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India 1958-2017: More detailed Historical Data now available

Hindustan Ambassador

After Russia, we continue our large scale overhaul of Historical Data with exclusive data for India now available annually from 1985 onwards – vs. 2004 previously. We have added no less than 20 new articles to complete Indian Historical Data. From its launch in 1958 all through the sixties, the Hindustan Ambassador reigns supreme over Indian sales charts. The Premier Padmini launch in 1970 adds a little spice to the fight for pole position which is however estimated to have stayed with the Ambassador for the majority of the time up until the mid-eighties. The Padmini would remain #2 from 1985 to 1990 and inside the Top 10 until 1995 while the Ambassador would resist until 1998 when it, also dropped out of the Top 10.

Premier Padmini1985 Maruti 8001986 Maruti 800

If both the Ambassador and the Padmini were sophisticated rides, in 1985 Maruti launches the 800, originally based on the 1979 Suzuki Fronte and the first truly popular car in India, but soon replaced by a rebadge of the 1984 Suzuki Alto. It’s a game-changer: 25% share as soon as its first year on sale and the start of 20 years of implacable domination, hitting a record 32.1% share in 1996 and a record volume (193.904) in 1999. The Indian new vehicle market would be multiplied by 10 over the following twenty years, crossing the 250.000 sales milestone for the first time in 1989, 500.000 in 1996, 750.000 in 2000, one million in 2004, 2 million in 2011 and 3 million in 2017. In 2005, the Maruti Alto ends the reign of the 800, itself starting a 13 year-long domination and crossing both the 200.000 and 300.000 annual unit marks for the first time. The Alto is now in the process of being overtaken by the Maruti Dzire in 2018.

The Hyundai Santro ranks #2 in India in 2000, only 28 months after launch. The 1999 Tata Indica is considered India’s first indigenously developed passenger car.

Maruti would surf on the 800 and Alto success to tighten its grip on the market, reaching a record 59.2% share in 1998, a milestone that still stands today with Maruti back above 50% in 2018 for the first time since 1999. Indeed, long the exclusive territory of local manufacturers, India would wait until 1996 to truly open to foreign carmakers, going from 5.3% share that year to 28% in 2000. The Daewoo Cielo is the first foreign nameplate to break into the Indian annual Top 10 at #9 in 1996, but the Hyundai Santro then takes the relay, breaking into Top 5 in 1999 and the podium – at #2 – in 2000. Launched in the country in September 1998, Hyundai shot straight to the top: #3 brand in the country as early as 2000, and has held the #2 spot without interruption for the past decade.

Premier NE118 with Padmini in background.The Tata Nano launched in India in July 2009.Renault Kwid

Follow also the success of the Maruti Omnivan up to #2 in 1991, the Mahindra Jeep, #2 for six consecutive years between 1992 and 1997, the expansion of Tata into light commercials with the 407 up to #5 in 1991, the Mercedes clone the Estate/Sierra, into SUVs with the Sumo up to #5 in 1997 and finally into passenger cars with the Indica up to #3 in 2002, then the ambitious launch – and subsequent flop – of the Nano, “the cheapest car in the world” in 2009. Witness also the detailed performance of forgotten models such as the Premier NE118 – a Seat 124 rebadge – and Hindustan Contessa – a rebadged Vauxhall VX-Series, the gearing up of the Maruti Swift and its sedan variant, the DZire originating in India, as well as the surprise success of the Renault Kwid in 2016. All the Historical articles are below.

India Historical Info:

India 1958-1984: Hindustan Ambassador ‘king of Indian roads’

India 1985: First year of domination by the Maruti 800

India 1986: Maruti above 40% share, Maruti 800 and Premier Padmini on top

India 1987: Maruti 800, Premier Padmini dominate market up 32.5%

India 1988: Maruti 800 leads, Premier Padmini outpaces market

India 1989: Maruti 800, Omnivan, Hindustan Ambassador gain share

India 1990: Maruti 800 on top, Tata 407 shoots up 65%

India 1991: Maruti Omnivan up to #2 in declining market

India 1992: Mahindra Jeep climbs to 2nd place, market down again

India 1993: Maruti (48.8%) and Maruti 800 (29.8%) break share records

India 1994: Tata #2, Maruti 800 first car above 100.000 annual sales

India 1995: Market up 37%, Maruti Esteem up to #4, Tata Sumo lands

India 1996: Maruti (52.5%) and Maruti 800 (32.1%) at record highs, foreigners land

India 1997: Maruti up to record 55.1% share, 800 and Zen on podium

India 1998: Podium 100% Maruti, Hyundai Santro and Honda City instant blockbusters

India 1999: Hyundai and Santro up to #4, Tata Indica lands at #6

India 2000: Maruti 800 down to lowest share, Hyundai Santro up to #2

India 2001: Maruti 800 and Hyundai Santro up, top market down 3.1%

India 2002: Fiat up to #5, Maruti 800, Hyundai Santro, Tata Indica lead

India 2003: Maruti 800, Wagon R, Alto shine in record market (+20%)

India 2004: Maruti Alto challenges 800, leader for 20 years

India 2005: Maruti Alto takes the lead, Santro and Indica on podium

India 2006-2007: Maruti Alto first car to pass 200.000 annual volume

India 2008-2009: Alto leader, Wagon R up, i10 arrives

India 2010: Maruti Alto breaks 300,000 annual units barrier

India 2011: Maruti Alto leads for 7th consecutive year

India 2012: Maruti Alto #1, Swift and DZire beat records, Renault Duster impresses

India 2013: Maruti Alto #1, Swift, DZire and Wagon R break records

India 2014: Maruti Alto keeps lead, Datsun Go underwhelms in market back up

India 2015: Maruti tightens grip on record market

India 2016: The year Renault cracked the Indian market

India 2017: Five Marutis in Top 5, market above 3 million units

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