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Old 5th October 2011, 02:58   #1
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Lightbulb Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-bhp

The idea behind this thread is to create a ready reckoner for the BHPians while hunting for a new car. Long-term reliability and hassle-free ownership is a vital decision factor that most people need to take into account, and sometimes many forget to! A prospective car buyer also gets several conflicting views from different quarters and is at a loss.

When I was in the market to buy a car some time back, a well-meaning 'Car buff' was out to convince me that Volkeswagen cars are more reliable and trouble free as compared to Toyota! Similarly, another 'expert' friend warned me, purely out of good intentions, against buying a car of Japanese descent, as they do not last half as much as American/European cars! Thank God, I had Team-BHP to fall back upon and put their assertions to test. I did get the requisite guidance from the community but no specific dedicated thread to get the general feeling of the community on this aspect.

So here is an attempt to create a useful reference guide.

The following are the major parameters for consideration:
  1. Long-term reliability: This indicates the inherent reliability of the car meaning no breakdowns and essentially free of any niggles. This arises out of well thought out design and excellent manufacturing practices. (For details on this, pl. look up the thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...liability.html (Factors Affecting Reliability)) A good resale value for the cars of a particular brand is also a good indicator to this factor. I would place 70% weightage to this factor.
  2. A.S.S.: The quality and reach of A.S.S. can be assigned balance 30% weightage. The quality of A.S.S. would include competence of service personnel to promptly identify and resolve problems, availability of spares, spares pricing, willingness to satisfy customer, courteous behaviour, etc. While reach of the service network is very important, I would not give it undue importance as, IMHO, the Indian marketplace is really hotting up and most of the world biggies are soon going to have enough numbers on their boards for a good enough network, thereby neutralizing any significant advantage to the existing major players.

The list of brands considered are given below in alphabetical order (Am I missing out any player?). Only the popular car manufacturers have been considered for the purpose to make this guide relevant for majority of the users. Accordingly, the luxury brands do not find a place. Also, Mitsubishi & Renault have been ignored for their miniscule presence. At the same time, Nissan finds mention for having seriously expressed its intent in the country with Micra and Sunny.
  1. Chevrolet
  2. Fiat
  3. Ford
  4. Honda
  5. Hyundai
  6. Mahindra
  7. Maruti
  8. Nissan
  9. Skoda
  10. Tata
  11. Toyota
  12. Volkeswagen

Let me now invite the views of esteemed BHPians.

Last edited by GTO : 7th October 2011 at 14:55. Reason: Sorry, ranked poll isn't possible on the forum
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Old 5th October 2011, 03:02   #2
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Here is my modest take on the rankings:
  1. Toyota (undisputedly?)
  2. Maruti (The ubiquitous good quality A.S.S. with cheap spares gives it an edge over Honda, despite those rattles!)
  3. Honda (Inherently more reliable than Maruti, but A.S.S. neither as widespread nor considered as good)
  4. Hyundai
  5. Nissan (Can get ahead once they establish themselves in the country)
  6. Mahindra (Great reach, rugged vehicles)
  7. Volkeswagen (Ordinary A.S.S.)
  8. Ford
  9. Chevrolet
  10. Tata (Oh, those quality niggles and A.S.S.! Got a great network though!)
  11. Skoda (A.S.S. horror stories put them this behind)
  12. Fiat (Been in the country for long with little success; keeps the buyer perpetually on the tenterhooks about A.S.S.)

Last edited by RadiantKarma : 6th October 2011 at 15:26.
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Old 7th October 2011, 15:01   #3
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!

Here is a somewhat related thread : Brand Perceptions (Perception, Price and Looks : The factors that sell a car)

Here's my list (added some brands to your list):

The most hassle-free to own:

Toyota
Maruti
Honda
Hyundai
BMW (thanks in no small part to the all-inclusive service packages)

Neutral

Chevrolet
Ford
Nissan

Poor after-sales and / or unreliable nature

Audi
Tata
Fiat
Skoda
VW
Mahindra
Mercedes
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Old 7th October 2011, 15:08   #4
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

I would just say the most hassle free
Honda
Toyota (by what I hear)
Hyundai
Maruti.

Why I rate Hyundai higher than Maruti is that parts are more durable, and does not tend to rattle in 45000km/5 years.
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Old 7th October 2011, 15:33   #5
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

This is a useful thread indeed. I think I'll list out the cars which I've ranked as top three hassle free and top let down. I'm only going to go with the brands I've known:

Top Three Hassle Free:

1. Hyundai (personal experience - felt like more quality at a lesser price. The A.S.S. I've found depends on the franchisee, but I guess I was lucky. Didn't have any issues)

2. Maruti (Family feedback)

3. Toyota (Nuff said)

Top Let Down

1. Tata (Safari owner's horror story convinced me not to go for this car - A.S.S. is like they're trying to punish you for something)
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Old 7th October 2011, 16:07   #6
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Neutral

Chevrolet

Poor after-sales and / or unreliable nature

Audi
Fiat
Skoda
VW
Going by your list, do you feel stand-alone companies manage things better than the big conglomerates, with a few exceptions of course?

I feel GM lost their creditibility with the way they handled the Opel brand and brought in Chevrolet.

Similarly, VW-Audi-Skoda are all in the same family and have consistently proven that they don't care about customer satisfaction post-sale. Fiat has just not managed to get their journey in India right.

On the other hand, Toyota, Maruti, Honda are all going great.

Last edited by GTO : 7th February 2012 at 15:13. Reason: Second time; please do NOT use inappropriate language on Team-BHP
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Old 7th October 2011, 16:36   #7
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
I would just say the most hassle free
Honda
Toyota (by what I hear)
Hyundai
Maruti.

