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Five iconic Indian vehicles that we may never see again

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South Korean major automaker Hyundai Motors became the latest car company to reveal that they will discontinue the production of their iconic Santro, a car that has become synonymous with the company.
Launched in October 1998, Santro went on to become the ‘Sunshine Car’ of over a million Indian households. However, it will be driven into the sunset with the company planning to focus more on new products such the i10, i20 and the Eon series.

Santro is not the first car to fall in this category. So, let’s take a look at some of the major Indian vehicles that we may never see again.

Hindsutan Ambassador: One of the most iconic cars of the country, a prominent symbol for the rich and powerful, Hindustan Ambassador was the pride of India. Manufactured by Hindustan Motors of India, it was first produced in 1958 and is the longest produced car in the country.

Easily identified by its white colour and on more than one occasion – a red beacon (as it was a prominent choice of politicians and bureaucrats), the Ambassador had a great share of the Indian auto market, i.e. till Maruti Suzuki came up with the Maruti 800.

Fondly known as “The King of Indian Roads”, the production of Ambassador has been suspended by the company since May, 2014.

Maruti 800: With over 2.6 million units sold, the Maruti 800 is easily the iconic small car of India besides being the second longest production car after the Ambassador.

Perhaps, Maruti 800 revolutionised small car industry in the country. During its production period in the eighties and the nineties, Maruti 800 became synonymous with the company’s name – Maruti. There was no Indian road where it was not seen. It was also exported to South Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh and selected European markets where it was sold under Maruti Suzuki.

The company, however, began a phase out of Maruti 800 beginning in April 2010. It was the bestselling car in the country until 2004 when Alto, a new small car from the same company, took over the coveted title.

Bajaj Scooter: The ‘Hamara Bajaj’ campaign jingle will live forever in the ears of our parents and grandparents. It was a campaign that made the Bajaj Chetak (Bajaj Scooter) a household name in the country.

Named after the horse of the legendary warrior Rana Pratap Singh, Bajaj Chetak was produced by Bajaj Auto and was easily the most affordable means of transport during the time for millions of Indian families.

However, in 2009 Bajaj decided to exit the scooter segment and concentrate more on the popular motorcycle segment. Today, while Bajaj Pulsar is considered the most popular bike in the India, one cannot forget the fact that there was a ‘Hamara Bajaj’ Chetak scooter and it set the trend of two wheeler sale.

Hyundai Santro: The South Korean company became the latest automakers to announce the end of road for its iconic family car, the Santro, in India.

Santro was a car that became synonymous with the company as much as Maruti 800 was for Maruti.

Launched in October 1998, it became an icon and a household name in the country after Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was introduced as its brand ambassador.

Today, the Santro is the highest selling model for Hyundai Motors. However, the company plans to focus on other products such as the i10 and Eon. With this, the company will drive the Santro into the sunset by the end of November.

Toyota Qualis: Innova is the new Qualis, considering that Toyota decided to replace the latter with the former.

It was in February 2005 that Toyota Motor Corp, the Japanese automaker, decided to stop production of its money spinner Qualis and replace it with a higher-breed, Innova.

Why Toyota replaced Qualis with Innova is a question that has left many wondering, but there is no denying that Qualis was one of the most trusted multi-purpose vehicles in the segment.

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