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Old 22nd July 2011, 17:53   #1
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Default When will we be able to order / customize our cars online

I am writing this as I have seen abroad, a lot of cars can be customized and ordered online. Why dont we have the same here?

For example life would have been so much simpler if we could pay the booking amount online, choose the dealer, choose exterior colour, interior colour, options such as airbags, ABS, ESP, etc. The manufacturers can easily give a base varian and then you add on whatever you want at a price. Is it too much of a logistical issue?

Maybe not for all cars but why not cars which are portrayed as a lifestyle product. A good example that I can think of is Mahindra doing something like this for the Thar along with their customization department. I would love to order a Thar with the front (with headlights and indicators deep inside) and fenders of the Thar adventure as well as the power windows that it comes with. Then they can also offer something like black or stainless steel roll bar/ front bumper, etc. Would be fun and also will get the owner involved right from the start. It will also make them feel like they are truly buying a lifestyle product.

Is it just logistics or there are some rules associated to this?

I know its a dream but would love to see it being offered in India! Let me know what your thoughts are.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 18:11   #2
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Yes sarmarishi, i have also wished that we had this option. But looking at the rates the dealers charge for simple accessories and add ons it is best to buy the base product and get everything else done in the aftermarket.


But for selecting technology eg: ABS, Airbags, audio control on steering, leather upholstery etc, it would be nice to let the customer configure the final product.

And how many of us are sure that WYSIWYG when we buy online? What if the final outcome in person is not as one had imagined? It will not be easy to undo most of it.

Last edited by Technocrat : 22nd July 2011 at 23:48.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 22:19   #3
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Default Re: When will we be able to order/ customize our cars online

Any such cars which should have customization will come only with additional cost.
With the indian market being so cost centric to the extent that even Rs 10K makes such difference in such a scenario dont think such a trend will come into India at all.
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Old 23rd July 2011, 17:39   #4
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Default Re: When will we be able to order/ customize our cars online

You'll see it on premium cars where the margins are high & production lines not necessarily high volume, thus allowing for flexibility. Actually, some premium brands in India already offer heavy customisation options.

However, with sub-10 lakh rupee cars, I doubt you'll be seeing any customisation at the factory level. Remember, the i20 line rolls off 300 - 400 cars every working day, and that's not even counting export demand. The more the inconsistency, the higher the cost (in terms of $$$ & time).
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Old 24th July 2011, 01:50   #5
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Default Re: When will we be able to order/ customize our cars online

Hindustan Motors during its better times offered a Customization program for the Lancer (www.mylancer.com). It had a dedicated website for it where you could customize the car and save the profile for purchase when you are ready. The company had dedicated a special day every month for this. Such options were also available via the dealer. The program bombed afaik.

http://www.chennaibest.com/cityresou...e/mylancer.asp

Volkswagen also offers the same with the Polo. Before buying the Jazz I was sold on the polo 1.6. I had customized my polo 1.6 with larger alloys, Touchscreen navigation system, upholstery and other goodies. I do not know if they still have the options available.

Last edited by devarshi84 : 24th July 2011 at 01:52.
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Old 24th July 2011, 09:36   #6
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Default Re: When will we be able to order/ customize our cars online

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarmarishi View Post
I am writing this as I have seen abroad, a lot of cars can be customized and ordered online. Why dont we have the same here?
Not sure if you can submit the configuration online. I have seen many international manufacturer website where you can configure your car and finally take that saved configuration to the dealer (print or email).

As GTO mentioned, this is available in some premium brands in India; for e.g.; Mercedes India website. Mercedes-Benz India -.

VW India has customization option for Polo (they had it for Vento as well, but now missing). But it works in a different way. What they do is to allow the customer to choose the trim/variant, choose the car color, and work with the limited optional accessories. Even that is a good option so that the customer can have an idea of what s/he want before heading to the dealership.
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Old 24th July 2011, 12:04   #7
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Default Re: When will we be able to order/ customize our cars online

As pointed out in earlier replies, it costs more money to offer ex-factory customization options.

But one thing i would like to see (actually, i believe it should be compulsary on every vehicle) is options to add safery features like ABS, Airbags to any varient of a vehicle.

Why am I shoved aesthetic extras when all i want is some safety features ??

Because of the extra cost associated with the higher models, a lot of the buyers opt out of the higher models thus skimping on safety.
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Old 24th July 2011, 13:07   #8
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Default Re: When will we be able to order/ customize our cars online

As GTO and others indicated, it boils down of economies of scale. When manufacturing volumes a single consistent approach (read - fitment) yields better turnover.

