From brilliant launches to dramatic Government policies – 2016 has definitely had some memorable occasions that have resulted in this year being one of the most dramatic ones for the auto sector in recent times. This super listicle puts together all the major highlights from the world of motoring. They aren’t in any particular order; however they are the headlines that we believe defined this year in strictly automotive terms. Happy scrolling!
1. Delhi implements the Odd-Even rule
In India, the year 2016 itself began in a haze of confusion – especially for the folks of Delhi. The Delhi Government introduced the Odd-Even rule for cars – allowing only cars bearing odd numbered licence plates to ply on odd days of the month and even numbered ones on even days. The experiment, aimed at bringing down the pollution level in the capital, was carried out over a 15-day period, during which the policy was lauded by the National Green Tribunal and some environmentalists, while most citizens of the city remained skeptical about its effectiveness. The rule was brought back again, with strange exemptions, later in the year. We, at MotorScribes, had our bit of fun at the expense of our friends in Delhi. Take a look:
Hitler finds out about odd even Round 2 in Delhi
2. Maruti continues to dominate the market but with a few surprises
It’s no surprise that Maruti continued to sell in large volumes in the Indian market. But 2016 has been a big year for them for different reasons. The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza broke cover early this year and took the market by storm – within just a few weeks from its launch. Meanwhile, last year’s new offering, the Baleno (launched under the NEXA banner) clocked some massive numbers, beating every other car in the premium hatch segment.
Also read: The Maruti Suzuki Vitarra Brezza first drive review
3. Tata Motors outsells Honda
Tata Motors has witnessed a lot of action this year – both at the product level as well as at the corporate level. The Tiago ushered in a whole new outlook and the resulting sales have led to Tata Motors climbing up the ranks and beating Honda to the number 4 slot in passenger car sales. With the Hexa launch scheduled for January 2017, things sure are looking up for the company.
Also read: Tata Hexa first drive review
4. Demonetisation upsets the luxury segment sales
On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went live on national television and announced that the Rs 500 and 1000 notes were being pulled out off the market in order to fight against corruption and black money hoarders. The impact of that decision has sent the nation into a tizzy for the past month and half and while people struggle with long lines outside banks, car companies have also faced the brunt of sales numbers dipping – especially the high-end cars.
5. Transport ministry proposes excise duty cuts on new cars for scrapping old vehicles
In August 2016, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, met with the Finance Ministry to discuss incentives that could be offered under the Voluntary Vehicular Fleet Modernisation Policy (VVMP). The resultant excise duty cuts for submitting an old car to a legitimate scrapping centre could qualify a prospective buyer for a 15 per cent price cut on a new car. Read more here.
6. Supreme Court bans diesel cars over 2-litres temporarily in Delhi
In yet another attempt to curb the rise in pollution in the National Capital Region, the Supreme Court imposed a ban on the registration of diesel vehicles with an engine capacity of 2,000cc or more. While some manufacturers openly opposed the ban, some sneakily launched 1,999cc or petrol versions of their popular selling SUVs. The ban was finally revoked in August.
Also read: Manufacturers react to the removal of the diesal ban in India
7. Mercedes-Benz India over-delivers on its promises
This year, the German car maker had promised to launch 12 new models in India but went on to introduce a 13th one as well! No other premium car brand currently in the country has been as aggressive as Mercedes-Benz in recent times and their sales figures are a sign that this aggressive launch strategy is indeed paying off.
8. India gets its first true blue pick-up truck
Thanks to Isuzu setting up a plant in India and looking at making a mark in our ever growing automobile market, India finally got its first lifestyle pickup truck. Yes, the Mahindra Getaway and Tata Xenon might have been defined as such in the past, but it is the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross that has truly ushered in a global –level class product that enthusiasts are rushing to get their hands on!
Also read: An Isuzu D-Max V-Cross that’s even more badass!
9. Royal Enfield launches a bike that is NOT a Bullet
Royal Enfield and Bullet have been synonymous with each other for decades now. So when the company decides to break away from the mould and go for something a little more adventurous (literally), it has the entire biking community’s attention. The Himalayan was launched as the affordable tourer and as the name suggests, it is destined to be the bike of choice for those who love to ride up to the hills or embark on their own expeditions.
