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Old 25th April 2011, 10:25   #61
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

1) Cost cutting IMO :
-> LHD indicator/wiper stalks arrangement not changed for RHD.

-> Lack of wiring for rear speakers in many cars.

-> Overall weak headlamps. Common complain by many owners. This may be true that the oncoming lights make more powerful lights compulsory, but somehow, I find the lights of most cars to be weak. 90/100W should be given as standard equipment.

-> In some cars, the 5th wheel i.e.the spare wheel is not alloy in higher versions. Very cheap and low move.

-> Moving to non independent suspension setup. Esteem, Baleno had independent setup. Indica, Indigo, Indigo CS had independent setup. So its not that one has to spend trillion raise to trillions of money to give independent setup. But this is a wide spread industry move. I cant remember any car under Rs. 10 lakh to actually have all round independent suspension except Tata indica, indigo range ( do update me if there is any car available ).

-> Under body protection. Indian roads need no second introduction. Under body protection a must for almost all cars. The moment one has to drop a wheel, it becomes evident that under body protection is of great help. Rather than giving facny features and designs for A/C, music system, more focus should be on these necessary things.

-> No temp gauge. A big mistake IMO.

-> Day and night rear view mirror not available in some cars/lower variants.

2) Design flaw.

-> No dead pedal in most of the cars. IIRC, even a long distance cruiser like Innova lacks dead pedal.

-> Cramped footwells in some cars.

-> Rear windscreens getting smaller and smaller.

-> High waistline. Reduces visibility of objects that are near the vehicle and/or next to vehicle. I have seen people less than 5"5' drive a car like Swift/Santro/Ritz/Beat/i10 which have relatively high waistline ( santro owning to its height ), etc. and end creating wonderful scenarios on road. May be the tall boy design gives better view of road ahead, but waistline gets higher, so main issues are with parking, taking U turn, etc.

-> Not sure if this comes under design flaw or cost cutting, but low GC is problem in some cars.



3) What should be made available as an option even on lower variants :

-> ABS
-> Airbags
-> Reach and Rake adjustable steering wheel
-> Height adjustable driver seat
-> Electric fold and electrically adjustable ORVMs.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 25th April 2011 at 10:28.
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Old 25th April 2011, 10:41   #62
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
design flaw:
  • VW Polo and vento's bonnet/ wiper placement gap. Owners said that lifting the wiper has a tendency to interfere with the sheetmetal and the paint gets chipped off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AvonA7 View Post
+1, the driver side wiper has to be carefully lifted else it touches the bonnet edge - design flaw
How is this a design flaw?

It has been clearly mentioned in the manual that you have to bring the wiper to service position in order to replace the blades.

The wiper service position is standard across VW and is even there on the VW Phaeton (albeit through the console). I haven't done an exhaustive study, but some BMWs have it too. I bet all Audis must be having it as well.

I haven't been able to understand the rationale behind this VW (or German?) quirk, but apparently it has something to do with being aerodynamic and the ability to remove snow from the windshield without bothering about the wiper blades.

I have told my cleaner to lift the wiper gently if he has to clean underneath the wiper. No paint has chipped off my car. But it would take some effort to educate those car cleaners who I see around my house everyday who seem to think that putting the wipers up and dousing the car with a bucket of water and spreading the water with a dirty rag is cleaning.

By the way, I still remember a friend of mine in the US who had an E-class and he used to service the car himself. He had this gigantic tome which was specific to the E-Class for his car's year of manufacture (similar one for BMW is here -> Amazon.com: BMW 5 Series (E60, E61) Service Manual - 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010: 525i, 528i, 530i, 535i, 545i, 550i (9780837616216): Bentley Publishers: Books) and he would follow the instructions one by one religiously and everything would work like clockwork.

