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Old 10th July 2011, 11:52   #16
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Well people are obsessed about image and branding in these times. It's only natural that it translates to getting more expensive stuff to send out the image that you have arrived.

There is also a huge difference btween an astar and say a figo in terms of space/overall comfort and driving feel.

One more factor is feel that people in this generation have lesser kids. So that means more assets/kid and the kid backed by his parent's resources go for more expensive stuff than what they can reasonably afford with their own income.

I personally feel that for some professions like if you are a doctor or if you are a businessman runnning your own business the car that you have directly translates into more revenue for you. THe bigger the car, people will naturally assume that better your business is, even if your car is entirely on loan.
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Old 10th July 2011, 11:52   #17
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Interesting thread. I remember when my bro insisted on purchasing a bicycle, way back in the 80s, it was a big decision for us. Both my cars are used, because I could not afford a brand new one. Though I aspire to a better car one day, I have learnt to appreciate the comforts and conveniences of each car that I have owned. I pity the people who judge a person by the car he/she drives.
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Old 10th July 2011, 11:53   #18
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Men have Ego's and it's always been "Mine is bigger than your's". In the material word Men try and prove their point by what they drive generally, it's the same trend with mobile phones, even though it's basic funtion is to provide a telecon between two parties, people spend thousands on the latest mobile phone, where they do not even know 80% of it's total features most of the time.
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Old 10th July 2011, 12:52   #19
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

For the first car in a family, I have noted that it is mostly "the best and the biggest I can afford", as aptly noted, those who do not know us try to judge our "status" by what we ride and what we wear, and we always try to put our best image to the public.

By the time you are in a position to add a second vehicle to your stable; you are financially and professionally better off; practicality kicks in and you tailor the car to your needs, it may be an SUV or a small hatch, depends on your needs.

A family that has more than two vehicles, will rarely have them of the same size. There is a large sedan, a small hatch and often an SUV. I am talking of a single house hold and not an extended joint family one.

In my case we have an Esteem for family occasions, and an Alto K10 for short hop marketing. The Alto suits me perfectly as it is small and can fit in a parking slot where other hatches find it difficult. Even then I have to hear a lot from my family and friends for getting such a "Low Fi" car. Why not a more expensive hatch - Wagon R, Polo, Fabia and it goes on and on. I can never convince them that the K10 suits me perfectly, has the best AC and Acceleration of the lot, and is the perfect solution for a single occupant (OK Nano would be even better, but its AC sucks). Interestingly, after hearing my side and the fact I am enjoying the ownership thoroughly, a lot of my acquaintances are getting Alto or Nano as an additional vehicle for running around.

As the Indian Car market matures, I expect to see a lot more hatches, especially premium ones and a lot less sedans. After all there is so much space to park both at home and in the markets/malls.
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Old 10th July 2011, 13:01   #20
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Thanks for the replies guys, some good discussion we are having here..

Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
My wife threatens to divorce me if I get a Nano. She doesn't mind traveling by bus though
Dont ask man, I have gone tired of telling people that nano is a safer can than say 800/alto or even santro. But they dont believe me. Bigger the better is still the norm with many...

Originally Posted by asr245 View Post
Yes or just changing times. 50 years ago, a cycle was perhaps luxury. 30 years ago the scooter took it's place. 20-25 years ago it was the M800 and today it's a C segment saloon (but not a equally good hatch). Just a change in perspective, nothing else.
Agreed, but the pace at which things have changed in last 10-15 years is incredible. From 1 landline for every one to personal mobile phones; from a 2 wheelers to personal cars. From a common PC to ipads. But I tell you what, I was more happy when I got my first videogame in 1996 then when I got say an iphone few months ago.. Despite the fact that we have more, those smaller yet inner happiness is no longer there. You are happy for a day or 2 and then you are back to busy/stressful life.. may be thats just me.

So by luxury it automatically translates to a saloon. More space for luggage & passengers (which is generally true). Comfort/safety is still a distant 2nd for most.
Agreed again, look at the number of accent Hyundai sells despite the fact that there are N number of better hatches available.

Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Dad's first car was std. M800 and man, I adored that piece of machine! I remember when he was due for a car upgrade from office, my happiness knew no bounds when he was going to get a M800 DLX
True, I was soo happy when we got our 800. It was too special. I used to tell every one that this 800 has 5 gears....

1) a LOT of people can afford a LOT of things
2) a lot of importance is attributed to the car
Can I put it this way..a LOT of people can afford a LOT of things, car being the most important after House. Well in most cases..

Originally Posted by ScorpMan View Post
Totally respect your views on the changing times and perception of our society. I agree to most of your points but have a slightly tweaked view on some of them.
Thanks for a different perspective sir. Very much appreciated.

