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Old 23rd June 2012, 04:03   #16
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I think off roading, which was earlier a necessity for some is now becoming increasingly popular as a recreation/sport/hobby. So on the whole it is definitely on the rise.

Here's a funny fact. 2 years ago Tata offered 4wd option on two trim levels of the Safari, while Mahindra just had a Vlx scorpio. It is the reverse now.

Here is another interesting fact. I have met 3 owners of 4wd Scorpios (non bhpians) who have had their cars for a while but have never been off road and have bought it only because they wanted to buy the best option available. One of them was an automatic (stated just for statistics).

To answer your questions

Is there a decline in number of vehicles
No

Are sales so bad that companies prefer seling only 4X2
Almost all models are offering a 4X2 along with 4X4 (Aria, XUV, TFORT etc)

Premier Rio could have offered 4X4 and swept the market, but did not do so.What do you think is the constraint that 4X4s are not being launched in india.
No volumes of 4x4's sales are increasing but are not in sync with the overall sales so the percentage remains low so as far as the numbers game is concerned it doesn't matter to the manufacturers. Why should they make cars for a bunch of 'weirdos' like us (pun intended), who are going to make life difficult for their service centres and increase the cost of inventories across the country plus the training needs as well.

Is enthusiast category is coming down in india.
It's on the rise but not as much as the mainstream. This does have a few perks, there is no thrill like an offbeat drive/destination. I prefer things remain virgin. Our fellow country mens' ecosensitivity is pathetic, when the crowd arrives, it departs with a lot of garbage left behind. (sorry slightly OT)

Last edited by GTO : 27th June 2012 at 14:02. Reason: Please don't use special characters (e.g. [*]) to denote a list. If you want to use bullet points, do so properly
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Old 25th June 2012, 19:13   #17
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

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I think off roading, which was earlier a necessity for some is now becoming increasingly popular as a recreation/sport/hobby. So on the whole it is definitely on the rise.
I Pray companies at least offer an option to custom build one on order. Today, there are no 4X4 Sumos or 4X4 boleros available at all, even on order. Duster is planning 4X4 only in 2013-2014 timeframe.

At least they can offer an option and whatever cost is incurred, can be passed on to the customer like always.
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Old 30th June 2012, 16:06   #18
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

Dear all - this is a very interesting thread, thanks for starting it. I wanted to put some quotes above but I cannot decide which ones to put, all your comments are very relevant and good.

I have found that there is no relation between the actual demand for 4WD vehicles and what figures float around in discussions! There is a very robust demand in this segment in India. Clear cut segment-wise product definitions will achieve the desired result. Our guys have still not reached that stage of robustness because they have only one product to give to all. .

Upto now, this was OK, now customers are going to demand sub-segmented products. The whole methodology / way in which this great 4WD business is conducted needs to be turned on its head. If I was CEO, I would not mind going in for an aggregate / manufacturing facility sharing business model. Tire manufacturers in India have been doing it for years. .

For Thar, I pretty safely smile at the numbers that they do every month, poor fellows! The constraint is not demand, it is manufacturing capacity due to "various reasons", which immediately makes me go from smile to LOL. .

