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Old 9th May 2011, 18:07   #91
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Default Re: Optional safety features with base variants.

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Originally Posted by Vishal.R View Post
Importance of basic safety features (ABS and Airbags mostly) is very much discussed/acknowledged in this form and overall.so now Its time to demand for choice.
Yes, the very same topic has been discussed in various guises before on this forum.

Demanding for choice is our most basic right as customers, but it will not take a "dharna" or a protest for the manufacturers to give in to these demands. Instead, people need to vote with their wallets. Although the trend has started to tilt more in favor of safety features vis a vis "other OEM goodies", there is still a considerable part of the junta that wants alloys, auto climate control et' all over ABS / Airbags. What is even more important is the price one is willing to pay for these features.

Case in point - the ANHC. AFAIK, it is the first car in India (in the 10 lac-ish rupee range) to offer ABS and dual airbags across all variants. Did it not get bashed (and how) for not providing a cd player / ACC / alloys? Maybe Honda, with its solid brand awareness could get away with it. How many others can?

In addition to these Airbags, ESP, EBD, ABS, 123 etc, how do we know the car is structurally safe? We do not have an NCAP kinda system in India do we. Another example here would be the "Xylo". Although the top variant (E8?) has ABS and Airbags, IIRC it does not have "side impact bars". So is Xylo E8 a safe car? Maybe, at least in comparison to the lower variants. But I would not consider the car safe if it had all the airbags in the world.

What MUST be mandated is a proper system to verify the structural intengrity of a vehichle during a crash (and all kinds of crashes). In fact, if we were to implement such a system, we have an opportunity to make it better, if not at par with the Euro NCAP system (Eg - NCAP does not test rear collisions. MPVs' / MUVs' rear seats, that are usually occupied by children is a major safety hazard incase of a rear collision. Many of us who watch Discovery Turbo will recollect the "5th Gear" episode highlighting the very same issue).

In conclusion, things are changing. Toyota Etios is a prime example of the same. If we as customers demand it, the manufacturer will have no option BUT to give it to us. Things today are much different than what they were when our dads / uncles were looking at buying a car and what features they expected. When I bought the Linea 1.4 E pack, my father asked me why would I want Airbags in my car? If ever deployed, they would cost a bomb to repair. On the other hand, a friend of mine is searching for a diesel hatch and he is not even considering the Swift as it does not offer airbags in the top variant . Stark contrast, aint it?

That said, there is another aquaintance of mine (similar age), who bought a swift diesel vdi, put blingy (and cheap) 15 inch alloys and wrapped it in MRFs. When I asked him why he dint spend the money on ABS or better / grippy rubber, he retorted - 'Who needs it"?

Times are a changing my friend. But it will be some time before the "collective demand" does a 180 in favor of safety. Till such time, shell out a little more and enjoy those "faaltu features" also.
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Old 9th May 2011, 18:17   #92
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Default Re: Optional safety features with base variants.

There is another thing that, if I remember correctly, became a problem when Tata vehicles came up with ABS/airbags the first time: shortage of components.

They had to let go of some sales because these were not available.

I believe Maruti has also dealt with this in the past - don't know the situation now.

Of course, this may have to do with low demand to begin with. Once there is enough demand I'm sure manufacturers will invest enough to scale up capacity.
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Old 9th May 2011, 18:24   #93
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Default Re: Optional safety features with base variants.

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Originally Posted by Urban_Nomad View Post
...

That said, there is another aquaintance of mine (similar age), who bought a swift diesel vdi, put blingy (and cheap) 15 inch alloys and wrapped it in MRFs. When I asked him why he dint spend the money on ABS or better / grippy rubber, he retorted - 'Who needs it"?

well guys like him need it the most.

By the way, one thing I observed with Ford - they randomly put MRF or Apollo on their vehicles.

BUT I have checked 5 Titaniums so far - they are all Apollo.

Basically they are putting the better tyres on the more expensive version.

Disclaimer: My sample size is too small - I may be wrong.
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Old 9th May 2011, 18:26   #94
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Default Re: Optional safety features with base variants.

Edit - this post is with reference to your post about Tata demand supply issues (post 92)

Good point. In fact, looking at the Etios as well, there is a major waiting period on this car. Whilst some part of it can be attributed to tsunami / general production capacity, it could also be owing to "customization" (safety packs) offered by Toyota.

Sheesh, come to think of it. How many decisions does a manufacturer have to make? Which variant ,which options / features, which color and the combination of these factors (and I am sure, a lot more). Till such time the demand is more generalistic in nature, the manufacturers would continue to "go with the flow".

Last edited by Urban_Nomad : 9th May 2011 at 18:28. Reason: Incorrect post quoted
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Old 12th May 2011, 11:00   #95
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Default Re: Optional safety features with base variants.

I feel safety is not an 'option'. With better engines and improving roads, safety features have paramount importance. But unfortunately the manufacturers know their customers very well, and I don’t foresee them mending their ways in near future – unless it is made mandatory by the government.

I am still amused with the fact that some manufacturers decide that diesel variants can be short of safety features.
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Old 12th May 2011, 12:07   #96
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Default Re: Optional safety features with base variants.

I haven't gone through all the posts, so if what I post is a repeat, mods please delete it.

IMO, offering safety features in base models is not so cost prohibitive for OEMs. Nor are they (OEMs) lacking the will to do so (...or so I would like to believe). The real onus is on the government making focused regulations and not vague rules.

I believe the ONLY mandatory safety requirement for vehicles in India is seatbelts. Rewind to the early '90s when even that wasn't in place, while North American and European countries made seatbelts compulsory two-three decades earlier (Recall the 800s, Ambys and the Padminis without seatbelts). The point I am trying to make is that, automotive safety is way way down the list of priorities for our government, and without government intervention, I am afraid, we cannot make much headway. A point to ponder, the EU will make ESP compulsory for both passenger and commercial vehicles in 2014.

The other important factor, as so many Tbhp-ians pointed out, is the demand. My friends and colleagues think I am weird when my filter for vehicle selection is safety. The most common 'advice' I get is, "Why blow 6 lacs on a high-end hatch when you can get a sedan for the same price." Sadly, bigger is still better for us.
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