India at 75: Vehicle manufacturers which can be no extra | Autocar India

Written by Raghav

We check out carmakers in India over the previous 75 years that did not make it at this time.

Printed On Aug 14, 2022 06:12:00 PM

India at 75: Automobile brands that are no more

Hindustan Motors/Mitsubishi

Hindustan Motors or HM was the mainstay of the Indian auto business from the early ‘40s. The corporate made varied fashions of Morris vehicles just like the Hindustan 10 (Moris 10), Landmaster (Morris Oxford Collection II) and the Ambassador (Morris Oxford Collection III) in 1957. The Ambassador was so standard, it stayed on sale till 2013. Others just like the Contessa (Vauxhall Victor) and the Trekker, a rudimentary MPV primarily based on the Ambassador, adopted. However like PAL, with a low concentrate on high quality and no R&D to talk of, HM didn’t survive – this regardless of a JV with Mitsubishi within the late ‘90s that confirmed some promise. The Lancer proved to be very talked-about, the Pajero SUV had a correct fan following, and even the manufacturing and high quality ranges have been superb. Neither companion, nevertheless, was actually invested within the JV, and so, updates have been sluggish. Ultimately the merchandise and the model merely fizzled out.

Premier Cars/Peugeot/FIAT

Premier Cars Restricted, or PAL, was established in 1944 in Mumbai and started rolling out its first vehicles and vans in August 1947. All by its historical past, PAL made varied licensed merchandise, ranging from the Chrysler steady similar to Dodge, DeSoto and Plymouth. Through the protectionist period, it famously made a model of the Fiat 1100 D – later the Padmini – and through the years of liberalisation, got here the Fiat 124-based 118NE. Outfitted with a Nissan engine and gearbox, it was comfy and competent. Later, PAL additionally made each the Peugeot 309 and Fiat Uno, however each weren’t profitable. The Uno was underpowered and poorly geared up, whereas the designed-for-Africa 309, although properly engineered and really succesful on our roads, didn’t exert sufficient attraction. Whereas the 309 sedan had some preliminary success, quickly labour and high quality points at PAL pressured the 2 companies to half methods. Fiat had an impartial innings in India as properly, however that model didn’t survive both. Now dad or mum Stellantis solely sells Jeep and Citroën right here.

For some time, Premier made no vehicles, however in 2009, it launched the Rio SUV, primarily based on the Daihatsu Terios, which by the way laid declare to being India’s first compact SUV. The poor concentrate on high quality and its seller community and nearly no R&D, meant the corporate merely couldn’t survive within the fashionable period.

Sipani Motors/Rover

Arrange in 1974 as Dawn Automotive, Sipani began off by making the three-wheeled Badal, loosely primarily based on the Reliant Robin. Changed by the 2-door rear-wheel-drive Dolphin within the ‘80s, itself primarily based on the Reliant Kitten, it later advanced into the four-door Montana. Sipani even launched the Daihatsu Charade-based Montana D1.

It launched the Rover Montego, however couldn’t handle the enterprise, and with fewer than 300 models constructed, the corporate went bankrupt in 2000.

Normal Motors

In 1948, the British Normal Firm arrange an Indian entity. Over time, it made fashions just like the Vanguard, the Eight, the Ten and the Pennant, the Normal Herald (Triumph Herald) and a four-door model known as the Gazel, the primary automobile particularly re-engineered for India. The 1983 Normal launched the 2000, the nation’s first actual luxurious automobile. Based mostly on the Rover SD1, it packed in new options like energy home windows and central locking. The six-cylinder Rover engine was swapped out for a 82hp, 2,061cc Vanguard engine. Not solely was it underpowered, but in addition extraordinarily unreliable. So in 1988, the final 2000 rolled off the manufacturing line.


Apparently sufficient, American automobile big Basic Motors had a plant in India again in 1928, but it surely left quickly after Independence. It returned in 1996 with Opel, however reliability points and costly repairs meant the model picture was ruined to the extent that the Opel needed to be discontinued and Chevrolet was launched. These re-branded Isuzu, Subaru, Daewoo and SAIC merchandise didn’t do properly. A litany of promoting, technique and product planning errors result in GM’s exit in 2017. The Gujarat plant was bought to SAIC (MG), whereas the Pune plant continued to make vehicles for exports till 2020, and, as of date, it’s but to discover a purchaser.

San Motors

Two-door sportCARS aren’t the very first thing a brand new Indian automobile firm would construct, however that’s precisely what Goa-based San Motors got down to do in 1996. The San Storm was a small two-door accessible as a coupe and convertible powered by a Renault-sourced 1.2-litre engine. The automobile’s fibre glass physique made it mild and rust free, and it clearly was a breath of contemporary air. But, only a few have been produced and because of questionable high quality and an unknown background, the corporate discovered it troublesome to draw consumers.

Worldwide Automobiles And Motors (ICML)

ICML, a three way partnership between the tractor maker Sonalika and MG Rover, (below China’s Nanjing Cars) began manufacturing of the Rhino MUV in 2006. ‘Impressed’ by the Qualis, the design was a non-starter, high quality and end have been method off the mark and it was poorly engineered and put collectively.  


Revived in 2013, the historic and famed Japanese model, Datsun, was to function the entry degree for Nissan globally. Datsun launched the Go hatchback in 2014. The merchandise, nevertheless, have been all too fundamental, cheaply constructed and below geared up, and Indian consumers by no means actually took to the model. The redi-GO was the final mannequin produced in late 2021.

Daewoo Motors

Korean agency Daewoo managed to make fairly a splash within the Indian market. The corporate, which bought industrial automobiles in India through its DCM Toyota Ltd JV, launched the Cielo sedan and the Matiz hatchback which discovered some favour with Indian consumers. Nonetheless, whereas the merchandise made the reduce, the Daewoo group had a troubled run internationally that affected its India operations. It tried to remain afloat and explored varied tie-ups and partnerships, with even non-banking monetary establishments. In the long run although, the model shut store in India simply earlier than promoting its belongings to Basic Motors in 2001.

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