Ford Motor Company is making headlines today since its very last car rolled off the production line at its Chennai facility. While this brings Ford’s car production in India to an end, the company has stated in the past that it will continue to retail some models in the country as CBU fully-imported units in the future. Until there’s an update on this matter, it got us thinking about some notable automobile brands that exited India market.
Remember the Chevrolet Cruz? Still considered one of the cool and powerful sedans to have been on sale in India, the Cruz came from the house of General Motors. Despite having interesting products like the Cruz, Chevy could never grab a sizeable share in the market in India, dominated by the likes of Maruti and Hyundai. GM started operations in 1996 with Opel and Chevrolet happened in 2003. GM’s announcement to exit the country came as a surprise as it was only a few months after GM CEO Mary Bara announced a $1 billion investment in India.
Also read:Ford’s last made-in-India car: White EcoSport rolls out from Chennai plant
Maker and seller of perky little Italian cars in India, Fiat was forced to end its operations in India in 2020 owing to low sales for a prolonged time. During its time in India, Fiat gave the country some very interesting cars like Fiat Punto, Linea, and Punto EVO among others.
The brand received a good response in the 1990s but as competition grew, Fiat began to lose ground. The cars lacked features and were comparatively low on fuel efficiency, plus the company did not bring new models to the Indian market. Fiat ceased production in 2019 and stopped all operations in March 2020.
A very smol car that found much popularity in India was Daewoo Matiz. Daewoo, which also retailed the Cielo, entered the India market towards the end of the 1990s. By the end of 1999, the whole Daewoo Group ran into financial trouble and was forced into selling its automotive division, following the acquisition of its assets by General Motors. GM pulled the plug on Daewoo’s presence in India in 2002. The Matiz made a comeback as Chevrolet Spark.
As aforementioned, General Motors began its career in India with the Opel brand. It was launched in India in 1996. The brand launched cars like Astra between 1996 to 2003, Vectra between 2003 and 2005, and Corsa between 2003 and 2006. General Motors India discontinued the Opel brand from India in 2006 and replaced it with Chevrolet.
American motorcycle manufacturer UM’s stint in India was not too long and riddled with troubles. The brand ceased its operations completely in October 2019 due to a dispute with its local joint venture partner Lohia Auto. The motorcycle company was known to have aspirations of taking on the likes of Royal Enfield. However, the failure of UM Motorcycles in India is claimed to have led to a loss of over Rs 150 crore to its dealers.
A shorter lifespan than UM was that of Cleveland Motorcycles which announced entry to the Indian market at the Auto Expo 2018. Known for their customisable motorcycles, the bike maker partnered with Laish-Madison Motorwerks and in India, the motorcycles came in as CKD kits. However, poor sales led to Cleveland Cyclewerks stopping its India operations in October 2019.