Republic Day 2023: Five Oldest Car Nameplates Still On Sale In India
The Indian market has seen the ins and outs of many cars over the years. Reasons have varied from the successor carrying forward an all-new name, to models being dropped due to a lack of sales or changing regulations. However, there have been some names that have stood the test of time and still remain on sale till now.
Let’s take a look at the longest continuously serving nameplates.
Mercedes-Benz E-class – Introduced in India 1995
Yes, the oldest nameplate still on sale in India is a Mercedes. The E-class started Mercedes’ journey into the passenger car segment with the W124 which arrived in 1995. It was replaced by the W210 in 1998 and Mercedes has not looked back since. The company now offers a vast portfolio of models spread across hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, and performance cars with the E-class being its perennial best seller.
Honda City – Introduced in 1998
The Honda City has been on sale in India across five generations with the first one arriving in 1998. The original made a name for itself and Honda in the market, particularly with its revv happy VTEC engine. Later generations have also gone on to become strong sellers for Honda.
While the current City is the fifth generation for India globally the same car is the seventh-gen City.
Maruti Wagon R – Introduced in 1999
Maruti’s tall-boy hatchback was first launched in India in 1999 and remains on sale today. The strengths of the Wagon R lay in its design with the hatchback maximising interior space in its limited footprint. The model has gone through multiple iteration since it was first introduced with the latest being the most powerful iteration of the hatchback yet.
Maruti Alto – Introduced in 2000
The Alto was desired to be the replacement for the iconic Maruti 800 though both cars remained on sale together for a few years before the latter was finally pulled from service. The Alto has gone on to dominate the Indian market in the ensuing years becoming one of the most sold cars in the market with over 40 lakhs units sold.
Mahindra Bolero – Introduced in 2000
The rough and tough Bolero arrived in India in 2000 and has continued to remain on sale today. The rugged body-on-frame SUV has over the year received numerous updates from new or updated engines to shrinking in size to under 4 metres but it remains Mahindra’s best-selling SUVs in the country. The Bolero has not only served in the passenger vehicle space but also given rise to multiple pick-ups targeting commercial and lifestyle buyers.
The Santro first made its debut in 1998 and remained on sale till 2014 before it was pulled from the market. It was relaunched in a new generation in 2018 though it could never match the popularity of the original with the models now having quietly been dropped from Hyundai’s line-up.
The Safari too finds its genesis in the late 1990s as Tata’s big and burly ladder-frame SUV. Over the years the Safari saw several iterations from the 3.0-litre diesel-powered Safari Dicor to the Safari Storme that marked the end of the ladder frame SUV by 2020. The SUV however returned in 2021 though this time around it was a front-wheel drive monocoque SUV.
While closed to the public, the Storme did linger on as an SUV exclusively offered to the armed forces.
The Scorpio arrived in 2002 and has over the years made a name for itself in the market. Over the years the SUV received a number of updates from new diesel engines to platform updates and most recently an all-new model – the Scorpio-N.