Once he almost reached the end of a multi-step procedure and he couldn't get a part off. He scratched his head, went through the instructions once again and realized that he had missed one of instructions in the beginning. I remember him telling me then that the German cars can only be worked on in one sequence.
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Old 25th April 2011, 11:09   #63
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
1) Cost cutting IMO :


-> High waistline. Reduces visibility of objects that are near the vehicle and/or next to vehicle. I have seen people less than 5"5' drive a car like Swift/Santro/Ritz/Beat/i10 which have relatively high waistline ( santro owning to its height ), etc. and end creating wonderful scenarios on road. May be the tall boy design gives better view of road ahead, but waistline gets higher, so main issues are with parking, taking U turn, etc.
How does a high waist-line reduce visibility of objects? IMO, a car which has been designed to be higher offers the best visibility. I drive a Santro every day and I think it's so much easier driving a tall-boy rather than something that isn't tall, like an Alto. It's another matter than I'm 6'2", but my mother used to drive the Santro regularly and she enjoyed the height. And she is not tall at all. It not only gave her a good view of what's around, it gave her a sense of security.

Let me assure you that a high waistline does not pose a problem while parking or maneuvering through traffic. Although I condemn the design, I would recommend people to go in for a tall-boy car if they drive predominantly within city limits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
3) What should be made available as an option even on lower variants :

-> ABS
-> Airbags
-> Reach and Rake adjustable steering wheel
-> Height adjustable driver seat
-> Electric fold and electrically adjustable ORVMs.
This, I agree.

Safety is very important, and it saddens me to see many manufacturers compromising on safety. I see Maruti lobbing off the price on their cars along with necessary safety features. It's upsetting. What's even more upsetting is the lack of these features in lower variants of the Vento! I mean, who wants an autographed cricket-kit? I rather have airbags and ABS that might save my life, God forbid anything untoward should happen.

Electric ORVMs are expensive to replace. Although the cost has come down over the years. Perhaps, you might get to see them on cheaper cars in years to come.
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Old 25th April 2011, 11:19   #64
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

The only people who find the indicator stalks on the right irritating are the ones who used to drive a car with the stalks on the left or vice versa.

I switched from a Maruti Alto to a Fiat Punto and used to find the indicator and wiper stalks irritating initially. But for my cousin who switched from a Ford Ikon to a Swift found that to be irritating and called it a design flaw. What do say about that ? I don't think there are any rules where the indicators should be placed. Asian cars come with the indicator stalks on the left and European card in the right. And I don't see that changing.

Regarding the rear windows not going fully down, it is neither a cost cutting measure nor a design flaw, it is just a choice between functionality and looks' where looks often win because it sells!!
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Old 25th April 2011, 11:42   #65
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

Is reversing light only there to warn others that you are reversing? I always thought that they were for my aid to reverse safely in dark.
It should be called the "Reversing Warning light" then.
Heck even the color of these lights is a normal headlights yellow and not some red or anything else.
Silly me.

Last edited by download2live : 25th April 2011 at 11:46.
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Old 25th April 2011, 11:49   #66
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

As a list of desirable features I agree with the below post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
1)

-> Lack of wiring for rear speakers in many cars.

-> Overall weak headlamps. 90/100W should be given as standard equipment.

OEM horns given by manufacturers are of sad quality. (Eg. Maruti - more or less all Maruti cars have sad OEM horns, M&M Bolero has a lousy OEM horn etc)

-> In some cars, the 5th wheel i.e.the spare wheel is not alloy in higher versions. Also the spare may not be a full sized spare in some cases. This doesnt really work well for India road conditions.

-> Under body protection. Indian roads need no second introduction. Under body protection a must for almost all cars. The moment one has to drop a wheel, it becomes evident that under body protection is of great help. Rather than giving facny features and designs for A/C, music system, more focus should be on these necessary things.

-> No dead pedal in most of the cars.

What should be made available as an option even on lower variants :

-> ABS
-> Airbags
-> Reach and Rake adjustable steering wheel
-> Height adjustable driver seat
-> Electric fold and electrically adjustable ORVMs.
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Old 25th April 2011, 12:03   #67
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
IMO, a car which has been designed to be higher offers the best visibility
+1. Even I have no issues driving a car with a high waist line. It actually helps see things better around me, than say, while driving a civic. To locate objects next to the vehicle or while parking there's always ORVMs that can be used right.
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Old 25th April 2011, 12:27   #68
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

Mushrooming on all the knowledge provided by the wiser here are my two penny's:-

1)Cost cutting has been an issue with all the manufacturers when it comes to the Indian market! as in general customers lack the right information, exposure and the will to spend a little extra. It's like a child in a candy shop who goes for the most colourful, sweetest and cheapest hard boiled sweet. low in quality and high in quantity.

