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Old 7th October 2010, 11:31   #1
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Default Why 4x4 only in top end variants of SUVs

Few years ago you could buy a midrange/low end scorpio 4x4, and a Tata Safari LX 4x4
Then came the time when lowest end models were not offered in 4x4, only midrange.
i.e. EX 4x4 for Tata, and equivalent model of scorpio for Mahindra.

Recently, the game has changed even more.
Now Tata safari comes only in VX 4x4 variant for 4x4, and Mahindra comes only in top end VLX variant.

Ford has also followed suit, and 4x4 will be available only in top end Automatic, manual tranny endy loses 4x4

My question is stated in the title, why? There are no mechanical, transmission(except for ford) and engine differences between bottom end and top end variants. All you get is better AC, more claddings, more body colored stuff etc., which actually you will "not" want in your 4x4.
So giving a 4x4 for additional cost on low variant and high variant is similar thing for the mfr, but companies are trying real hard, esp tata and mahindra that 4x4 becomes unaffordable to anyone with a budget of less then 12 lakhs when they can easily offer 4x4 for the extra cost even on low end variants.

Anybody from the industry, or involved with the industry care to give an insight into the minds of product departments. I think it may be a marketing decision, or a product division decision. But why? that is the question.

any thoughts?
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Old 7th October 2010, 11:40   #2
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I agree with you & I think its a bum trip not having a 4x4 available in a lower trim than the top end. I think its something to do with some of the Companies mindset that a 4x4 is more of a "lifestyle" vehicle (except than for the Armed Forces) & hence only offered to the buyer of the top end version!

By the way, I'm not sure if below is actually true -
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Recently, the game has changed even more.
Now Tata safari comes only in VX 4x4 variant for 4x4
as I found that Devdath had posted this on another thread -
Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
Hi All,
This itch was constantly at me for the past few days so I called TML Customer Care a few minutes ago and have a confirmation that the Safari 4X4 is available across all variants other than the LX like earlier.

Phew...
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Old 7th October 2010, 11:44   #3
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Good question.

If you are a quirky farmer who wants a 4x4 instead of a tractor to plough your field, we make sure you can't afford it.

Maybe that's the answer...
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Old 7th October 2010, 11:45   #4
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It could be old stock. Many dealers have told potential buyers that 4x4 will be available only in VX.
However, with the new safari around the corner, the case may be that tata will not manufacture any new 4x4 or 4x2 from the old variant.
So they may not have any 4x4 in stock at many yards.
This means until mid oct, when the facelift safari is announced dealers may not be booking.

That said, there is still the question. why no safari 4x4 in LX?
EX costs 1 lakh more than the LX. If Tata gave a LX 4x4, 4x4 will come in sub 10 on road range for many people!
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Old 7th October 2010, 11:51   #5
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. What annoys me a little is how Mahindra claims that 4x4 is in their (company) DNA, yet its impossible to get a 4x4 model from them without making a "special booking".

The most common reply i get in relation to this question is that "demand for vehicles with 4x4 is very less and more so on lower models". But if i am to buy a 4x4 to be used in a rough environment, i would hate to buy a top model vehicle with all the bells and whistles.

A company like Mahindra who relies heavily on their past 4x4 heritage should use this opportunity to use "hero" models like the 4x4 scorpio to build brand value and brand good will. What if they make very little profit on these models? The reputation and brand value they gain by producing these vehicles is more valuable than any monetary gains they make or dont make.

I too am very very curious to know the answer to the question asked by tsk1979 in thread from industry insiders.
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Old 7th October 2010, 11:56   #6
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Tanveer, I just confirmed from a friend in Tata Motors, 4X4 is very much available in EX and GX.

And infact they do manufacture LX in 4X4 but only for military and defense purposes in India and other countries.

And few months back, even LX was available in 4X4 on order, but they stopped it now.
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:03   #7
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@ Bharat
I have been planning to book one Safari for some time now. Last week, i had taken a proforma invoice for a GX 4 X 4 Safari. Today i call the dealer asking for some changes in the proforma and he says that 4 X 4 is available only on the VX trim.

