1995

If you think that India’s first sub 4 meter utility vehicle was the Mahindra Quanto, then you are so wrong.

Premier Rio FaceliftPremier Rio+

[Left – Facelifted Zotye 5008 spotted production-ready; Right – The Premier Rio was updated last year]

India’s compact SUV race was started by Premier Auto which launched the Rio SUV in India in 2009.

Of course, Premier did not have the marketing machinery, the brand equity or a retail network like Mahindra or Renault to make their product a common sight on Indian roads. But credit is due where credit is deserved.

Now, the Premier Rio, a rebadged Zotye 5008 which is basically an old Daihatsu Terios, has received a minor facelift in China.

It features an all-new front fascia with a new front bumper and new fog lamps, new headlamps and a new grill. The redesign makes the Chinese SUV look slightly modern and stylish, there’s a hint of the new M Class from this angle, but for once, its not deliberate.

In China, the Zotye 5008 is powered by two petrol motors (1.3L and 1.5L) borrowed from Mitsubishi. Here in India, you can buy the Rio with the Fiat 1.3L Multi-jet engine.

This mid-life facelift is to keep the customers interested in the model until an all-new successor is ready by 2015. The all-new 5008 will be built ground up by Zotye. The idea is to move away from shared technologies and establish Zotye as a serious carmaker in the Chinese market.

Do you think Premier Auto should bring this facelift to India as the 2013 Premier Rio?

[Source: Autohome.com.cn via Carnewschina.com]

Next, would you like to read more about PAL-Zotye, Spy pictures or more about the ?

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They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store. Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!

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  • Gaurav

    Maybe Premier is serious, but is lacking the perfect people needed in the company. Look at Hindustan Motors, they were the rulers of the roads, but now you find a measly amount of Ambassadors on the road, forget talking about the Trekker or the Pushpak. At the same time, look at Force, they did succeed in creating an appreciable impact with One and Gurkha. Premier could think about their Padmini/NE revival, which are legendary vehicles without a doubt. One could imagine the Swift DZire and Etios enjoying the NE and Esteem days. So why not Premier?

  • Atul

    Hi,

    I completly agree with Rahul.
    Premier should be serious about the product, they really need to design the product, make the changes atleast in width and interior. Quanto and Duster already are in market and EcoSprot on the way. If they stuck with the same, then its very difficult for them to compete.
    The car is attractive but few things are really disappoints like not enought leg space for rear seats, not comfotable for 5 persons. If the customer is ready to pay then he deserve that kind of product.
    I am looking for the car and in future if I’ll here some changes which makes the car worth then I’ll the first buyes.

  • Rahul

    Premier, please get serious about your products/business now.

    We know, you are a good company. Fortunately, you have a good brand name in Indian market, don’t spoil it for the Chinese products. You must be knowing what we (Indians) think about the Chinese products.

    Still, there are a lot of your loyal fans out there, waiting for a good product from you.

    You just need one big hit and you will again be in limelight.

    Come on.. wake up and start working seriously (Start the redesigning process from the company logo itself).

    • H2S

      Did they come up with this number from the Peugeot 5008 which is surely not a benchmark as it is a different spec category vehicle – an MPV…

  • abuna ventana

    yes.. and also “not necessarily”. But the interiors definitely need a complete make-over.