TATA Safari was always known for its superb comfort, untiring mile munching, high road view and a tough body. The updated 400nm Storme ironed out most issues, while people still complained of creature comfort and electronic gadgets in the cabin. Though this did not stop people to keep buying a steady number of vehicles. The safari was selling in sub 1000 numbers whole of last year and till now, when TATA decided to not update the engine for new BS standard and hence kill the model.
TATA Safari was launched at Auto Expo in 1998 and it was powered by a 2.0-litre TC diesel engine that pushed 90 hp while pulling at 186 Nm of torque and was priced around Rs 8.25 lakh.Then it was an under powered elephant but a super comfortable vehicle for those who could not afford an imported pajero or prado! After 5 years TATA updated the engine with a petrol option although at a paltry 6kmpl efficiency, which did not do any good. Things changed with the 3.0 dicor engine that made 300nm torque and 115HP. Then again in 2007 a more modern 2.2 liter engine was launched and then in 2015 the major update to this engine was a varicor 400 motor that pushed 400nm torque with 156 HP and a 6th gear for the first time. This was the best Safari till date. The Safari Storme based on Aria chassis was the major platform upgrade while the body shell got only cosmetic changes, yet technically everything was new. This brings us in 2020 when the model is altogether dead!
Most of us are still scratching our heads why TATA would do that, but that is not strange. Despite good brand image in certain IPs like Sierra, Aria, Indica and Sumo, we have seen them die unexpected deaths. This happens when the so called “creative department” is full of novices. This is the only possible reason TATA would pull the plug on products that have gained foothold with painstaking efforts.
Discontinuing product lines like this does not only drive away and disappoint old customers but new ones as well. How comfortable would you be buying a car that may tomorrow be axed and made an antique?
Fine examples of continuity like Toyota’s corolla, Honda’s Civic, Ford’s Mustang stand as proof of the dividends that a motor company would enjoy when brands become legends! Maybe TATA should learn from it’s mistakes and correct them soon. Because sure enough, killing brands like “Safari” and coming up with new silly names like “gravitas” don’t attract anyone with a sane head!