Originally Posted by Abhi_Automobile View Post
I loved reading both of your posts. I could almost visualize your comments. Being an out an out Delhiite (and that too Punjabi), I know what Gaurav is talking about.
Thanks Abhi, I initially thought, it was only me..

In Delhi, people want to buy the best car that they can afford.
You bet.

Car trends to be the first thing that people buy when they start their first job/join Dad's business. The extreme weather and 'junta image' of bikes make sure that most people up north don't like driving bikes either.
I think you've hit the nail on its head..

I have nothing against buying aspirational brands and cars (in fact I support it), but only when you can clearly afford it.
Exactly my point..

Originally Posted by oxyzen View Post
But you will have to agree a Man is known by the car he drives.
Not by the job he does, not by the person he is. A sorry state of affairs.
How true, I was offered a car parking in directors parking area when I bought a cedia (most people get confused as to which car it is, so a special treatment sometimes..), but that was never the case when I travelled for more than 5 months in 800.. lolzzz..

This is also a reason why Toyota & Honda sells and why Ford and GM struggles. Apart from A.S.S and reliability the brand makes the difference.
Would beg to differ here, Ford and GM have suffered majorly because of their work strategies rather than brand. If a company like Hyundai can make its brand in India and then take advantage of same and market it across world, Ford and GM were in much more better position to get their brands right. Skoda is another example.

@Mr.Boss, thanks..

Last edited by v12 : 11th July 2011 at 01:58. Reason: 2 smiley's deleted :)
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Old 10th July 2011, 15:47   #21
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Excellent topic brought up for discussion!

Before we talk about the society, we should not forget that we too are part of the society. So let us first change things and do what our heart says rather than following the herd mentality, and set an example for others. I believe that most people in our society have slowly started realizing (looking at other sensible people's decisions) that they need to do that which is good for them and their own family rather than succumbing to the pressures of our society.

Also, the problem is that all of us forget that no matter what position one is in and what status or level one reaches, there will always be people above and below them. So although it's good to aspire for bigger and better things, don't forget the roots where you come from and the fact that it's your life and ultimately you have to be happy with what you decide to do and not what the society forces you to do. Cheers!

I too have planned to upgrade from my Alto and yes I'm on the lookout for a bigger car. Why a bigger car? Not because I want to prove that I'm in a better financial position now and can afford a bigger car. Yes, now I'm much better off than when I bought Alto four years back but lot of other things have also changed. Now I'm married and probably will have children in a couple of years, my parents are growing old and need a car with better comfort, also, I realised my love for traveling has grown and so I am looking at a bigger car that I can take on road trips along with me and my family.

Ultimately my decision to buy a second car will depend on the needs that are mentioned above and I believe that the decision to upgrade should depend on such growing requirements/responsibilities rather than just showing off one's status.

Sorry if it sounded like a lecture but I felt this is the right topic to share these thoughts and if it helps change at least one person who is reading this, it would go a long way in bettering our society in general.
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Old 10th July 2011, 18:17   #22
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

The best example that illustrates the points above is whenever you suggest someone a premium hatch that might cost above 6L or so. The instant reply one gets in 80% of the cases is, "Are, I would rather buy a sedan in this much money!"

There's a total disregard for your primary requirements. No one even bothers to care whether they even require the extra boot, or if it will lead to unnecessary parking hassles(Maybe in crowded places like Delhi and Mumbai people do). What kind of an impression it will leave is all that matters.

Added to it an inherent thinking that a sedan by default is superior in every department, not just space. Like someone said above, it also partially explains the continuing sales of the Hyundai Accent to an extent.
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Old 10th July 2011, 19:38   #23
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

I have noticed this in the area where I live (Delhi/NCR) that most people buy/upgrade cars just because their relatives/neighbors/friends have done so. Buying a car is not a bad thing but should be purchased with necessity in mind rather than buying it as a show piece. In north (Delhi/NCR to be specific) people will buy a car and it will remain parked just for rusting in peace. They hardly use it as they can't afford the fuel which is more important than the car itself. Some people will buy an entry level Swift Petrol and get it converted to CNG just after taking the delivery of the car. And then also they don't use the car much except for few days in a month. Some people buy a very old car just to occupy parking space so that someone else cannot use their parking space.