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Old 30th June 2012, 22:50   #19
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Behram Sir,
Have never really interacted with you but have read a lot of your posts and really respect you for your insight and knowledge.
That said I think the only way the aggregate manufacturing model can work is if the auto companies in question develop the model jointly and the best example I can think of would be the Cayenne and Touareg.
I can't see the model working successfully if let's say Tata and Mahindra were to join hands. Atleast not with their current portfolio although the Scorpio and Safari share a common 4wd system and both run on similar 2.2L engines, I think the similarities end there.
Ok I just pondered a little more and realised that they might be able to pull it off (logistically) since they are based in Pune and Nasik, but the Indian corporate structure might spell doom and I can foresee a lot of technical and management issues, which brings us to a disaster situation.
Hmm this is a very interesting aspect you have introduced, it's doable but (unfortunately for us) highly unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Sorry people I just rambled on.
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Old 1st July 2012, 04:31   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Off Roadie
Behram Sir,
k the only way the aggregate manufacturing model can work is if the auto companies in question develop the model jointly and the best example I can think of would be the Cayenne and Touareg.
cal and management issues, which brings us to a disaster situation.
Hmm this is a very interesting aspect you have introduced, it's doable but (unfortunately for us) highly unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Sorry people I just rambled on.
The VAG group have taken this technology leveraging to a different level indeed.
They are leveraging their engines, platforms and 4WD systems in different avatars across different vehicle types and across different markets.
Yet the clear impression created by branding, marketing, visual identity et al to the consumer is that he/ she is getting something completely different while buying an Audi or a VW or a Skoda. Think on it, the Q3" the Tiguan and the Yeti are all sisters under the skin in that sense!
Their marketing + product diligence can only be marvelled at and learned from.
It is no wonder that they are actually slowly but surely sweeping the marketplace in most of the countries where they are present.
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Old 1st July 2012, 07:30   #21
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

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I wish the manufacturer would offer an "on-demand" production. 4X4 is generally for the enthusiast and I for one will wait even for 3+ months if a 4X4 is being custom built for me.

if a 4X4 Xylo with a 6 month waiting period was offered, i would grab it right away.

Mahindra custom built "one" 4X4 scorpio in 2005 for a lady. She was surprized with this gesture from Mahindra. I am not sure if they would build a custom 4X4 bolero now . I got this info the scorpio coffee table book.
You may want to check this thread where the member bought a Scorpio 4x4 Automatic (Mahindra Scorpio Automatic (AT) 4x4 with Airbags)
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Old 1st July 2012, 10:56   #22
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

I don't think its fair to compare the VAG group example with Tata and MM. Our Indian companies are direct competitors with no foreseeable reason to be bought or buy each other. Secondly, a similar example was given by some management guru few years back when he said a mature market would typically have 3 to 4 players but he can never imagine a Tata, Birla, Ambani or Mittal selling out to each other purely from an ego perspective as Indians just don't do business this way.
Anyways, coming back to the topic, I see an increase in demand for 4wd vehicles in the long term but with increasing lifestyle and less utility based customers.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 11:43   #23
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I see an increase in demand for 4wd vehicles in the long term but with increasing lifestyle and less utility based customers.
Dear AVR - thanks for hitting the nail on the head. I differ slightly. Due to the lack of infrastructure in our country's hinterland (all of us put together are not even 0.001% of the populace!), utility based customers will continue to grow, lifestyle based customers will get born in a big way and assert themselves, so the pond will expand, there will be room for players to come in.

Now, in the traditional "Indian business Sense" , who comes in when is purely a matter of conjecture! The early bird will get the worm. I got Thar to the pole position, now it is getting the easy pickings.

The real war is yet to start! It is not the "PRODUCT" that will win this one, it is "PRODUCT RELEVANCY". Let's see - "kisme kitna hai dum". .

Best regards,

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Old 2nd July 2012, 11:59   #24
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Dear AVR - thanks for hitting the nail on the head. I differ slightly. Due to the lack of infrastructure in our country's hinterland (all of us put together are not even 0.001% of the populace!), utility based customers will continue to grow, lifestyle based customers will get born in a big way and assert themselves, so the pond will expand, there will be room for players to come in.

Now, in the traditional "Indian business Sense" , who comes in when is purely a matter of conjecture! The early bird will get the worm. I got Thar to the pole position, now it is getting the easy pickings.

The real war is yet to start! It is not the "PRODUCT" that will win this one, it is "PRODUCT RELEVANCY". Let's see - "kisme kitna hai dum". .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Mr. Behram, Agree. The ratio might be very skewed today and will remain so but the lifestyle tribe will significantly increase.

For the rest of your post, all I can say that many of us look forward to what you come up with at Tata . Not sure if you had a role to play in putting together the lovely Storme Expedition (largely cosmetic) but if there's a SWB/MWB 4x4 being put together at Tata I'll happily/eagerly look forward to it. Sau baat ki ek baat: Bring back the Sierra please and make it 4wd!