At the same time time though customization for the top-end model is doable. In most top end models safety features are a standard which means additions could be trims, ICE, better shoes, body kits. Buying a car in India is as celebrated event as buying a house hence customising at the comfort of your house will give an opportunity for all members of he family to see the car right from its birth. That way a potentail owner would have valuable inputs from his family before taking the plunge
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Old 24th July 2011, 13:29   #9
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Smile Re: When will we be able to order/ customize our cars online

When you offer customization there would be no discounts or bargaining available which is very much imp to the Indian customer who take a pride in getting the cost of the car reduced even if by 5K or something, its an achievement for him.

Also if the customization is offered how would the car be delivered, again through the dealers whose lobby would never allow to be done so since it would affect their margin earnings.

I am all for customization but not too much.
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Old 24th July 2011, 16:00   #10
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Default Re: When will we be able to order/ customize our cars online

Once purchasing Indian Railways or airlines tickets online was a fantasy; now you can plan your trip, choose your berth, decide type of meals and other goodies that we have almost taken for granted.

Likewise it may not be far when we can not only choose car features and accessories online, but we can also make the purchase with our online credit credibilities, get loans approved, buy insurance and complete RTO transactions also online.

Actually none of this needs anymore technology that what is already prevalent and existing. The implementation will take time as it is a mindset change. Such a change in automotive is challenging due to the linked nature of the industry (suppliers, logistics, controls) and number of people and bodies involved.
But it will come.
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Old 6th March 2013, 10:00   #11
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Default Custom ordering a car

Haven't we always wondered if ABS could be available across all variants of a particular car but never found that to be true in reality and had to go for a top variant and pay extra just for ABS and in turn also end up paying for other features which we don't necessarily need or use? By now, you should have got an idea where I am heading towards.

What I desire for is - a customer should have the option of selecting only those options which are needed instead of having to choose from say 3 models only. Example - LXI, VXI and ZXI. Instead, they can have a base variant with a base price and give the customer an option to add features which will have corresponding cost associated to it. Can we not have this kind of true "custom ordering" in our country? I know this will mean you cannot get the car right off the shelf but will have to wait for it. But wouldn't the wait be worth it? I mean you get only what you want and not what you have been given. For example Ford's US website allows you to build a car but I still feel even that is not a proper custom order.

It would be such a customer friendly thing. Your thoughts on this folks.

Mods: I searched and couldn't find a thread on this. Please merge if a similar one exists.
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Old 6th March 2013, 10:14   #12
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

A very good idea, something even I have always thought.

I remember when checking out Dell's website where we could easily configure a system according to our needs, I imagined wouldn't it be great to build a car like this.
Though it may sound easy but in reality it would be a huge task to put everything in place.

May be some manufacturer who is not having a huge number of sales can come forward with this initiative.
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Old 6th March 2013, 10:23   #13
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

Ideally we should have the option of ordering what we want. Would make life so much easier and actually give us the cars we want.

This is actually more profitable for companies because they charge you more per item they put in, rather than bundling it all together in two or three variants.

It would actually lead to more people choosing safety gadgets like ABS hopefully because just that would be cheaper than the top of the line model.

Now, I have just one question. How do we go about getting manufacturers to follow this policy.
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Old 6th March 2013, 10:31   #14
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

Quote:
Originally Posted by MYB View Post
Can we not have this kind of true "custom ordering" in our country? I know this will mean you cannot get the car right off the shelf but will have to wait for it
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.

Manufacturing a custom built car would essentially mean that every car that moves in the assembly line would need a different sent of components/ accessories etc. This will take a toll on the productions schedule and would result in higher production costs.

Apart from the production hurdles, inventory storage, handling and logistics are other critical factors that makes custom built cars economically nonviable.

This is the primary reason why most of the special edition/ limited edition cars have features that are added off the assembly line/ dealer warehouse.

I guess this concept is quite feasible in the west because the auto industry over there is in the maturity phase and they are likely to have huge surplus capacity.

Here's an excellent pictorial which explains the intricacies of the assembly line. The Ford factory pictorial should explain why custom built cars are not possible for companies like ford, maruti etc.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...s-fiestas.html (PICS : Ford's Chennai Factory. Detailed report on the making of Figos, Fiestas...)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...making-xj.html (PICS : Jaguar's Castle Bromwich (UK) Factory. Detailed report on the making of the XJ)

Last edited by Warwithwheels : 6th March 2013 at 10:49.
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Old 6th March 2013, 10:56   #15
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Default Re: Custom ordering a car

If I remember correctly, Toyota had tried this with the Qualis. They just had a base model and 30 odd options that you could choose from.
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