The year 2016 has been one of joy and agony for automakers. Even as sales volumes had been looking up in the earlier part of the year, igniting the hope of a double-digit growth for the sector, the central government’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes in November seemed to have dented the prospects of a robust recovery.
Changing outlooks, however, did not deter automobile companies from introducing at least 50 new cars – both new models and variants – during the year 2016. While those like Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza, Toyota Kirloskar’s Innova Crysta and Toyota Motor’s Fortuner proved money spinners for their companies, others like Tata Motors’ Tiago seemed to reinstate their makers’ grip over the market.
There also were some other oohs and aahs! Ford, for example, introduced the next generation of its iconic Mustang sports car, whose earlier versions had featured in Hollywood movies like Goldfinger and Gone in 60 Seconds, besides the 1990s’ Bollywood melodrama Aashiqui. Another was Nissan’s GT-R, rated among the world’s top-10 fastest sports cars.
Business Standard brings you its selection of top five launches of the year, rated on the basis of appeal factor, as well as sales performance.
#1. Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
The Vitara Brezza, a much-awaited Maruti model, gave the company wings in the hot-selling compact SUV segment. Selling around 10,000 units a month since its launch earlier this year, the model went past Hyundai’s Creta in sales volumes. Priced at Rs 6.98 lakh for the base variant, the car costs up to Rs 9.68 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
#2. Tata Tiago
The Tiago proved a comeback car for Mumbai-based Tata Motors in the compact SUV segment. The company, which was earlier seen struggling to keep pace with rivals in the segment, managed to change the general perception with the Tiago. Selling around 6,000 units a month, the Tiago is endorsed by Argentina and Barcelona football superstar Lionel Messi, whose son’s name, interestingly, is Thiago. The car is priced Rs 3.2 lakh to 5.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
#3. Ford Mustang
In its most expensive offering in the Indian market, American car maker Ford introduced its iconic sports car Mustang at Rs 65 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Though it has been present in India for about two decades, it is only now that Ford has brought this popular brand to the domestic market. This is also a time when other global super luxury sports car brands like Lamborghini and Porsche are getting active in the Indian market.
#4. Toyota Innova Crysta
There is a lot that other car makers can learn from Toyota and the way its Innova model has developed over the years. Initially a successor to the Qualis, a car tasted success despite its average looks and basic interiors. Now, Toyota has come up with its new Innova, priced at Rs 13.84 lakh to Rs 20.78 lakh for different variants (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Called the Innova Crysta, this MPV is larger than the car it replaces. Toyota has been selling around 5,000 units a month.
#5. Toyota Fortuner
Over the years, Toyota’s Fortuner SUV has captured the hearts and minds of the Indian car buyer. It prides itself on being brilliant off the road, and extremely good on it. Rivals like the newer Ford Endeavour and Chevrolet Trailblazer, though, had been trying to make inroads into the Toyota territory. The Japanese car manufacturer has now launched the new Fortuner – also with a petrol variant for the first time – priced from Rs 25.92 lakh to Rs 31.12 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).