IAB Picks - 10 compact SUVs that are not sold in India, but need to be

15/08/2014 - 13:59 | ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,   | Anjan Ravi

The compact SUV segment in India, and abroad, has seen an upward sales spike in recent years. So much that in 2013, the compact SUV/crossover segment witnessed a growth of 81 percent in Europe, without cannibalizing on other segments. Bearing this in mind, many car makers have announced, or have started working on their compact SUVs, some of which are even India bound.

However, this story is more about products that are not available in India, and most probably will never launch in India as they would be "too expensive" and "not meant for our market".

1. Chevrolet Trax

2015 Chevrolet Trax at 2014 New York Auto Show - front three quarter right
The Chevrolet Trax could be an ideal fit in GM India's portfolio.

GM in India has tried its luck in the hatchback, sedan and MPV segments, but has not bothered with compact SUVs. The Chevrolet Trax, which is a 4.24 meter long crossover, could be an ideal fit for Indian tastes. However, the brand has no plans to launch the Trax in India, and instead has planned the sub-4 meter Adra shown at the Auto Expo. We wouldn't get our hopes high for the moment as the Adra is not expected until 2017.

2. Honda Vezel

Honda Vezel at Auto China 2014
The Jazz-based Vezel is deemed expensive for India.

Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, Honda India quashed speculations about the Honda Vezel coming to India. Simply put, the Vezel will be difficult to localize here, and increasing import content will drive up the price. Instead, a crossover based on the Brio platform is being developed.

3. Hyundai ix25

Hyundai ix25 white front three quarters at Auto China 2014
There are good chances of the ix25 coming to India next year.

Perhaps some solace can be found here, as the ix25 is expected to be Hyundai India's compact SUV contender with a possible launch next year. However, the company is yet to confirm the ix25 for India, and hopes are that Hyundai doesn't reject it in favor of another low-cost alternative.

4. Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade side at Geneva Motor Show 2014
The Jeep Renegade doesn't figure in Jeep India's plans.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this year, the Jeep Renegade will be Jeep's entry-level offering in markets such as the United States and Europe. Jeep's Indian product plan revealed this year has no mention of the Renegade for our market. Clearly, the Fiat-owned UV specialist will be focussing on higher-end products (like the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler) where profits are better.

5. Fiat Panda Cross

Fiat Panda Cross side profile - Geneva Live
The Fiat Panda Cross seems more purposeful than the Avventura, but its the latter that will come to India.

The Fiat Panda Cross is an interesting take on the hatchback. Using the same underpinnings as the Panda, the Cross gets an AWD layout, toughened up bumpers, side body cladding, roof rails and 47 mm of extra ground clearance. However, there are no plans to launch the car in India. Fiat in India plan to tackle the compact SUV segment with the Punto-based Avventura which is expected to launch soon.

6. Ssangyong Korando

2014 Ssangyong Korando C at Guangzhou front
The refreshed Korando was considered for our market, but a launch is unlikely for now.

The Ssangyong Korando which was refreshed last year is now comparatively better to look at. Mahindra retains its stance that it continues to consider the Korando for India. However, if the brand were to launch the car, it would pick a conflict with the Scorpio or the base W4 variant of the XUV500 in terms of price, and look overpriced due to the lack of third row seats.

7. Nissan Juke

New Nissan Juke front three quarter right profile - Geneva Live
The Juke was recently refreshed at the Geneva Motor Show.

The hugely popular Nissan Juke perhaps ranks at the top of this list. With an unconventional styling, yet compact dimensions (at 4.125 m the Juke is shorter than the Duster), the Juke is available with Renault's tried-and-tested 1.5-liter K9K engine as well as a turbocharged petrol motor in Europe. However, Nissan in India took to re-badging the Duster into the Terrano for its SUV needs, and hence the Juke would be a bit of a misfit in India if introduced.

8. Peugeot 2008

Peugeot 2008
Peugeot as such doesn't exist in India.

While the Peugeot brand is not existent in India anymore, the French car maker has tasted immense success with the Peugeot 2008 which had worldwide sales of 95,400 units in the first half of this year. The company's statistics say that for the month of May 2014, the 2008 had a market share of 23.3 percent in Europe making it the number one in its segment. French design, innovative interior, feature packed, but not coming to India!

9. Renault Captur

Renault Captur front three quarters left at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Renault is unable to make enough Capturs and announced increased shifts recently.

The Renault Captur was another blockbuster launch last year with over 200,000 units of the compact crossover produced from January 2013 to June 2014. Sadly, the Captur's Indian launch looks bleak as Renault already have the Duster in that segment. Renault India's new CEO stated that it would be interesting to have another SUV and we certainly have our fingers crossed for the Captur.

10. Toyota Rush

Toyota Rush facelift
Putting a diesel engine in the Rush will incur significant R&D costs, which will reflect in the price of the car.

The world's number one car maker (in terms of sales) has not cracked the sub-10 lakh rupee segment in India, in market share, ingenuity or innovation. To get the order books filling, a compact SUV like the Toyota Rush would work.

The Rush is available in markets like Indonesia, however the car maker is unable to launch it in India as fitting a diesel engine will require massive re-engineering of the car, which in turn will increase costs. Hence, for the interim the Etios Cross will serve as a 'crossover' for the company, and maybe the next generation of the Rush will be developed keeping India and diesel engine compatibility in mind.

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