If that's happening I'll hold on to my Storme purchase early next year then!
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Old 2nd July 2012, 12:56   #25
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

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Mr. Behram, Agree. The ratio might be very skewed today and will remain so but the lifestyle tribe will significantly increase.

For the rest of your post, all I can say that many of us look forward to what you come up with at Tata . Not sure if you had a role to play in putting together the lovely Storme Expedition (largely cosmetic) but if there's a SWB/MWB 4x4 being put together at Tata I'll happily/eagerly look forward to it. Sau baat ki ek baat: Bring back the Sierra please and make it 4wd!

If that's happening I'll hold on to my Storme purchase early next year then!
Dear AVR - thanks for your gracious comments. I am just a normal guy doing a normal job. I just happen to have that "feel", that "something", which makes me somehow understand exactly what product specifications the customer wants in his latent desire! I also think a little differently, like how a businessman would think. My speed of product ideas as thought-after-thought is also very high. I guess, that's about all. Its enough! .

This is what made me tell my Thar team - "Vehicle should look like Jeep. Inside, you can do whatever you want".

That said, using the above tools, in my honest opinion, Sierra has past its time. Thar stood for Jeep. Sierra stands for what? I don't know! Even if Sierra happened, it would remain niche. I want a blitzing main stream now, never imagined before! Thar moved from niche to main stream, whatever anybody may say. Will you accept body gaps of the Sierra today? Of course not, you will make my life miserable, as you did in Thar! The market does not forgive, it just moves on. You are there or you fall by the wayside. In Thar, the Jeep appeal shadowed the body shortcomings, it was a strategy which we made customers to accept.

That's why it is not PRODUCT but PRODUCT RELEVANCY, which matters!

Best regards,

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Old 2nd July 2012, 13:28   #26
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

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That said, using the above tools, in my honest opinion, Sierra has past its time. Thar stood for Jeep. Sierra stands for what? I don't know! Even if Sierra happened, it would remain niche. I want a blitzing main stream now, never imagined before! Thar moved from niche to main stream, whatever anybody may say. Will you accept body gaps of the Sierra today? Of course not, you will make my life miserable, as you did in Thar! The market does not forgive, it just moves on. You are there or you fall by the wayside. In Thar, the Jeep appeal shadowed the body shortcomings, it was a strategy which we made customers to accept.
That's why it is not PRODUCT but PRODUCT RELEVANCY, which matters!
True. Maybe the Sierra fan club won't be as big as the Jeep fan club. Nevertheless, TML needs to offer an alternative to the Thar and widen its lifestyle portfolio beyond the Xenon and Safari which is shorter, packs a punch and goes most places! Given TML's knack of producing good-looking cars like the Safari, Xenon; am not so worried about the looks as they have always done well in that department.

Product Relevancy as you mention is probably more significant in a TINA market like where the Thar is today. Maybe once there is competition from TML or others, the product itself would gain more significance.

Last edited by AVR : 2nd July 2012 at 13:29. Reason: TINA: There Is No Alternative
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Old 2nd July 2012, 13:54   #27
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TML needs to offer an alternative to the Thar and widen its lifestyle portfolio. Product Relevancy as you mention is probably more significant in a TINA market like where the Thar is today. Maybe once there is competition from TML or others, the product itself would gain more significance.
Dear AVL - very correctly said, thanks. Managements go into denial mode, thinking that TINA market will continue forever. Wrong! This is a huge pitfall which must be seen first so that it can be avoided. There must be pre-set strategies in place (like flanking / customer-centricity etc) and what to use when, to continue to do profitable and growing business. Playing the same strategy for long does not convince today's customers and is not good for business.

I hope I get a chance to make such things happen, let's see. For a hard core product engineer, that's where the game starts to become interesting! Doing Thar project was just the first step. It will all boil down to - "kisme kitna hai dum". Not in individuals, but in enterprises! .

