It came as a bit of a shock when General Motors announced that they were pulling out the Chevrolet brand from domestic sales in the Indian market. After nearly 20 years, the American automaker who was facing poor numbers and a model line-up that seemed to lag behind the competition, decided that it would use India as a base of operations for export to both right and left hand drive markets. Now many have detailed why GM struggled in India and have provided a detailed analysis including a timeline which you can read about here.
However, today we would like to look at something different. We delve in GM’s top six hits. These are basically cars that have defined the brand and today have names that would automatically prompt people to think of the auto giant when you look at any of these vehicles.
Named after a species of antelope, this was GM’s full size sedan offering. Originally billed as a luxury model, it has today evolved into a full size affordable sedan and is literally one of the best examples for a medium-sized car. To give you an idea of its size, at 5.3-metres, the Impala is as big as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, which is one of the largest SUVs on sale in India today. It was a popular import model in India during the 1960s and today can be spotted at the growing number of vintage car shows that take place across the country.
One of the ways to make a car famous is to give it a unique shape and this is what General Motors managed to do with the Hummer. This massive SUV came to prominence during the first Gulf war and then rose to real prominence when GM began to produce the car for private buyers with the Hummer moniker. For a long time it was the car of choice for many celebrities including the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger a.k.a the Terminator. But the Hummer as an image and brand soon became an anachronism and was finally relegated to the history books in 2011.
Pontiac Trans AM
It might not be as famous as the other cars in this list, but will be quite relatable for anyone who grew up in India in the 1990s as this model, in its 1982 guise, was the model on which K.I.T.T (Knight Industries Two Thousand) from the Knight Rider TV series was based on. The pulsating red light on the fascia, black wheels, shiny black body and synthesizer created introductory theme will invoke quite a bit of nostalgia for the pre-millennials. In Non-Knight Rider guise, the Firebird sold from 1967-2002 and was offered with a variety of engines ranging from a 3.8-litre inline 6 to a massive 6.6-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine.
Cadillac’s have always been associated with luxury and the most prominent one is, of course, the Eldorado, which was the most luxurious car that they built. It brought many firsts to American car buyers like air suspension, power windows, power seats and in car radio. It was massive in size and during its heydays, it made the owners feel like royalty on the blacktop. Produced till 2002, it is till date a relatable term when the concept of an American luxury car is brought to the forefront.
Built to respond to the Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro was a mid-size sports car that put performance motoring into the hands of the general public. Like the Mustang, it could be massively upgraded with optional extras and today in its original 60s guise, is a highly sought after classic collector car. In a more modern avatar, the Camaro is the four-wheeled transformation choice of the Transformer Bumblebee from the Transformer series of cartoons and movies. He debuted as a concept car and today in the yellow body with black stripes guise is instantly relatable cause of the autobots.
If there was ever a car to define the American, then it has to be the Chevrolet Corvette. In production since 1953, this brand of sports car is named after the Corvette warship and is the longest running single moniker from the American auto giant. Now in its seventh generation, the Corvette has evolved from a style icon of the 1960s and 1970s to a full blown tyre screaming, flame spitting, V8 rumbling sports car. The car is so famous that it has its own Museum in Bowling Greens, Kentucky where the vehicle is currently put together. It has been showcased at the last three Auto Expos as eye candy for the Chevrolet stall.