These Iconic Cars Will Disappear in 2019, But Some Will Return
New crash-test norms and emissions regulations have forced some familiar car brands out of the market.
The new stringent crash test rules kicking in this year will see many cars undergoing significant changes or being completely discontinued. All existing models of cars have to meet the new crash-test norms by October 2019, while other safety features need to be introduced in a phased manner from April 2019 onwards.
And then comes the next inflection point. In April 2020, India will move to Bharat Stage VI emission norms from the current BS-IV norms, jumping an entire level, putting the country at par with most of the developed world and ahead of many others. This means some engine lines will not be able to make the cut and will be discontinued.
So which are the cars that will not be able to meet the crash test norms or the new emissions standards? Here is a list of some old-time favourites that will either cease to exist or will come back as “all-new” models.
Click/tap the images below to see the “new” models:
The humble Maruti Omni has been around since 1984. It has survived for 35 years with the same design. Over the years it has only had minor updates, but almost none on the safety front. It got front disc brakes with booster assist and moved from carburettor technology to MPFI tech. Besides that it has had only minor design tweaks to the front-end and dashboard. However, it’s not likely to pass any crash tests.
What will replace the Maruti Omni? Well, it’s likely to be a reworked Maruti Suzuki Eeco that will have to take its place. However, it will be more expensive, as it will have a driver airbag, reinforced frontal protection, ABS and parking sensors as standard features.
The Tata Nano was launched with much fanfare in March 2009. It was considered the cheapest car in the world with a launch price tag of Rs 1,12,000 for the base model. However, the car didn’t catch the fancy of buyers despite attempts at becoming the “people’s car” of India.
There is sadly no replacement for the Tata Nano. The car will not meet new crash-test requirements in current form and with the dismal sales, Tata isn’t looking to invest in it. As of January 2019, production of the Tata Nano has stopped.
Maruti Suzuki Alto
The Maruti Suzuki Alto has been one of the biggest bread-winners for Maruti, selling close to 20,000 units a month. At one point, it even scaled 30,000 units. It has continuously been in the top-three cars list since its launch. It has had several styling updates and engine updates, available in 800 cc and 1-litre options. The Alto in its current form won’t pass upcoming crash tests, but it will get an update.
The new Maruti Alto will come by October 2019 and will likely be based on the new Heartect platform. The 800 cc engine may be phased out, but the K-Series 1-litre engine is likely to be upgraded to BS-VI norms. Yes, the Alto name will stay on a new car.
The Fiat Punto was launched in India in 2008 and has sold in the same form ever since, with a significant facelift in 2014. The company hasn’t had much success with the car despite launching even a performance edition – the Abarth Punto – as well as crossovers like the Avventura. The Fiat Linea (the sedan version) of the car also hasn’t done much for the brand in terms of sales. So much so, the company is pulling the plug on the brand.
Fiat will also discontinue its bread-and-butter business, the supply of 1.3 litre multijet diesel engines to brands like Maruti Suzuki and Tata. That’s because the 1.3 litre multijet diesel cannot be upgraded to BS-VI emissions norms. Tata and Maruti are working on their own line of diesel engines.
To say the Mahindra Thar launched in 2010 is a bit of a mis-statement. As the brand Mahindra Thar, it appeared in end 2010, but it has been sold as the Mahindra MM540/550 series earlier in the same body shell, which was made under licence from Jeep, based on the CJ5 body. The Thar is a popular niche off-road vehicle, but it won’t meet upcoming crash-tests and emission norms. But that’s not the end of the road.
Mahindra has a few aces up its sleeve. The new Mahindra Thar will appear by the end of the year, built on the new-generation Scorpio’s platform with all the safety kit. The body shell, however, will follow the same iconic Jeep CJ5 design (much like the Jeep Wrangler). The engine too will be upgraded.
The Tata Sumo has been around for a long time. However, with vehicles like the Mahindra Bolero, Chevrolet Tavera and Toyota Innova taking up people-moving duties, the sales of the Tata Sumo have dropped, selling only about 600 vehicles a month.
What will replace the Tata Sumo? Well, Tata was working on a “raptor” platform till last year, but latest reports say that the project has been shelved. So far, there’s no replacement in sight.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
The Maruti Suzuki Gypsy has been one of the staple vehicles for the Indian armed forces and a favourite with rally drivers too. It has had very minor changes to its design since launch, with mild upgrades to keep pace with emission norms. But, sadly, it’s the end of the road for the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy.
Speculation has been rife that the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy may be replaced by the Suzuki Jimny. However, officials at Maruti Suzuki have denied that rumour, as they don’t see enough sales volumes for this likely Gypsy successor.
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