What's in a name, they say. Well, in the world of cars and bikes, it's not entirely uncommon to have two totally different vehicles, being sold by manufacturers that are unrelated, having the same brand name. While copyright laws help safeguard brand identities in no small degree in every market, there have been cases where a car or bike brand in India has a namesake in a different part of the world.
Here's our list of 10 popular cars and bikes and their namesakes in foreign lands.
Tata Harrier – Toyota Harrier
The Tata Harrier is the newest addition to the product portfolio of the company that is blazing a comeback. The Harrier marks the debut of the company Impact 2.0 design language, while its Omega Arc platform is based on the JLR's L550 architecture. All that aside, the new Tata flagship, which is slated to hit the export markets next year, will receive a different name. This will help the carmaker avoid a conflict with Toyota, which owns the copyright claims to the 'Harrier' brand.
The Toyota Harrier is a mid-size crossover SUV that is based on the RAV4's MC underpinnings. It draws power from 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and petrol-hybrid powertrains and is sold in Asian nations like Japan and Malaysia.
Renault Scala – Skoda Scala
The Renault Scala was a rebadged and re-plasticized Nissan Sunny that was sold between September 2012-October 2017. It carried new bumpers, different wheels, and, of course, new badges to differentiate. While the Sunny had a decent first few years on the market, the Scala was a dud seller right from the time of launch.
On the other hand, in October 2018 Skoda revealed that the MQB A0 platform-based next-gen Skoda Rapid hatchback will be called the 'Scala'. Basically a replacement for the current EU-spec Rapid, the new model is reportedly being evaluated for the Indian market.
Nissan Sunny – Bajaj Sunny
The Nissan Sunny was launched in September 2011 and continues to be its company's C2-segment contender. In fact, the spacious sedan will reportedly receive a second facelift to keep the car from becoming completely irrelevant. The Nissan Sunny is currently available in a price range of INR 7.05 - 9.75 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi) and has a rather dismal average monthly sale between June-November 2018 of 109 units.
On the other hand, the Bajaj Sunny was a scooterette sold between 1990-2000. It was powered by a 60cc engine that propelled it to a top speed of 50 km/h. The small scooter was targeted at teenagers eligible for a driving license for ungeared two-wheelers.
Chevrolet Beat – Honda Beat
The Chevrolet Beat was launched in India in January 2010 and continued to be on sale until GM India decided to cease domestic retail operations in May 2017. The Chevy Beat found a sufficiently favourable response from the buyers owing to its peppy yet fuel-efficient engines, decent ride quality, a flashy design and a lucrative service package.
The Honda Beat used to be a rear wheel drive, mid-engined, two-seater 'kei' that was on sale in Japan from 1991 to 1996. The design of the Beat was the work of Pininfarina. Around 33,600 vehicles were produced.
Maruti Stingray – Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The Maruti Stingray was the company's attempt to inject some boldness into its highly popular but utilitarian tallboy hatchback. In Japan, the Stingray has been the sportier version of the JDM-spec Wagon R for a few years, but the Indian version was merely a grille, wheels, lights and paint job that offered no sort of performance upgrade.
On the other hand, the 'Stingray' was the name of several generations of the highly revered Chevrolet Corvette supercar. Introduced on the second-gen Corvette (C2) in 1963 and on third-gen Corvette (C3) in 1968, the brand name was resurrected for the seventh generation (C7) of America's favourite supercar in 2014.
Maruti Vitara Brezza – Suzuki Vitara
With an average monthly sale of 14,009 units (June - November 2018), the Maruti Vitara Brezza is the highest-selling SUV in the country. The Brezza, which has opened up the compact SUV market and enjoys a long waiting period almost 3 years into its life, has been available only with a D13A 1.3-litre diesel engine that offers an ARAI-certified fuel efficiency of 24.3 km/l.
On the other hand, the latest-gen Suzuki Vitara has been spotted in India on many occasions but isn't India-bound. The Vitara is slightly smaller than the Hyundai Creta and is already approaching the end of its lifecycle. Launching it in India makes little sense as it will have to compete with the likes of new-gen Creta and VW T-Cross. Instead, the next-gen Vitara will reportedly debut at the Auto Expo 2020 and will go on sale in the country thereafter.
Premier Rio – Kia Rio
Premier Rio became India's first sub-4-metre compact SUV in 2009 before the segment was popularised by the Ford EcoSport in 2013. It was available in both petrol and diesel engine options and even received the tried and tested Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre Multijet motor towards the end of its career. The compact SUV failed to garner a decent response from the buyers and was soon lost in oblivion.
The Kia Rio made its India debut at the Auto Expo 2018. While it's not India-bound immediately, the model has helped Kia gain a reputation of a being an 'affordable premium' car company. The B-segment hatchback shares the mechanical carriage with the Hyundai Elite i20.
TVS Suzuki Samurai – Suzuki Samurai
Some of you remember the TVS Suzuki Samurai through the 'No Problem Bike' TVC in the 90s. The Samurai was introduced in 1994 and its 98.2cc, 2-stroke engine made it to several other products from the Chennai-based manufacturer.
Based on the second-gen Suzuki Jimny, the Samurai is closely related to the Maruti Gypsy that has been on sale in India since December 1985. It was the first Suzuki to be officially sold in the USA.
Bajaj Platina – Nissan Platina
The Platina has been a popular entry-level motorcycle series from Bajaj Auto Ltd that has won many hearts owing to its great frugality and an affordable price tag. Unlike the CT100, the Platina is making money for BAL.
The Nissan Platina was based on the Renault Symbol and was sold in some Latin American markets like that of Chile, Argentina and Mexico. The styling changes at its front made it look a fair bit like the old Nissan Altima.
Bajaj Pulsar – Nissan Pulsar
The Bajaj Pulsar brand of motorcycles has been catering to all those who need a fun-to-ride but a well-priced bike that is easy to maintain. Available in multiple variants, the Pulsar is easily the most successful motorcycle brand from Bajaj Auto Ltd.
The Nissan Pulsar brand was used for a series of hatchback and sedans sold between 1978 and 2000. In 2012, the ‘Pulsar’ brand was revised for use on rebadged versions of the Sylphy and Tiida models in Europe. As a consequence of poor demand, the car was discontinued from the European market in September 2018.