A lot of eyebrows will be raised for including Chevrolet’s Tavera in the list of ‘Gone but not Forgotten’ series. However; we exactly list the reasons why it makes an entry in the series –
Tavera was Chevrolet’s best selling model in the Indian sub-continent!
General Motors sold a whopping 2,08,431 units of the Tavera in the Indian market.
Tavera was Chevy’s longest running model too! The model was sold for almost 14 years (2004 to 2017).
Not surprisingly – this best selling Chevy was not a General Motors product; rather it was a re-badged Isuzu Panther! However; it was developed together as the “160 Project”.
The Tavera was actually built in the GM Halol, Gujarat plant with knock-down kit sourced from Isuzu Indonesia!
Tavera was developed to meet local Indian conditions in terms of harsh climate, uneven roads and large family structure.
The model was highlighted as a durable vehicle. It was also the Taxi operators favorite and they use to swear by the Tavera’s reliability and low running costs.
Tavera was a bigger brand than Chevrolet in Rural India. The rural customers may not recognize Chevrolet; but they could easily identify a Tavera!
In many cases; one could even hear the Chevrolet dealership being called as a Tavera dealership instead. Such was the brand equity of Tavera in the rural pockets of India.
The model was Chevrolet’s cash cow in India. The model had the most consistent sales volume in the Indian market with little / minor changes in its lifetime.
Even during the last stage; Tavera was contributing to over 50% of General Motors India’s sales! In 2017; Tavera sold 3,028 units v/s the overall GM sales of 7,434 units.
The name of the vehicle comes from the name of the small French village Tavera, in Corsica, known for its steep paths and rough roads. Tavera’s main competition included vehicles like the Toyota Innova, Mahindra Bolero and Tata Sumo. Tavera was available in India with diesel engine and a manual transmission. The vehicle was available in 7,8 and 9 seater configurations. Under the hood it was available with 2.5 litre diesel engine delivering a power and torque of 72 bhp and 171 Nm respectively. As for the fuel economy, the BS3 compliant diesel engine claimed to deliver 13.58 km/l. Let us look at the Tavera’s Sales Trend through its years of existence in the Indian market –
Chevrolet Tavera registered its all time highest sale in the year 2007 when it sold 21,866 units. Also Tavera’s highest monthly sales was reported on September 2006 (2,222 units).
The model saw an upswing in sales in 2011-12 as well when it consistently reported >20k sales for 2 years repeatedly.
The model was primarily termed as a cheaper option to the Toyota Innova and had a strong fan base in the rural & taxi markets.
Even during the General Motors exit from the Indian market; Tavera was easily liquidated by its dealers and its void still hasn’t been filled by any OEM till date.
Even after the launch of a much cheaper MPV Enjoy; Chevrolet used to sell much higher numbers of Tavera.
Anyhow Tavera’s ride in the country, was not a smooth one. GM had to recall all Taveras built between 2005 and 2013 as they were manipulated to beat the emission norm. General Motors’ emission fudging episode left the company and government authorities red-faced.
The emission norm changes too led to the death of the model. The model could never upgrade to the BS IV norms and it had to slowly phase itself out.
Tavera will always be remembered as a capable, fuss free and a reliable workhorse. The model still has a huge fan following among the rural & taxi buyers and is sorely missed over the years of its phase out. Even GM itself wouldn’t have anticipated that Tavera would become its best selling and most consistent model in the Indian sub-continent. Hence though that the model is Gone; it is definitely not forgotten.