the Indian wave that can bury the popular car once and for all in Brazil

the Indian wave that can bury the popular car once and for all in Brazil
the Indian wave that can bury the popular car once and for all in Brazil
The term popular car emerged in the early 1990s, when the government began to charge less IPI (Tax on Industrialized Products) for vehicles that did not exceed 1,000 cm³ of capacity. The only exception were air-cooled cars, which could have larger engines. Because of this, the revived 1993 VW Beetle was part of this milder tariff regime.

The attempt to soften the taxation for cheaper models, in order to facilitate the entry of the less affluent sections of the population to the dream of the 0 km car, however, is not exclusive to Brazil. In India, for example, the government there charges lower taxes for cars less than 4 meters in length.

Until a few years ago, Indians were happy with small city cars with simplified taxes. However, as has happened all over the world, the market has been demanding more SUVs. The solution found by the automakers there was to take the existing platforms of small cars, raise them and make them wider, thus creating a whole new segment of subcompact SUVs.

Not immune to global movements in the automotive sector, the Brazilian industry is not investing as much in the entry segments, where profit margins are lower. So much so that there are no more 0 km cars on the market for less than R $ 40 thousand. As the demand is for SUVs in our country, they are the ones that have been occupying the news of launches.

And it is in this trend to focus on SUVs that the Indian solution for “mini-SUVs” could be one of the paths for national automakers in the coming years. With cheap platforms already coming from basic models, this type of vehicle has a higher final price for the adventurous proposal and can increase the profits of the factories per car sold and, with this, put one more nail in the coffin of popular cars here, because they would be cheaper to build and could be sold at higher prices.

More than speculation, this movement can already be seen in Brazil and we have separated some models of this style that have some chance of getting here.

Fiat 363 project

Fiat will launch a new SUV. The model name has not yet been defined, but it is treated as “Progetto Fiat 363”. The novelty will use a variation of the platform of the current Argo, the brand’s compact hatch, but with an exclusive look and elevated body. Brazil will see the news in May, but the car should be launched only in the second half.

While an Argo has prices varying between R $ 50 thousand and R $ 80 thousand, the 363 should start from R $ 85 thousand, despite having the same chassis and the same engine and exchange options. Speaking of mechanical assembly, the 363 should count on the same 1.3 engine aspirated from the hatch, in addition to the new 1.0 and 1.3 turbocharged engines that Stellantis is developing for Fiat and Jeep in Brazil. The model is also expected to debut a new CVT automatic transmission from the company.

Fiat 363 project
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Nissan Magnite e Renault Kiger

Directly from India, Nissan recently introduced the Magnite. Despite looking like a new car, the model was based on the architecture of none other than the Renault Kwid in a longer and higher variant. The two companies have worked in alliance for decades and the project also gave rise to the Renault Kiger in the Indian market.

Nissan Magnite
Nissan Magnite
Photo: Disclosure

The Nissan Magnite has not yet been confirmed by the automaker in Brazil, but it would serve as an alternative for the company’s factory in Resende (RJ), which has been idle since the production of the March hatch last year. As for the Renault Kiger, the chances of getting to be marketed here are less and will depend on the success or otherwise of the Nissan model in our market to materialize.

Renault Kiger
Renault Kiger
Photo: Disclosure

In India, the Nissan Magnite has as one of its main assets its price, starting from 550,000 rupees, or about R $ 42,900 in the direct currency conversion. There, it offers options for 1.0 three-cylinder engines with or without turbo assistance. For transmission, you can choose between manual, automated or automatic CVT

Hyundai Venue and Kia Sonet

Despite being South Koreans, Hyundai and Kia have been experiencing a period of success in India precisely because of their small SUVs. The most recent are the Venue of the first and the Sonet of the second. It is worth remembering that the two brands belong to the same group. The pair are less than 4 meters long, are based on the same architecture and are distinguished by the look and standard equipment offered.

Hyundai Venue
Hyundai Venue
Photo: Disclosure

There, Venue and Sonet offer 1.2 aspirated or 1.0 turbo engines, both gasoline, in addition to a 1.5 turbodiesel. The transmission can be manual with five or six speeds depending on the version. Automated and automatic changes are also available for both Hyundai and Kia, which have prices starting at around R $ 40,000 in India.

Kia Sonet
Kia Sonet
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The arrival of these models in Brazil, however, is uncertain. The Hyundai plant in Brazil in Piracicaba (SP) already operates at the limit of capacity with the HB20 and Creta lines. Expanding the assembly line would be costly. For Kia, the situation is even more complicated, as the company acts only as an importer through the Gandini Group. Importing the Kia Sonet here would imply a high tax burden that would make the commercialization of the model unfeasible here. Even so, the Hyundai Venue has already been spotted in tests in both Brazil and Argentina.

Chevrolet Groove

In addition to the Indian market, another country that is starting to take a liking to small SUVs is China. Through a partnership with SAIC and Wuling, General Motors presented the Chevrolet Groove there, based on a project by the Chinese brands. It is already sold in the Middle East, Ecuador, Peru and Chile and could be a more affordable alternative to the Tracker, the cheapest SUV of the brand currently offered in Brazil. However, the company has not yet commented on its commercialization here.

Chevrolet Groove
Chevrolet Groove
Photo: Disclosure

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