Station wagon in India- history and why they died

Station wagon

Ford Model T  station wagon
The first station wagons were built in around 1910 by adding wooden customs bodies for the Ford Model T chassis. They are called station wagons because they work around train stations as carriages. Eventually car manufacturers started producing their own station wagons. In India many Automakers did the same but it did not do well making the automakers stop the production and concentrate on sedans that were more popular.

Hindustan Motors Ambassador Estate

Hindustan Ambassador estate
The Ambassador is one of the iconic cars in India that was loved by government officials and people. There was a station wagon version of the ambassador known as Ambassador Estate launched in the 1970s. The estate has an extra compartment at the rear attached to the ambassador and was not known well making it the not so iconic.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Altura

Maruti Suzuki Baleno altura
Maruti Suzuki being the biggest automobile manufacturer in India. They also made a station wagon that was one of the worst selling Maruti called the Baleno Altura. It came with a 1.6-liter petrol engine which was very fuel efficient and powerful. It had all the features needed for a modern day car but all the features were not enough for the customers.

Fiat Padmini Premier Safari

Fiat Padmini Premier Safari
Fiat Padmini was one of the post popular cars in the 70s. The Padmini had a station wagon version known as the Padmini Premier Safari launched in India in 1973 and was the first station wagon in India. The Padmini Safari was discontinued very soon when there was no response from the buyers.

Tata Estate

Tata Estate station wagon
Tata motors is known for many vehicles such as Tata sumo, safari etc.. but Tata Estate is not one of them. The Tata Estate was powered by a non-turbocharged 1.9-liter diesel engine that made 67bhp. It had power steering, power windows and company fitted cassette player but all these were not enough for making the customers buy one.

Tata Indigo Marina

Tata Indigo Marino
Tata motors once again tried a station wagon by extending its most popular hatchback the Indigo and called it Indigo Marina. Indigo Marina was not that bad at sales compared to the Estate. It is powered by a 1.4-liter petrol engine or a diesel engine used in the Indigo hatchback.

Skoda Octavia Combi

Skoda Octavia combi
This car was the best station wagon in India, it did not look like the back part was extended and was designed well. It was powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged petrol engine that made 149bhp which was a great number at the time. But this was also not a hit in India.

Fiat Palio Weekend

Fiat Palio Weekend
After the Padmini Fiat tried another station wagon known as Palio Weekend and was based on the Palio hatchback. It had a 1.6-liter petrol engine that made 104bhp. Even with all this the weekend was a flop in the Indian Market.

Fiat Palio Adventure

Fiat Palio Adventure
Palio Adventure was based on the same platform as the weekend. It can be considered as a slightly sportier version of the weekend with wider tyres and sporty alloy wheels. It had the same engine as that of the weekend and the same demand too.

Opel Corsa Swing

Opel Corsa Swing
Opel also launched a station wagon in the year 2003 known as the Corsa Swing. The swing was quick, powerful with a 1.6-liter petrol engine which put out 92bhp and could reach 170kmph. But the fuel efficiency that Indians were looking for was missing out in the Opel.
sedan, station wagon and hatchback body
There were a lot of reasons for the failure of the station wagons in India. During the launch of the station wagon sedans were famous in India. The station’s wagons were priced slightly higher than the sedans and used smaller, underpowered engines.
Plymouth station wagon
The dealers insisted that the buyers prefer more sedan followed by SUVs. SUVs have better design than the wagon and have more power. Another reason for the failure of station wagons in India is that all the wagons launched in India had less space in the third row.


Image Credits:
Lozowski, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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