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Old 2nd July 2012, 17:08   #31
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

I do not think that any of the Tata platforms make for a 4x4 vehicle dedicated for 4x4 use.
the main reason is that the components are built to a cost, and if stressed, they will break down.

When used mostly in highways, cities etc., anything will do, but an offroad or trail driving vehicle will see stress.
So you will have stuff like dust entering the vehicle(not acceptable to 10L price band owner), suspension giving troubles after 20000kms, transfer case, differential etc., giving away after 60-70000kms, AC condesor fan etc., going kaput due to exposure to excessive dust, or some minor water fording, front IFS and steering system giving up due to vibrations encountered during sustained trail driving.

So as a base vehicle, any of the Tata products is not a good vehicle for a 4x4 specific use. The Tata motors full throttle has actually exposed the underlying lack of engineering of their vehicles.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 17:18   #32
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

With roads getting better, and the Government (in response to Army), laying all weather roads in the hills, 4x4 especially with a low ration will be relegated to a niche market comprising of

. Bare bones utility on one hand
. High end Life Style vehicle at the other end

Take the case of Delhi - Leh route, even an Alto can do it, as long as the road is maintained. It is for those esoteric out of the way places that a 4x4 is preferred (and at times required). Once the tunnels on the Manali - Leh route are constructed, there will be even less requirements for a 4x4, considering that Innova taxis are doing this route regularly.

That is apart from the Military market, but then those vehicles have to be available to civilians (highly unlikely)
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Old 2nd July 2012, 17:46   #33
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

India is by far THE land for Blue Ocean Strategy players today. Any product with respectable quality, new, old, refurbished or repeated will sell in India if the "Pricing" is right and is based on people's buying potential within the target segment. It is the onus of the seller to make people want to have it...and thats an art that is dynamic in nature and can never be mastered by anyone (including the Coca Colas and Wallmarts of the world)

I am a business man, and in no way I am a billionaire before I put my foot down on the above but this is the truth that I confront with each day. I may have made more money providing services that are average while losing a bomb on high quality ones purely coz I failed to understand my target segment and their expenditure quotient.

Having said the above, Thar was meant to be a pure lifestyle vehicle as desired and designed however it has changed many a peoples reasoning which has resulted into Thar being a commuters delight these days

Anyway, whatever TML will come up with next needs thorough understanding of the segment that they are targeting or trying to create in response to the new automobile in market. Being in business strategy for the last 4 years, 1 point Id like to advice TML (BD sir in this context)- Do not try to kill the Thar, rather create something that people would find more reasonable+approachable than the ownership experience of Thar.

p.s: I love Thar though I dont own one, it will take a lot for TML to shake me but Im open

Last edited by The Wolf : 2nd July 2012 at 18:05.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 21:44   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM
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. ..........

.....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
Hello Sir,
How about using existing Sumo chassis as starting point & fitting something that resembles to Xenon design clues.
Sumo, bcoz I think it has just right wheelbase to make a MWB offroader. Something with comfort of 4 doors & if provided with coil over solid axels it can be targeted as competition to upcoming (rumored) Jimny & likes. Somethiing in the lines of home made Defender under 8-10 lacs price bracket.

Just a thought. How about another wishlist?
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Old 3rd July 2012, 11:29   #35
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wolf View Post
India is by far THE land for Blue Ocean Strategy players today. It is the onus of the seller to make people want to have it, and thats an art that is dynamic in nature and can never be mastered by anyone.

Thar was meant to be a pure lifestyle vehicle as desired and designed however it has changed many a peoples reasoning which has resulted into Thar being a commuters delight these days

Anyway, whatever TML will come up with next needs thorough understanding of the segment that they are targeting. Being in business strategy for the last 4 years, 1 point Id like to advice TML (BD sir in this context) - Do not try to kill the Thar, rather create something that people would find more reasonable+approachable than the ownership experience of Thar.
Dear Wolf - hello after a very long time. It is indeed my delight to reply to you as you have raised very correct issues. Please PM me your contact number, I have changed my phone, most of the information is gone.

Reply to first paragraph - the seller must create conditions so that the customer writes the cheque. I believe in case of Thar, all the interactions that happened before the 21 December 2010 launch enabled me to realize this process, the result is there for all to see!