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Old 2nd July 2012, 15:18   #28
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Dear AVL - very correctly said, thanks. Managements go into denial mode, thinking that TINA market will continue forever. Wrong! This is a huge pitfall which must be seen first so that it can be avoided.
Yes, a SWB/MWB Xenon would be a good wake-up call for the Thar. It would be better specced (LSD/ABS already exists) plus a relatively more up-market cabin. And maybe pricing could be brought down a bit.

Alas, I work as a Product Manager in Analytics and not in TML where I'd love to devote all my energy to something I love most!

Cheers!
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Old 2nd July 2012, 15:57   #29
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Yes, a SWB/MWB Xenon would be a good wake-up call for the Thar. It would be better specced (LSD/ABS already exists) plus a relatively more up-market cabin. And maybe pricing could be brought down a bit. Alas, I work as a Product Manager in Analytics and not in TML where I'd love to devote all my energy to something I love most! Cheers!
Dear AVR - yes, I can understand your passion as you have understood mine. We analyze automobiles quite well and correctly. .

Obviously, the Xenon is a good platform, I know it. If I take this route, (unlike in Thar), I don't have the full body. There, I had the body and shape defined, so I had the original dimension, a firm "95.5 inches", not to be changed, as it was the original MM540 wheelbase. This was my start point, around which I rallied my complete chassis and running gear. Floor panel, dash panel derivatives, everything then fell into place like a meccano, no sweat there. It resulted in commonization of 69% parts in the BOM. I think Thar created a product record, when my second engineering prototype (well before validation prototype stage) was rolled off the Bolero assembly line in Nasik.

Here, it is not so. Here, I may have to touch the main body panels, which changes the business parameters of the project drastically. Let's see! What's your take on the time line and target cost?

Best regards,

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Old 2nd July 2012, 16:41   #30
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Dear AVR - yes, I can understand your passion as you have understood mine. We analyze automobiles quite well and correctly. .

Obviously, the Xenon is a good platform, I know it. If I take this route, (unlike in Thar), I don't have the full body. There, I had the body and shape defined, so I had the original dimension, a firm "95.5 inches", not to be changed, as it was the original MM540 wheelbase. This was my start point, around which I rallied my complete chassis and running gear. Floor panel, dash panel derivatives, everything then fell into place like a meccano, no sweat there. It resulted in commonization of 69% parts in the BOM. I think Thar created a product record, when my second engineering prototype (well before validation prototype stage) was rolled off the Bolero assembly line in Nasik.

Here, it is not so. Here, I may have to touch the main body panels, which changes the business parameters of the project drastically. Let's see! What's your take on the time line and target cost?

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Yes, I agree the MM vehicle lineup made pick-n-choose easier in case of the Thar but a lot of the key components could remain same for a SWB/MWB Xenon:
1) Gearbox - Assuming the TCIC Sierra and the 2.2 Xenon use structurally the same G76 Gearbox?
2) Interiors - Similar to Xenon
3) Body - Not so much about redesign as it is about shortening. Correct?
4) Chassis - Sierra was 2400 mm/ Sumo is the same length. Good enough starting point?
5) Engine - 2.2 Dicor
6) Suspension - Already exists with the Safari so TML's been there done that.

Of course, its easier for me to talk in theory than for you to implement in practice but what I mean is that there's a lot to work with i.e. TML has an equally varied 'parts-bin' to get going.

More importantly,
Let's talk about the factors helping the TAM growth:
1) Increasing interest in outdoors plus traveling plus doing things like Leh trips, etc
2) Increasing and shifting interest in SUVs beyond just utility and now also towards the perception
3) Encouraging social ecosystem for such products - Full Throttle, Trails are already happening.

If threshold-to-entry is reasonably low, then there's more leeway with price-elasticity of custom equipments as those are explicitly desired purchases.

There's a lot others have also mentioned on the forum earlier. Look forward to seeing you at mCube and discussing in person!

Cheers!
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