There is so much of excitement when it comes to the world’s fifth largest auto industry – India. We get to see a lot of articles floating on the internet about the immense potential in the Indian automotive market. Although the growth of the market has been sluggish in recent times due to rising inflation and cost of ownership, Indian buyers have still shown positive attitude when it comes to purchasing.
However, the market has seen complete contrast in the past few years. While big players struggled in the country, new entrants gained immense success (Read Kia, MG). Despite getting a start, the response from Indian buyers led these automakers bid adieu the country of the Indus.
Let’s have a look at the top 6 auto companies which quit India operations in the past 5 years. The names are sure gonna surprise you!
Announced curtailing India operations – September 2021
Cars on sale before announcement – Ford Figo, Ford Aspire, Ford Freestyle, Ford EcoSport and Ford Endeavour.
Ford, the popular car manufacturer from the US has announced to stop manufacturing vehicles from its two manufacturing facilities located in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. In 2017, it was General Motors’ brand Chevrolet that left the country and Ford happens to be another auto brand from America that confirms shutting operations of two of its biggest facilities.
Ford has been bearing operating losses of $2bn in India over the past decade and even the demand for its vehicles reduced, pushing the company to take this call. In India, the car maker has been manufacturing cars for 25 years in the country but has struggled to taste success due rising competition. As per the company, Ford will continue to cater its hybrid and all-electric cars via import route in India and will support its existing customers.
According to an automobile market expert, Ford has been facing tough competition from Tata Motors, Hyundai and Kia in the past couple of years, which made things a bit more difficult. Also, the latest launches of the brand included cars such as Ford Aspire, Ford Figo and Ford Freestyle, which were not very exclusive to the increased likings for SUVs in India. Although, the Freestyle did offer some crossoverish feel, but it did not have much potential to impact the sales of cars like Tata Nexon, Kia Sonet, Maruti Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.
Ended Operation – September 2020
Bikes Sold in India before exit- Harley Davidson Forty Eight, Street Rod, 1200 Custom, Low Rider, Forty Eight Special and Low Rider S
Another latest automobile company to join the bandwagon of auto companies exiting India is the famous Harley Davidson. Yes, the name might surprise you but dismal sales propelled the American giant to bid adieu.
Back in 2011, the renowned cruiser bike maker set up its first plant outside America in Bawal, Haryana to keep the costs of its bikes in check.
However, the steep taxes on the assembled bike made it expensive than its competition. While the tax was a major reason, COVID ensured Harley fast-forwarded its decision on leaving the country.
Suggested: Harley Davidson Street 750 Review
Ended Operation – March 2019
Cars Sold in India before exit- Fiat Linea, Urban Cross, Punto EVO and Avventura
The Italian automaker was one of the oldest car manufacturing companies in India. In the late 90s, it got good response from buyers in this part of the world but as the competition grew, Fiat lost the plot and sales started to dwindle. Fiat entered India in joint operation with Tata Motors in 1997.
Although its cars were a gem for an enthusiast, the fuel efficiency and design were something which failed to impress the common buyers (especially when Hyundai brought new products). It ceased production in January 2019 and completely halted operations in March last year.
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Ended Operation – December 2017
Cars Sold in India before exit- Chevrolet Beat, Tavera, Cruze, Trailblazer, Enjoy, Sail hatchback and Sail sedan
General Motors entered India in 1996 with the Opel brand and got some success. It tried its luck again with the Chevrolet brand in 2003. The American giant’s decision to pull the plug on 31st December 2017 was a complete surprise for auto enthusiasts in the country. In the past two decades of its India-operation, some of the GM cars were able to strike a chord with the heart of the enthusiasts if not the sales. Its highly appreciated models include Opel Astra, Opel Corsa, Chevrolet Optra, SRV, Tavera, Cruze and Beat.
Ended Operation – March 2018
Cars Sold in India before exit- Eicher Polaris Multix
When Eicher and Polaris entered into a JV in 2013, it was expected to create a revolution in the ATV (all-terrain vehicle) space. Although in its nascent stage in India, the ATV segment was speculated to grow given the inclination of buyers towards lifestyle vehicles. The automaker also organised several events focussed on the off-roading capabilities of the ATVs but eventually, there was no impact on its sales. The rising inflation and dipping per capita income further limited its buyers. The plunging sales forced Eicher Polaris to cease operations in March 2018. Its only road legal vehicle was the 5-seater MUV/SUV, the Multix.
Operation Ended– October 2019
Bikes sold in India before exit- Renegade Commando, Renegade Sport S and Renegade Classic
The United Motors of America kick-started its India operations in collaboration with Lohia Auto. Due to low quality parts, the company received a lot of backlash from users and experts alike. It wanted to compete with brands like Royal Enfield in India but the use of cheap Chinese parts messed its dreams and money of consumers. It is facing legal prosecutions from FADA (Federation of Automobile Dealers Association) as it abruptly ended operations in India leaving its dealers in the lurch.