Reply to second paragraph - I agree. Thar was the vehicle that you passed on the road and could not help looking back at, admiring and quietly smiling. It stirred some emotions in people that many other cars just could not. I was lucky I guess. All my thoughts fell into place, the black theme, the black wheels and the black canopy leading the way here (I gave wheel caps and side foot steps out of compulsion, they are totally out of sync). I knew every single part, how I was going to do it. Also remember, the Thar CRDe 2WD is not yet available. They can bring it in whenever they want, everything was ready! Vinod - all yours, I still say, go for it, you'll sell more CRDe than DI! .

Reply to third paragraph - you said it, I know! The pond is large enough, there is no need to go for the kill!

Dear Offroad Maniac - hello! Usefulness of wish list is long over, no need now! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 3rd July 2012, 17:01   #36
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

We may see not one but multiple vehicles launched to eclipse the market and challenge Thar e.g.

1.) a Jimny-like little entry
2.) a Xenon based entry, maybe Axe-like in appearance
3.) an updated 4x4 Sumo roughly based on the vehicle Tata provides to the Indian Army which is used as an ambulance. This is just about a Ghurka, actually. Same general size and ruggedness. Great glass area and driver seat position.

Just speculating here. No inside knowledge claim be this. None of these would be 'pure' off-roaders but neither is the Thar.
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Old 3rd July 2012, 19:36   #37
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
We may see not one but multiple vehicles launched to eclipse the market and challenge Thar e.g.

1.) a Jimny-like little entry
2.) a Xenon based entry, maybe Axe-like in appearance
3.) an updated 4x4 Sumo roughly based on the vehicle Tata provides to the Indian Army which is used as an ambulance. This is just about a Ghurka, actually. Same general size and ruggedness. Great glass area and driver seat position.

Just speculating here. No inside knowledge claim be this. None of these would be 'pure' off-roaders but neither is the Thar.
Taking DirtyDan's thoughts and adding a bit more of meat to it:

The market benchmark, for the moment, is the Thar. This may change once the Renault Duster is out in a couple of days (to be accurate, when the Duster's AWD/4WD version eventually is out).

The Thar can be summarized as:

1. Passenger capacity: Thar 4. (company claims 7, but even 4 is a stretch).
2. Boot/luggage capacity: Non-existent if you have more than 3 people in the vehicle.
3. Fuel Type: Diesel.
4. Tank Capacity: 60L
5. AC: Yes
6. Factory HT: No.
7. 4WD/2WD option: No.
8. GC: 200mm.
9. Cost: 6.86 (ex-showroom Delhi).
10. Airbags: No.
11. ABS: No.
12. Stereo: No.
13. Wheelbase: 2430mm.
14. Doors: 3.

The hypothetical competitor then has to have:

1. Passenger capacity: To seat 4 people comfortably. No side-facing seats in the second row.
2. Boot/luggage capacity: Should not have to choose between regular luggage and carrying 2+ passengers.
3. Fuel Type: Diesel.
4. Tank Capacity: minimum 60L (wishful thinking by the tourer in me).
5. AC: Yes
6. Factory HT: Yes.
7. 4WD/2WD option: Yes. It won't sell enough otherwise as a new fully developed product.
8. GC: 200mm.
9. Cost: maximum 8.0L (ex-showroom Delhi). This is a sticky point as a 4+ passenger configuration will cannibalize sales of Scorpios/Safaris etc if it is a robust platform.
10. Airbags: Yes.
11. ABS: Yes.
12. Stereo: Yes.
13. Wheelbase: 2600mm. Roughly the Yeti's WB.
14. Doors: 5.

In the TATA line up, the Safari, Xenon and Sumo can all compete for the slot.

The Safari will have to reduce both the wheelbase in the least to qualify. They will also have to lower the cost, while keeping features roughly the same. There is also the additional problem of having a bonsai Safari in the market alongside the regular Safari and the Storme. Odds of this option coming true is next to zero.

The crowd favourite seems to be the Xenon, but two factors go against it: the wheelbase at 3150 requires a monster chop of the rear and the price. At its current spec it is already closer to 9 lakhs ex-showroom. At a lower cost we will see the nicer bits go off the platform. The outlier is that BD could do some magic and produce our dream vehicle. But I don't think it is about to happen. If I allow myself to indulge in some mind reading the emphasis is convincing the customer that what he thinks he wants is not what he needs, but something else.

That leaves us with the Sumo. This is the most realistic option. The Gold GX model already has most of the competitor's requirements in place (except ABS, Airbags & the 4WD option). In every way this is the path of least resistance and closest match in terms of cost.
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Old 4th July 2012, 11:03   #38
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

Dear Shyam - thanks for your comments. I have a "small" problem, though. .

