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Old 6th March 2013, 11:47   #16
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

Custom-ordering in an absolute sense may not be feasible. The best they can do is offer a reasonable number of variants but that is a double-edged sword too. People who are very specific about what they want, will hopefully find a variant matching their needs but customers, arguably a large proportion, who don't know what exactly they'll want will end up being confused. I believe the perception with the Indica/Manza line up is of confusion. So it's surely not working.
Nevertheless, manufacturing processes, though extremely complicated could be designed for a high degree of customization but not sure if the customer would be willing to share the costs of such sophistication.
But I agree with the OP that it would be awesome!

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Old 6th March 2013, 12:50   #17
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

Custom made car is always a dream but not possible in reality due to many factors such as delivery time, cost, reliability etc. What companies can do is to give options at dealer level for various things. Also manufacturer should also provide some options open to customer. When i bought my Dzire Vxi, i wanted tires of bigger size which comes with Zxi, but i couldn't get it as a option as well when i was ready to pay extra :(

Company can offer following things as custom made option to buyers:

1 Color of dashboard. This is simple i guess. If some one wants full black, or black beige combo etc.
2 Airbags, ABS as an option.
3 Choice of grill. I have seen in US that companies offer different types of front grills to the customer.
4 Color Choice of seats. I guess this is also simple.

At Dealer level we can get:

1 Choice of tires. This should be simple IMO.
2 Choice of alloys.
3 Choice of Music system / speakers.

I am sure this list can be extended for some other items as well. Giving options to customer will make him happy at the end of the day for sure. Also he will be very happy to pay more if he is getting options. Manufacturer can also increase their profitability. In current situation where most manufacturers are struggling to increase sales, this kind of thing will attract more customers for them for sure. Companies like Honda, GM, Fiat. Renault etc can get benefit with such custom made cars
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Old 6th March 2013, 13:22   #18
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

I am sorry, but instead of offering safety features as options, I feel that at least active safety features like ABS/EBD(/ESP if required) should be standard on all cars. The higher volumes will make it cheaper for everyone to buy and implement. Active safety features will help make the roads that slight bit safer for everyone.

Passive safety features is something that the buyer can pick and choose as per their budget and priorities. For example, the person buying a Nissan Sunny / Tata Manza for Chauffeur driven comfort would be least interested in front airbags. Why not instead offer them Curtain airbags instead?
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Old 6th March 2013, 13:36   #19
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
Custom built cars do not make economic sense from the POV of a mass market car manufacturer in India.

The assembly lines are highly process driven. The combo of variants/ trim level/features etc., are decided only after a meticulous market research and the assembly line is programmed accordingly. Moreover, car makers like Maruti, Hyundai etc operate at 100% capacity leaving no room for such custom built cars.
But if you see the US market, which is the largest car market in the world by value and 2nd largest by volume, custom ordering has been a reality in the US market for many years - which is a much larger mass market compared to India. Just check out the website of any major US auto model and you will be dazzled with the options you have to customize - right from engine options to brake, tyre and wheel upgrades to interior specifics to the paint Job. For e.g. check out the following link, which is the page where you can customize your an F150 truck (its a utility vehicle and also the largest selling single car model in the US for many years - i.e. as mass market as it comes)


I think the market has to evolve to that point - one mfg needs to do it and everybody will follow suit. From an assembly line perspective, it is a challenge but not a challenge impossible to surmount. Its already done elsewhere.
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Old 6th March 2013, 13:43   #20
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

Personally, I would love it if I could add features that I need on top of a base model. I have nothing against trim levels, I just wish I car companies offered the option to customise.

For the vast majority of Indians buying cars, however ... our education system does not train us to make informed choices (observe an average middle class going-abroad-first-time Indian at a Subway or Cafe in US/Europe, you will know what I am on about). So, presented with a massively large list to choose from, we have brain-freeze. At which point, a smart salesman will make a killing, or the customer walks out never to return.

Dealers will need to be able to offer off-the-shelf delivery, and will pre-order cars with certain options to keep in stock. And if the manufacturer sees a trend in option combinations, they will start tuning their manufacturing process towards that product mix, which all leads to ... trim levels!

Question: How would such a customised car be valued in the used car market?

Last edited by KiloAlpha : 6th March 2013 at 13:48. Reason: clarity
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Old 6th March 2013, 14:51   #21
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Default Re: When will we be able to order / customize our cars online

As much as I would love to see the customizable options, its definitely not going to be practical. I know most folks would say "give it as an option for those who are willing to wait" but when it comes to reality of a car purchase, 9+ months of waiting is not really going to work out for most people. That would be the minimum timeframe to look at if we are going away from the automated mass production assembly lines to facilitate customization and the car model is in good demand.

Tata can try this on Aria. I don't think they managed to sell at least one specimen of each Aria variant in Feb anyway. May be this would help them understand how many variants they actually need to retain.

Fiat should be able to do this on Punto and Linea at least till the time they revamp their sales and service network. Atleast, that's supposed to be the reason they are selling less number of Puntos than Honda Jazz. They are definitely not selling the volumes that demand mass production and they can't possibly do worse than what they are currently doing. With making it fully customizable, they might be able to know the Indian customers better and prevent inventory pile up. Add to it the additional set of customers who might opt for a Fiat purely because of the price advantage due to customization.
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