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Check out also: Delhi – India March 2014 Photo Report: Maruti Wagon R everywhere
If you read the previous Indian Photo Report you will know that in Delhi I was surprised by the little amount of Maruti Alto 800 I saw on the streets, which didn’t match its nationwide sales figures. Well on the 2nd day of my quick stopover in the country I got to travel 200 km Sough East to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located. And as soon as we got off the expressway to get into the town of Agra, here it was: a constant flow of new Alto 800 popping up from every corner.
Given the car landscape was significantly older than in Delhi, I would go as far as saying that the new car market share of the Alto 800 in Agra could be close to 20%. This makes sense, as based on only two cities observes it would seem that the Alto 800 is more popular in smaller cities, and by extension I will say rural areas. On the other hand, there is absolutely no ‘heritage’ of Hindustan Ambassador or Maruti 800, even though these two models have dominated the Indian sales charts for 40 years combined.
This observation can mean two things: either these two cars are very unreliable and die quickly (quite possible), or it just illustrates how strong the Indian new car market has been in the past decade or so, with new models almost completely replacing the best-sellers of yesteryear.
The second model I saw in droves on the way to Agra is the Mahindra Xylo, very commonly used to transport tourists from Delhi to the Taj Mahal. Almost exclusively the low-end version as pictured above.
Of course I can’t go through a description of ‘rural’ India without mentioning the mighty and motley Tata trucks, unchanged for 40 years and ruling the roads like no other. During this trip I also discovered a new brand of trucks: Eicher Motors (more info here), an Indian carmaker that has nothing to be ashamed of in its confrontation with king Tata.
While in 24 hours in Delhi I only spotted two Tata Nanos, outside of the megacity they were (a little) more common, but still very far and few between. Spending some time in India has helped be understand better why this model has flopped so far in the country, and I will explain this phenomenon in my next Indian update.
Another model that seems to be more popular outside Delhi is the Hyundai Eon: I picked quite a few around the Taj Mahal like the one pictured above.
Indian carmaker Force has been extremely successful in devising mid-size tourist busses and you cannot miss dozens of Traveller whizzing their way towards Agra and back.
According to my driver Gagan, the Mahindra Scorpio and Bolero are the brand’s only trustworthy offerings, and it shows in the sales charts. Regularly 5th overall, it can be spotted absolutely everywhere in Agra.
The Photo Report continues below.