Our first car was a second hand Premier Padmini and after that most people in our colony bought second hand Padmini or 800. When we bought a new Maruti 800 most of the people we know upgraded to Alto, 800 or used Santro etcetera. Those who can't afford anything just got their car repainted to show that their car is still new. When we bought WagonR then also many people whom are known to us upgraded to spark, esteem and so on. So this is basically the human nature of copying without looking after their requirement/ needs and finances.
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Old 10th July 2011, 20:03   #24
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

I remember when i was looking out for my first car.
I was hell bent on a used cielo. I wanted something big.
But my family explained that whatever it is, a new car is a better bet.
So i visited the Daewoo showroom, found the cielo a bit too expensive.
and fell in love with the Matiz.
No according to my girlfriend's friend the size of your car has a certain connection with a size of your something else.
And she was giggling away at me when i drove up in my new hatch.
the best part, a few months later her new boyfriend drives up in a padmini.
i had the last laugh, LOL!
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Old 10th July 2011, 21:07   #25
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

I have had a manager who drives a Santro (bought used) and has no qualms about it. He is an inspiration, and a poke in the face of all those who think bigger is better. If you drive in the city, smaller is better for the infrastructure and the environment. And, please carpool!
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Old 10th July 2011, 21:39   #26
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Man, in general, is a social animal. And he craves acceptability.

It is a fact that if someone is driving a Lambretta/Luna in a crowd which is driving Apaches, Pulsars or even Activas, he is bound to be looked down upon.

Don't believe me? A simple test.

Shift into a new colony with 2/3 BHK duplex homes, and drive in on a M800 during the shifting. See how many of your neighbors come forward to introduce themselves and try to be friendly with you. And if you replace the M800 with a City or even a latest hatch, watch the change in behaviour.

Same goes for someone working in an organisation, too. And the significance of what job he is doing in it.

"A man is known by the company he keeps." Old adage, but in this day and age it means what all he has with him, and how much he can show off. Latest mobiles, latest gadgets at home - microwave, huge fridge, AC, LCD/LED TVs, up-to-date vehicle, etc., is a given. He loads his drawing room with plenty of show pieces and he gets wows from the visitors. Isn't that the norm?

It is not just limited to the car he drives. It's pretty much everything else.

He may cherish old memories, and nostalgia is a lovely thing to have, but the Present is always there to give him a reality check and a slight nudge about where he stands. Let's face it - if he stands apart from the crowd, he is pretty much looked down upon, and left to be on his own.

So yes, someone in a Alto/800 will always look forward to the day he can get a Swift. A Santro guy will sigh whenever a sedan passes him by. A person in a Indigo will dream of a City/Corolla. Likewise, the chain continues.

"If they have something, I HAVE to have it too. Either the same, or better."

Last edited by RavenAvi : 10th July 2011 at 21:41.
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Old 11th July 2011, 02:10   #27
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Very nice thread and with very enlightening comments. Still, Let me try to play the devil’s advocate and tell the other side of the story. Comments and reprimands from seniors are happily welcome.
I am trying to buy my first car. I am 30, a doctor (Still studying, but earning 60K/m) and so is my wife (doctor, classmate, same earning). I have spent countless nights on TBHP to zero in on what I want....and realized that what my heart wants and what my head wants are completely different. Which brings me to this great thread.

My wifey, a very practical lady (with sudden outbursts of impracticality), says that altoK10, Santro, WagonR or i10 suits us the best. Reasons given by her:
1. Both of us have just learnt to drive (I had a bike, she never drove even a bi-cycle...but she loves driving now..). We need a small car - easy to drive and easy maintenance. We WILL bump here and there.
2. We drive in and around the city so no need for highway features.
3. We don't have kids and may be have one by next three yrs. So a small car is perfectly suited.
4. Its more about the feel of driving and less about the car..you moron!!
5. We are married now… we need cash to invest in house and other complicated investment stuff. You are not in college anymore!!
I said “think from your heart, not your head dear”…. “Buy me a Beetle, sweetheart” was her reply.

What she says makes perfect sense to my head. And I am a pretty logical person (I am holding on to my 5yr old Nokia without upgrading to Galaxys2, because the old phone works fine), and not the impulsive buyer type. But my heart wants….something different, something better.

I went on a test drive spree with my friends (many driving for as long as past 10 yrs). I don’t know much about turbos and lags…but I know about asthetics and feel. Where ever I went, which of these cars I drove…It felt wrong. It felt a choice of compromise. The plastic of WagonR was hideous, Music players costing 6k have better knobs and plastic quality. I10 appeared most promising….but on a Delhi summer with AC blower at 4 making tremendous noise we were barely cooled. Even Liva had excellent outer finish but inside the knobs and plastic is from junkyard. It seems that the auto industry is caught between giving features and cutting cost. Everything appears cheap/flimsy/eyewash. Chrome accents are not brushed aluminum…not even anodized plastic…they are silver coloured plastic….like a beggar wearing shiny clothes for a rich man’s look. Panel gaps gape, plastic edges protrude. Default speakers sound awful. My god, why give such speakers?

