waiting period of roughly a year or two. If the car is extremely rare, maybe a little more than that. Back in the day though if you ordered a Padmini, the waiting period for that was an eye-watering 10 years. In today’s time, you would have had multiple facelifts before you even got your car.
Mercedes had a tie-up with Tata Motors when they decided to enter the Indian market. It was Tata Motors that initially brought in the W124 into the country at a sticker price of Rs 23 lakhs. The vehicle had globally been replaced by the newer W210. Their aim was to sell 20,000 cars in their first year through their factory in Pune. However they only managed to sell a meager 1885 units.
The Santro was Hyundai’s first car in India and one that was much loved. The Santro name has some history about it as well. To come up with the name, many ad agencies and the top management of Hyundai scratched their heads for a long time. Someone suggested it should be named in a fashionable tone, like the city of Saint Tropez in the French Riviera. This led to the Santro being called so.
The Sierra was one of the first passenger vehicles that was accepted in diesel guise. The company sold 667 units in the first year. When it was launched at Rs 5.0 lakhs, it was the most expensive offering in 1991. The entire rear of the car had a glass roof which meant there was no ventilation at the back. Tata tried to tint the glass as much as the regulations allowed to overcome this.
The Maruti 800 does have a lot of cool facts about it. One of the coolest though was the fact that the 800 MPFi, when launched was the only car whose needle could exceed the maximum marking on the speedometer. The speedo was marked till 140 kmph, whereas reports suggest the car could do 144 kmph. A test for the same was conducted at ARAI.
The Ford Mustang is an iconic car. Finally, it is available in India. But did you know that Dr. Pawan Goenka, who is the Executive Director at Mahindra & Mahindra, had a 1968 Mustang V8 as his first car?. The Mustang has also been featured in various Bollywood flicks and Saif Ali Khan owns a few of them as well.
In December 1998, Tata Motors was all set to launch their new small car, the Indica. Tata had kept the project very close to them and other’s didn’t really have much information about the car or its pricing. So much was the anticipation that it made Maruti cut prices of both the 800 and the Zen just a few hours before the Indica was launched.
The Zen’s prices were slashed by a staggering 14.78% and that of the 800 by 11.75%. Ratan Tata, during the press conference of the Indica launch, said that he had good news for those who were not wanting the Indica, as according to him, it was the Indica that was the cause of Maruti’s price cut.