Also read: Royal Enfield Himalayan first ride review
10. Jeep finally makes it to India
Will they, won’t they? That was the big question about Jeep coming to India for the past few years. They finally managed to enter the market in 2016. But their pricing strategy has been a big negative for them in getting the sales ticker to move. The good news, however, is that they have a more affordable product on the anvil and we should see that soon!
11. India gets its first homegrown production electric motorcycle
Pune-based company Tork Motorcycles was started by three final year engineering students back in 2009. And since then, they’ve gone on to develop motorcycles that have proved their mettle at the Isle of Man TTXGP. But this year is even more eventful for them as they finally rolled out a production version of the T6X e-bike.
Also read: Tork T6X e-bike review
12. The Honda Navi becomes the bestselling scooter, after the Activa
When we first saw the Navi at the Auto Expo in Delhi at the beginning of 2016, we couldn’t believe that it was a production-ready model! Nothing like it exists in the Indian market and the novelty factor of owning it is extremely high. Priced rather aggressively, the Navi has been a big success story this year and we had our fun taking it places where boldly no two-wheeler has ever been before – our apartment!
Also read: Honda Navi review – more fun than we imagined! (with video)
13. Bajaj kills it with the Dominar pricing
The Bajaj CS400 concept showcased a few years ago was enough to get every bike enthusiast waiting with baited breath for the production version, which finally made it to the market this year as the Dominar 400. Priced extremely competitively, the Dominar is undoubtedly given other bike manufacturers sleepless nights! This bike is a superhit from the word go.
Also see: Bajaj Dominar 400 launched
14. A right-hand drive Ford Mustang for India
The Ford Mustang is now available in India. For the first time in history, Ford has built a right-hand-drive Mustang and they wasted little time in bringing it to the country. Despite being an import, Ford India managed to price it well at Rs 65 lakh and that has led to numerous takers for this legendary pony car. We got our hands on it at the Buddh International Circuit at the time of launch and the drive was an absolute blast!
Also read: Ford Mustang launched in India
15. Hero MotoCorp sets up its technology and R&D centre in India
Hero MotoCorp has been making all the right moves this year. After the split with Honda a few years ago, questions about how Hero would cope with R&D and developing their own bikes has finally been laid to rest when the gates to their massive CIT facility on the outskirts of Jaipur opened. We were there to witness that, and the campus is truly world class. Keep your money ready for Hero MotoCorp has some exciting products lined up for the market in the future.
Also read: The Hero CIT is an engineering haven
16. Aditya Patel becomes the fastest driver in India
Aditya Patel took an Audi R8 V10 and clocked 330km/h on a closed road near Hyderabad. The event – run in conjunction with Autocar, was officially documented and the record is listed in the Limca Book of Records making Aditya Patel the fastest guy in a car in India! The fact that he is a dear friend makes this achievement even more endearing to us! Well done dude and we hope to see you rock the racing scene in 2017!
17. Indian truck racers get to be badass at the T1 Prima
Tata Motors brought truck racing to India in the format of the T1 Prima Racing series and till date we have only seen international drivers. But this year, the series got to witness a bunch of Indian drivers take to the track behind the wheel of these race-prepped trucks and the fact that they are every-day truckers made the occasion all the more special. It’s good to see such events where the focus isn’t just on sales or a PR stunt, but about empowering people as well.
Also read: How the Tata T1 Prima TRC is an all-round epic win
18. More rides and drives to choose from
We did it with the Thunder Run, an epic drive from Kanyakumari to Goa, and there are others out there who have jumped on to the experiential drive bandwagon as well. Embarq, Motoziel and Eagle Rider all opened shop this year and they are determined to take the quest for adventure to a whole new level with their bespoke experience rides.
19. MotorScribes grows at a staggering pace
We are a start-up and have been running on pure organic reach. We were told that this can’t be done in a market where other deep-pocketed players exist. But we have pushed ahead and managed to grow at a staggering pace and in doing so we have delivered a media impact of over 2 million eyeballs. This includes our reach across our website, official Facebook page and official Twitter handle!
For 2017, we have some major developments in the pipeline – stuff so exciting, we’re almost giddy. We’ve been fueling up on caffeine, sugar and actual fuel to get set for all thrills of the wheeled variety from here on. Watch out for some slick new videos from us (increased production budgets – yay!) as we cover and create stories of strange vehicles doing stranger things!