The Indian governments auto-mobile(taxes) policies also curb the manufactures enthusiasm.

2) There is no flaw in most of the cars designed LHD or RHD!
But there is good design bad design and the plain hopeless. The grading is extremely individualistic. The cliché one man's food is another's pudding or one man's off-roader is another's spine crusher.

3) Debate over number of lights does not make sense to me for one single purpose i.e, it is there placement and luminance that matters ( Can't compare a strobe light with two point and shoot flash bulbs )

To end with the general customer has to start saying no and complaining to get more. Gone are the days when a certain 800 cc four wheeler was king.

I opine and I know many are not going to agree with me that the following are poor examples of design for the day:- ( Drum-roll!!!)

a) The Maruti Alto- we all know what happens when we bring a Velociraptor back to life it eats you.

b) The Chevy beat- Extremely capable go-kart with economical design non ergonomic crash facilities.(feels safer in a nano )

c) The Ford Icon - still leaves me speechless

d) The HM Amby- The grey respected great grandfather. Shame they still want him to be the bread winner.
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Old 25th April 2011, 12:51   #69
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

@download2live

If you think the reversing light was there for illumination, you must be really pissed off with FIAT, who provide the single reversing light in a Punto, at the bottom left corner of the car. I am not even sure that the light is on when I reverse, let alone use it for illumination purposes.

Also, if it was for illumination purposes, why does it come on during day time. They could have connected it via the headlamp switch like the fog lamps, which come on only if your headlamps are on.

@aaggoswami

Is it that important to a customer what kind of suspension is there in a car. What a customer looks for is whether he gets a comfortable ride when he is in it. I dont think he would care about how that ride is achieved. Tell me, would you rather sit in a comfortable car without independent suspension, or an uncomfortable one with it?? The idea for the manufacturer is to find the cheapest possible way to provide the sort of ride quality that their customer expects from the car.

Also the spare wheel, as it is expected to be used only sparingly in emergencies, I think it is a good and decent cost cutting move to provide a smaller steel wheel.

As for a temp gauge, I think the overall purpose is solved if you get a warning light to stop the engine. You dont really need to have a gauge for that. I guess overheating does cause a warning signal to show up on the dash.
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Old 25th April 2011, 12:56   #70
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

Not sure if this has already been mentioned here, but the facelifted i10 Magna doesn't sport intermittent wipers on the front window. This at a sub 4.5 lakh car is just basically telling the customer that hey we know you really need those turn indicators on your ORVM's, but because of that we can't give you intermittent wipers. Shameful cost cutting by Hyundai...
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Old 25th April 2011, 13:28   #71
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by julupani View Post

@muni
Dead-pedal, split fold rear seats are not exactly something that the Indian customer truly looks for when buying the car. Thus manufacturers leave them out. Cant really call it cost cutting, when not many want the feature in the first place.

As for the conversion of hatchbacks to sedans, it is done all over the world. Just that Indians do it more brazenly, not caring to change front designs so that costs can be kept down by sharing body panels.
You have mixed up cost cutting and design flaws from what I posted. If you see many cars that are available in India,they cannot accomodate dead pedals simply because there isnt enough room and looks more of a design flaw . If it is possible in a Santro which I recollect has it, I dont see any reason why it should not make it to all cars. To me a car misses some brownie points if this is not there.

With regards to the Split seats that can tumble forward in hatch backs, would it not give bragging rights while advertising the car without having to spend much. Atleast give it as an option. Sooner or later every customer will appeciate it and use it eventhough it doesnt cost much for the manufacturer to put it in the first place.
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Old 25th April 2011, 13:37   #72
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Originally Posted by v.anand View Post
...The problem I see here is in Government regulations. Cars in Europe and US have to comply with various safety norms to be sold there whereas a place which boasts the highest deaths due to road accidents don't have any. Hence manufacturers try and save costs here big time.
Bingo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
+100 to that dude,
Was looking forward to post the same thing,this matter seems to be debated endlessly.When Japanese companies can put the correct configurations in LHD cars then why not the Euros do it here?
When imported cars need to have RHD controld stalks then why cars manufactured here are left from the rules.
Also S.Korea is a LHD market,then i don't see any Hyundai's with LHD control stalks in India.
As v.anand has correctly pointed out, it is simply due to lack of any mandates by the government authorities (ARAI, perhaps?) about how this is SUPPOSED TO BE.