The vehicle must be a 7 seater to meet CMVR. I did not have a choice with Thar, I don't think I'll have a choice here too! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 4th July 2012, 11:13   #39
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Shyam - thanks for your comments. I have a "small" problem, though. .

The vehicle must be a 7 seater to meet CMVR. I did not have a choice with Thar, I don't think I'll have a choice here too! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Sir,

I can only sincerely hope that it won't be 7-seater configuration like the Thar. Hopefully, the compromise would be a front facing bench and jump seats in the third row. I have no idea about CMVR (tried looking at it once and it made my head spin rather badly), so I can only hope jump seats too count.
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Old 4th July 2012, 11:41   #40
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

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Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
The vehicle must be a 7 seater to meet CMVR. I did not have a choice with Thar, I don't think I'll have a choice here too! .
Isn't that because you didn't have an engine that qualified?

CMVR can't be against 4/5 seater offroader if their stringent requirements are met. Call it a car with high GC and 4WD.

Jimny would easily pass CMVR scrutiny, am I wrong about this?
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Old 4th July 2012, 11:55   #41
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

7 seaters have to confirm to weaker norms when it comes to engines. With a 1.3 DDIS, even a 5 seater can make it.
Both Tata and Maruti have that engine.
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Old 4th July 2012, 11:55   #42
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Isn't that because you didn't have an engine that qualified?

CMVR can't be against 4/5 seater offroader if their stringent requirements are met. Call it a car with high GC and 4WD.

Jimny would easily pass CMVR scrutiny, am I wrong about this?
Hey Sharath,
I guess, it is more to do with the weight of the vehicle.
I might be wrong too.
Cheers,
Deepak
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:24   #43
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

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7 seaters have to confirm to weaker norms when it comes to engines. With a 1.3 DDIS, even a 5 seater can make it.
Both Tata and Maruti have that engine.
Even as awesome as the 1.3 Fiat engine is, don't you think using it will get the vehicle to compete with the likes of Ford Ecosport than the Thar? Also, as cost will be a significant factor, does Tata have a 5-seater platform that can be reused?

There is, of course, the possibility that it could indeed be a Ecosport/Maruti Swift-based concept/Duster competitor with an AWD option, which is a different kettle of fish altogether.
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:36   #44
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

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Isn't that because you didn't have an engine that qualified? CMVR can't be against 4/5 seater offroader if their stringent requirements are met.
Dear Sharath - no, it is not engine, it is the vehicle with engine which has to qualify. Actually now there is some sort of mathematical equation which my CMVR specialist colleague had explained to me in Nasik, which got my head spinning like mad! Something greater than / less than something else. Therefore it is 7 seater, whatever it means. As soon as I was clear on this, I just put the back seats of CMVR dimensions and got done with it. There is also an "official" 4WD category which says that the vehicle must meet 5 out of 6 things to qualify. That's why all Europe export vehicles are only 4WD. There are too many narratives and riders! You need to become a lawyer to even begin to understand. Mabe, we need a "CMVR clarity" thread.

Dear Starter - you are correct. Weight of the vehicle matters. It is known as "Reference Mass".

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 4th July 2012, 13:06   #45
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Default Re: Are sales of 4x4 variants going down in India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Sharath - no, it is not engine, it is the vehicle with engine which has to qualify. Actually now there is some sort of mathematical equation which my CMVR specialist colleague had explained to me in Nasik, which got my head spinning like mad! Something greater than / less than something else. Therefore it is 7 seater, whatever it means. .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Shyam and I have pretty much decided on the Sumo platform. So there's an end to it. There is room enough for a village of 357 Biharis to LIVE in a Sumo, let alone ride around in one, so let's quit stalling and get this puppy on the road.

Does some government fellow go around and measure backsides to ascertain the correct width to use as measure of an x-seater? Does he have to take into account things like nutrition, water retention (bloating) and such like in order to come up with a bench mark for what constitutes the width of a seat? Does it take into account seasonal and/or monthly variations in individuals?
I wonder if there is a special school in India that majors in that field of endeavor. Are there special measuring instruments used or is it all done...by the seat of one's pants? Sorry, folks, the bureaucrats have been beating me up lately and I am punchy.

Last edited by DirtyDan : 4th July 2012 at 13:08.
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