Late at night I remembered my uncle’s Ambassador. I might be wrong (because I was a child then) but as I remember, it was wonderfully solid. Chrome accents were metal. Things fit each other. Whatever little was there, was solid, not eyewash.

So not telling my wife, I went on to see one segment up cars. And I liked them. Polo: Wow, that’s what a car should look like (learn wagonr learn). Figo disel: WOW chiller AC, (silly i10), wow space. I20: WOW instrumentation, WOW for inside fit and finish. Ritz: surprisingly good feel inside, ummm back is a bit odd. Jazz: WOW everything. Punto: What beautiful curves.

Coming back I stared making up reasons why we need a bigger/costlier car.
1. We will be practicing Doctors in a year. A doctor in an Alto doesn’t go with the societal perception.
3. All my friends have bigger car, which means…every time we share car for movie or food or trip we will be hitching on their car. I won’t want to do that.
4. We are not going to sell it in the next five years…who knows what our requirements would be by then. Having a bigger car doesn’t hurt.
5. We can afford….it is within reach. It’s the first thing WE are buying together. Why not splurge a little.

However, at the back of my mind I knew that the chief reason is that the 3-5 lakh segment is bad. Not because its cheap (since when did 4 lakh rupees started appearing cheap to Indians?),but because this segment things are dealt with garishness, loudness and bling and shallow glitter. The next segment comes with sobriety and style. Class and subtlety comes at a segment that I don’t even dream now. I wish there was a 4 lakh car that had a good flowing shape, basic but solidly built interiors, a good engine with ac and slight breathing space. Electronic orvm, Bluetooth are all nice but not at a cost of a cheap dash.

Alas, that’s not going to be. So in-spite of all reasoning of brain I AM going to buy a segment up car. Just because they feel better. It will still be a compromise. I would love to buy a i20 disel asta or a Polo 1.6 or a Jazz…but I think I will settle for a Ford Figo Zxi Disel, because it is at the crossroad between the brain and the heart. It still has horrible chrome inserts in dash and door, but atleast most other things are in proper place. I guess that’s why so many people are zeroing in on Figo because currently it’s the car with the LEAST of COMPROMISES.

Sometimes I think, there was more “CAR” in our old M800 than is in the current wagonR. So buying a bigger car is not always vanity but it’s also a desperate attempt to escape cheapness.

Also a car is not a car but a dream that gives you wings. In 80s a car was the dream, It didn’t matter what kind, or what colour. Not only in India but world over. But now in 2011, Indian people have been shown the illicit dope dreams of consumerist luxury products. Once the drug has been given…normal appears so mundane. Is it so wrong then to dream a little big, and get a little more?
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Old 11th July 2011, 08:12   #28
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Interesting thread. Thank you.

I feel this whole topic of what car depends on various factors, and these factors differ from person to person. For someone who is upgrading from a motorbike to a car, even a Nano will feel like a 5-series. And someone who already drives a car, the aspiration to buy a bigger one is natural. Complete agree with what dot has mentioned in his post.

IMHO, the points you mentioned happen with two types of buyers (1) have lot of money, and cars are a way to express prosperity (2) people who really don’t know their cars, and are always looking out to see what friends / peers are doing.

For those who really like to drive and know their cars (like most of us here in this forum), what car decision is pretty straight forward. Your selection is based on what excites you within your budget. Look at most of the what car threads in the forum. In many cases, you will know the end decision from the details given in the OP itself. The thread will be just to confirm that decision

On a side note, when I bought my car in end 2003, the decision was pretty straightforward. A few months after the launch of Ford Ikon, I got a chance to drive it for a few mins in a factory compound in the outskirts of Bangalore, and that experience stayed with me. So when I had the means to buy a car, Ikon was the top priority option. I did test other options like Accent, Indigo, City and Lancer, and finally decided on the Ikon 1.3 Flair, went to the showroom and bought Ikon 1.6 ZXi (listen to the heart story).
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Old 11th July 2011, 09:42   #29
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Regional perceptions also come into play here. When I was in Mumbai, nobody cared that I drove an Indica. When I moved to Bangalore, in our housing society, I could see that what car you drove and what car you parked outside your house mattered, at least in terms of initial perception.

People take which company one works for (especially whether one works in the big IT companies) and which car one drives too seriously here. I miss the egalitarian Mumbai culture.
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Old 11th July 2011, 09:59   #30
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Default Re: Why does "What car" matter so much..

Sometimes, the very rich also buy low profile cars. The owners of Manipal group (Ramdas Pai, etc) are known to ride around in M800 and Ikon. Only the current generation is into imported cars.
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