We are all saying "Ideally, the indicator stalk should be on the right and the wiper stalk on the left." But pray, where is the RULE that states this? Nowhere. Therefore, the car-buyer is left to the cost-cutting whims and fancies of the manufacturer. Today, they put the stalks on whichever side suits their balance sheets. Tomorrow, they might even do away with stalks altogether and put simple buttons on the dashboard, since our regulatory authorities are silent about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
Precisely! The real issue here is not whether you can get used to the set up or not. We had no problems in driving non power steering cars until a decade ago. But now everyone will agree that power steering makes your life easy and is a better option. That doesnt mean one cannot drive without a power steering now. Similarly getting used to the stalks is a forced choice. Ideally speaking in a RHD your left hand should be free to shift gears ONLY (apart from holding the steering at other times).

And I repeat my query to support my view. Are there any LHD cars in EUROPE with the RHD set up of the stalks? If not then there must be a reason behind it.
My guess is, European rules DICTATE that the wiper stalk should be on the right and the indicator stalk should be on the left, and hence ANY manufacturer who wants a sell any car in the European market has to make it that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lancer_rit View Post
While some of the OP's points are debatable, and also a few are design flaws while others maybe just cost-cutting, and a few others neither, I have to say this argument about indicator stalks is completely misguided from folks who drive cars that have the "LHD" orientation.
Don't get me wrong, I have driven the Matiz for years with the 'LHD' configuration, and done it fine, however it is quite simple to me:

If the indicators are on the right side in a RHD car, I can use my right hand on the steering to operate them, and my right hand is always on my steering. Indicator usage is a frequent one in city drives (if you follow the rules). The left hand on the other hand has to get off the wheel in a RHD MT car to change gears, and less frequently to apply the hand brake. So, I do believe, the indicators must be on right side on RHD car, as they must be on the left side for LHD car.
Otherwise, show me non-UK Euro manufacturer who has placed the indicator on the right side for a LHD car !
I believe, not changing the indicator and wiper stalk positions from a LHD car to a RHD car is plain and simple "cost cutting". If Merc does it, then it still remains cost cutting!

On a lighter note, a German says LHD is the right way to drive (just that it happens to be on the left side) ;-)
A very valid argument. As I said above, I believe it is mandatory for any car being sold in Europe to have the stalks placed in those positions (indicators on the left, wipers on the right). They cannot be sold otherwise. Not to mention that Europeans by nature are a very picky bunch, who will probably not buy a car with the stalks "wrongly" placed, even though everything else fits the bill.

Regarding the rear windows, I feel it is simply a design "subject", and not a "flaw". If the designer could design the door in such a way that the wheel arch does not come in the way of the collapsing window, I'm sure he would be happy to offer a window that goes all the way down. After all, it doesn't require any additional engineering to make the window roll down completely, provided the path exists.

However, most sedans today come with rear doors which are "curved" at the bottom to accomodate the wheel arch, and hence the window cannot roll down completely. In such a case, providing the quarter glass (which allows the glass to roll down completely) is upto the designer. Some cars have it, some don't. It cannot be mandated, its all about "popular" choice. And I believe most buyers wouldn't want one, as it hampers the view.

Besides, in some cases, it would not be possible to add a quarter glass, as the quarter glass itself would end up consuming more than half of the available space, reducing the rolling glass to a "ticket window". Then, it's better to have a half-rolling glass than a fixed quarter glass.

The single reversing lamp is again a glaring case of "lack of mandate". Even assuming that the light is meant to be a warning light and not an illuminating device, I don't see the point in having it on ONE SIDE of the vehicle.

#1: What if the side of the reversing vehicle having the light is obstructed in such a way (by a wall or vehicle, lets say) that an approaching person can't see it? Ditto for the single fog lamp.

#2: Even if an approaching person were to see the lamp in the dark, how can that person judge the location of the vehicle w.r.t the lamp? Agreed, we as enthusiasts know that most cars have it on the right, but given the abysmal levels of driver education and awareness in this country, how many people know this? 2 reverse lamps make it amply clear where exactly the vehicle is, and where its going.