@ TSK -Any idea what changes in the "facelift" version that you mentioned ?

Its quite confusing now - to go for a GX 4 X 2 Safari, wait for a Facelift Safari or wait for the Aria ! Whew..
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:05   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrishnakj View Post
@ Bharat
I have been planning to book one Safari for some time now. Last week, i had taken a proforma invoice for a GX 4 X 4 Safari. Today i call the dealer asking for some changes in the proforma and he says that 4 X 4 is available only on the VX trim.
Call customer care or Drop a mail to Tata Motors
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:20   #9
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I guess we are digressing from the topic.
LX 4x4 will make safari 4x4 more affordable, but somehow tata makes that for defence and export, but does not sell in in India. What could be the reason.
The answer to that question cannot be found
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:23   #10
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TSK: Isnt your statement on 4x4 available only in Safari VX based on hear-say / rumour? Or do you have any official source to this?
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:29   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
I guess we are digressing from the topic.
LX 4x4 will make safari 4x4 more affordable, but somehow tata makes that for defence and export, but does not sell in in India. What could be the reason.
The answer to that question cannot be found
Tanveer, AFAIK, the Safari 4X4 that is exported is the VX version, and the LX that is sold under DGS&D for VIP pilots is a 2wd version.

Also, I have a mail from TML telling me that the Safari is very much available in 4x4 versions in the EX and GX versions as earlier. This is for the benefit of all readers here.
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:36   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
TSK: Isnt your statement on 4x4 available only in Safari VX based on hear-say / rumour? Or do you have any official source to this?
A person posting 2 posts up in this thread was told this by the dealer. So the dealer is giving wrong information
Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
Tanveer, AFAIK, the Safari 4X4 that is exported is the VX version, and the LX that is sold under DGS&D for VIP pilots is a 2wd version.

Also, I have a mail from TML telling me that the Safari is very much available in 4x4 versions in the EX and GX versions as earlier. This is for the benefit of all readers here.
EX model is 1 lakhs+ more expensive than LX. So why is Tata not offering 4x4 on lowest variant. Same is true for Mahindra, they also do not offer 4x4 on lower variants.
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:45   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
EX model is 1 lakhs+ more expensive than LX. So why is Tata not offering 4x4 on lowest variant. Same is true for Mahindra, they also do not offer 4x4 on lower variants.
Well, if I were to think like the run-of-the-mill marketing chap at TML & M&M, here is what I would say:

"A customer insisting on a 4X4 version is anyway a rich guy who will take his Safari/Scorpio to exotic places, abuse it in OTRs, etc etc without a care for it, so why shouldn't I fleece him a bit more and offer 4X4 only on high end variants? If he is rich, he can afford it. And my sales gets better incentives and the Co, more profits."

It is an example of wrong customer profiling.
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:51   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
EX model is 1 lakhs+ more expensive than LX. So why is Tata not offering 4x4 on lowest variant
I guess you answered your own question (answer marked in bold) - to make more money!! I, for instance, would have gone in for LX 4x4 had it been available. So would be the case with quite a few of us Safari 4x4 owners, including you I guess. But since LX 4x4 is not available, we had no choice but to spend the extra 1L and go for the EX. Now, this extra money made by TML is more than the (figurative) money lost due to people NOT buying LX as it does not have a 4x4 variant. This segment of buyers is not hung up on 4x4 and pick up the LX anyways.

Look at it this way - a person interested in a 4x4 WILL stretch (do whatever it takes) to cough up the extra 1L and go in for a EX. However, a person not so interested in 4x4 would anyway pick up a LX unless he is hell-bent on the body colored bumpers, extra air-con, and immobilizer!!
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Old 7th October 2010, 12:54   #15
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Your argument can be both ways.
Many people with 1 lakh budget stretch limit actually bought a LX 4x2 instead of EX 4x4
Some bought the 2.6 Scoprio 4x4 as it was still available till BS IV implementation.
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