Sign in to follow this  
Arjun_M

A coupe/convertible for the Indian market- who can do it best?

Recommended Posts

Coupes don't sell in India. Convertibles, even less. What's a regular product in most countries is largely either an aspirational or a non-selling product here. But if one company would choose to buck that trend, and build such a car, who's best suited for it? And what would you want in a coupe/convertible for the Indian market?

It has to be a seriously profit-making company, with really good sales, and also a company that people trust. I don't have much hope of GM, Ford, Fiat, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Renault or VW making one for India, as they can't sustain it. This company should have a reputation for decent, or even top quality. That would leave out both Tata and Mahindra. Guess where that points? Either Maruti and Hyundai, or the top-end foreign marques. But a Hyundai coupe? That's a long shot.

So it would be Maruti or Merc/Audi/BMW. You'll get completely different cars, going by how these companies operate. Maruti will make one that's cost-effective, while you'll get a fully-loaded car from the big German marques. There have been attempts at building a Swift CC, but it's not taken off so well. However, if there's a company that can make a CC just for those who just want a CC, and can sustain the low volumes, Maruti seems the best bet, but if you want something better, the Germans will offer theirs.

What would be the ideal specifications for an India-specific coupe? The Swift platform seems a good bet for Maruti.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well.. Swift convertible would look good and sell good too, Suzuki must launch it globally to compete with the likes of the VW Golf Cabrio.. although swift is small but m sure will do well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A two door Swift Cabrio would be just perfect for India. It is easily the hottest hatch in India and it could sell in few numbers for sure.

@AMG1: Agreed that a Swift is small but then so is a Mini. And the Swift Cabrio should come in some funky colours. On another note the Polo would also make a nice cabrio.

Does anyone here remember the Quantam Sports Convertible which was shown way back in 1995-96 and apparently bookings were open two. But it vanished without a trace. I didnt see any on the road. If there is one example I can think of a disaster of a locally made convertible it would be the San Storm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My opinion is for Swift convertible...it can be India's Mini convertible if priced correctly. Though the existing swift variant are little pricier in contrast to the features that they offer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing that strikes my mind is Standard Gazel a.k.a standard Herald. This is the India's most successful/ sold/ made convertible.

In my city, one can't marry without traveling in this car. So, if you want, you can buy one within 50k INR.

4413130937_3ae60e03d4.jpg

The other car I can think of is, San Storm, a car powered by Renault 1.5L Diesel with plastic body selling at 7-8L

Actually, if made in steel, this car could succeed.

01storm.jpg

Coming on to Indian market, looking at the combinations made out of 1947 Indica body shell, Tata can make a cheap Coupe/ Convertible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the issue with India is the positioning of such a car - followed immediately by the price.

Almost by definition, coupes and convertibles are lifestyle products - you don't buy them because they are practical, you buy them because they are cool. Because they are sold as 'cool' products, carmakers are tempted to price them at a premium - even if they are mechanically identical to an existing saloon/hatchback. In Europe, the VW Scirocco is priced almost identically to the equivalent Golf (on which it's based), so it doesn't dissuade buyers who want a bit of flair at the cost of practicality. I doubt that would happen here.

And let's face it, the Indian mindset is to get the most for your money. And for a cost-effective coupe/convertible, it would have to be based on an existing car. If so, I doubt anyone would choose the less practical option, when the performance is about the same.

And high-priced flair sells well enough - apparently Mini is selling more convertibles than any other body style (not sure where I read that though). But this only holds good at the top end of the market, and I doubt it would work once you go lower down (see: San Storm).

Still, if it did happen, my money is on Honda - they've done this sort of thing before with the S2000, CRX and CR-Z and they have good brand equity in India - perhaps something Brio- or City-based. Hyundai is now being perceived as an upmarket brand, especially with design, so they could do it too (starting with the Veloster, maybe?). Maruti has the potential but the car would have to be developed with a lot of help from Suzuki HQ, I think. Also, given the failure of most expensive Marutis (Vitara, Kizashi), it would HAVE to be priced very, very well. Maruti is not seen as a premium brand, sadly.

Personally, I'd love to see a Ford coupe/convertible - simply cause I know it would be awesome to drive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and as for the premium brands - they already have enough coupe/convertibles in the market.

Jaguar - XK, XK convertible

Audi - TT, RS5, R8, R8 convertible

Mercedes - E-coupe, E-convertible, SLK, SL, SLS AMG, SLS AMG convertible

BMW - 3-cabrio, Z4, 6-coupe, 6-cabrio, M3 coupe

And I'm sure you could order any of the rest of their international range if you wanted to. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Market forces seem to cut out some of the more interesting car design styles and car concepts in this country. But with enough revenue and profit, a few can buck the trend.

Fair, there are few people who want convertibles in India, but in absolute numbers, for a competitively-priced, made-to-order car, it shouldn't be too tough. If poor sales are a problem, let the company doing it be one who have a very high turnover or profit, so that they can sustain it. That's why Maruti and BMW/Audi/Mercedes should be the ones to do it.

I wouldn't think of a convertible by Maruti on the Swift platform as something in the same yacht as the Vitara and Kizashi, both being impractical, overpriced high-end products. If someone wants a convertible, but doesn't want to spend a fortune, this is the option for them. Any Maruti is an affordable option in any segment. A coupe/convertible in the 7-10lk range is a capable seller.

BMW, for instance, can have the 1 series coupe/convertible selling here in India, as it's smaller and more cost-effective than the 3-series and anything above. Mercedes, I'm not too sure, unless they've got a C-class cabrio. Jaguar and Audi are way out of budget for a majority of the buyers, although at their segment, they're capable of sustaining convertible production and sales- but the A3 cabrio is an option.

I'm not sure Honda can sustain convertible production and marketing, as they're not selling too well, and Honda cars are rather expensive, so the CC will be priced in Civic territory, and won't sell much. That will be a fine car, and they've got a few good CCs, but I'm not sure they can sustain production and sales in India.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this