WE NEED TWO FOG LAMPS AND TWO REVERSE LAMPS. Period.

Manufacturers can be so stingy. My neighbor owns a Tata Indica Turbo, in which only reverse lamp is provided. This, inspite of the fact that the other tail lamp housing is designed symetrically, with a reverse lamp nacelle in it (unlike Logan and some other cars). Only it has no bulb. Put in the bulb, and it works. Aww c'mon, a 5-rupee bulb on a 4.5 lakh rupee car, is that reeeeaaaalllly saving cost? Gimme a break. And please don't give me that story about the airline and the humble olive. Companies like Tata Motors have bigger issues to think about in terms of cost-cutting, before coming to the humble 5-rupee bulb. Penny wise and pound foolish, I say.

NOTE: I find the powerful pair of reverse lamps on my 2004 WagonR to be quite handy while reversing in pitch darkness. The amount of illumination they provide is fantastic, and serves as a very important visual aid, especially for new drivers who always have problems reversing, more so in the dark.

Therefore, I feel that it should be made mandatory by our govt. that vehicles should come with 2 reverse lamps which provide proper illumination, and not just serve as a "warning". Just "warning" lights are fine in developed countries, where sufficient ambient light and indication is provided and maintained by the government in the form of street lighting and fluorescent warning signage.

The less said about vital safety features like the single ORVM, ABS and airbags, the better. Our great Indian MV rules originated in the stone age, and have stayed there since.
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Old 25th April 2011, 13:39   #73
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
There is so much talk about cost-cutting in the form of wiper-stalks on the wrong side and a single reverse light as opposed to two. But the real problem at hand is the lack of adequate safety features in most cars under 10 lakhs.

Yes, Airbags and ABS are options on cars and are generally standard on the top-end variants. But I do not understand why they should be completely omitted from the lesser variants.
^^ Agree.
I also feel that the shortcomings (I would refrain to call them as design flaws or cost-cutting, as it is being debated) that are being talked about here are merely anything. How much richer will the car manufacturers get by avoiding windows to roll down completely?

why are we not pondering upon the real cost cutting phenomenon called 3 cylinder engines?
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Old 25th April 2011, 13:46   #74
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My Guess, everybody does it in their own way and to extents they prefer to:
Cant blame the Europeans, and at the same time, cant appreciate the Indian/Korean/Japanese manufacturers.

The Polo does these glaring cost cuttings (@thread starter), but at the same time provides a great car in terms of ride, handling, quality of interiors, solid build (Safe car when you consider that 90% of Indian car owners dont go with ABS/ Airbags).

The swift which has the right side indicator stalk/ quarter panel/ 2 reverse lights etc etc, but check the shoddy paint job, the interior plastic, the quality of glass used all round, insufficient braking, 165/80 tyres...believe me, this would be the least safe car for power/ weight it offers.

The Punto which again is a brilliant car but is severly undertyred for a car of its weight, poor interior plastics which even stop functioning mid way, non working AC. The punto is probaly what Fiat has that it can market in India. So, for all they are providing, they need to recover a lot with the numbers they sell in India...Very tricky situation to be a part of Fiat India

Ford with its figo gives a great package for its price, best handling car, great stock tyres, comfortable ride, best AC, good ICE, neat interiors and solid build. How would they probably manage all these? They have localized most of their stuff. They build everything in Chennai now. But again they omit all the @thread starter mentioned details....

Probably you could count Hyundai to everything right in terms of equipment, to customer satisfaction, to safety etc.....But hey, do they do enough engineering?
I guess not. Their cars are the poorest when it comes to handling. Ride is not their strong point. They are not toppers when it comes to engine. They are not enthusiastic car manufacturers. They build packages. They can build anything for that matter. They are the RELIANCE of South Korea.

Now 'who is taking us Indians to a ride?', I would say 'all of them'
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Old 25th April 2011, 18:39   #75
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Default re: Design flaws and cost cutting in Indian cars

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Originally Posted by Meili View Post
There are several other models that have cleverly avoided this setback by incorporating a rear quarter glass and reducing the size of the rear window so it doesnt obstruct with the wheel arch.
So why is window not rolling down a cost cutting measure, while reducing size of rear window(which will result in less glass being used) not a cost cutting measure?
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