Why I rate Hyundai higher than Maruti is that parts are more durable, and does not tend to rattle in 45000km/5 years.
Sir,
I am not sure if mine is a one off case, but I have heard a lot of Accent CRDi's that lasted around 70 to 80k kms. I owned one long back and it started giving me lots of problems @76k kms. Now due to that I am skeptical about buying a Hyundai Diesel Vehicle.
If you consider the diesel vehicles, I would rate Maruti (Or say Fiat Engine) higher than Hyundai just because of gem of DDiS engine.

But for petrol vehicles, I am neutral between both the brands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Neutral

Ford
Nissan

Poor after-sales and / or unreliable nature

Mahindra
I would like to know more about the above 3 brands in your quote as to why you have put it there

Nissan: Also I have heard great things about Nissan's reliability. Are you putting Nissan in Neutral category just because it is a new entrant in India?

Ford: I would put Ford as Poor after-sales / unreliable nature especially due to the fact that there are some Figo problems related thread in team-bhp itself. Also a couple of my friends have sold their new Figos for the exact same reasons. So why neutral?
Also the Ford parts were really expensive. Not sure about their costs now.

Mahindra: I have not come across too many Mahindra car problems (Apart from rattles or A.S.S). For me Mahindra comes into the neutral category.

In short my list is same as GTO with Ford moving into poor category while Mahindra moving up into the neutral category.
For a diesel vehicle though, I will put Hyundai in the neutral category especially because of my problems with Accent CRDi. Petrol Hyundais are good though.
(I cannot comment on a BMW as none of my friends used it for long term).

Last edited by himavanth_m : 7th October 2011 at 16:37.
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Old 7th October 2011, 16:42   #8
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Lets also take in to account the volume that each of these manufacturers generate. With no offence to Toyota, they are yet to see the big numbers that Maruti / Hyundai / Tata see as of now.
1) Maruti
2) Honda
3) Hyundai
4) Toyota
5) GM
6) Ford
7) Fiat
8) Tata.

I have not included nissan / renault since they are just getting in to the mass market and they do not actually have sufficient dealerships / service centers that the above have.
Let me also tell you why I have placed Maruti first. The fact that they sell at least 60-80k vehicles every month and only a very few number of them face any serious reliability issues. And secondly A.S.S, every single customer is handled mostly pretty decently and there is a feddback call for even a small complaint or even a part change. I recently changed rear view mirrors for my wife's alto { from the standard ones to the adjustable ones} and I got a call back asking me if I was satisfied with the fitment! To me this is a very good practice in spite of doing such numbers every single day. And most service centers that I have been are very courteous.
If Toyota can exceed this level set by Maruti even while doing 50% of Maruti's volumes, then you can truly call Toyota no 1.
I have also rated hyundai below Honda as their approach is not always transparent. If you look the whole way that they managed the steering rattle issues in i20 & i10, it was very much of an "you ask & we will reply" sort of thing and they did not attempt to reach out to customers who may not have been aware of such an issue.
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Old 7th October 2011, 17:36   #9
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

My top three would be:

Honda

Having owned a city since 1999 and other hondas (brothers civic) in the family, i am extremely happy with the service and the reliablity of the cars. Even after 11 years of ownership, the city runs free of any problems, provided serviced well. Re-sale value of Hondas is also among the best.

Maruti

Had owned a Zen a few years back. The sheer number of service centers gives amazing reach and flexiblity. Service is usually courteous and Maruti's hold on to their value quiet well.

Toyota

Purely based on what i hear. Although, the recent Etios launch has dented their reputation of solid reliablity and hassle free ownership in my mind alteast.

I would probably never want to own a Skoda again inpsite of the lovely cars that they make. Having read enough dreadful stories about their dealerships, shoddy response from the company on complaints have made me decide to boycott their products.
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Old 7th October 2011, 17:53   #10
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post

Why I rate Hyundai higher than Maruti is that parts are more durable, and does not tend to rattle in 45000km/5 years.
Sir, with respect, I disagree with this. Look at the troubles faced by i20 owners. The steering, which is such a critical component in a car, rattles so horribly. For me, it started with less than 500 kms on the odometer. Its been nothing short of a nightmare trying to get my car rectified. Its keeps on recurring no matter what fix they try. To this day the rattle persists and Hyundai have all but given up on the issue. only temporary fixes are being done.Hyundai covers the issue till the car is under warranty and After warranty expires, I don't know what sort of horrible fate awaits me. The way I was treated by these great Hyundai wallahs is something else too and I don't think any manufacturer would go as low as calling genuine concerns of a customer to be madness.

Yes, hyundai used to make good cars when it first came to India but not anymore. The Accent that we owned was brilliant while the i20 we own now is the exact opposite. If I had to rate Hyundai, it would be at the bottom amongst all manufacturers!!!!!

Last edited by skanchan95 : 7th October 2011 at 18:01.
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Old 7th October 2011, 18:04   #11
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
Why I rate Hyundai higher than Maruti is that parts are more durable, and does not tend to rattle in 45000km/5 years.
That is a thing of the past. The i generation vehicles rattles from the start.

Hyundai produces good looking vehicle with very good features- that's all.

They don't know the basic stuff of how to solve the problems/defects in the car they produce. They don't even acknowledge the problems in their car like FIAT, HONDA and others do.
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Old 7th October 2011, 18:44   #12
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Seriously, why shouldn't this be a part of the existing thread
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-sell-car.html (Perception, Price and Looks : The factors that sell a car)? That way all the aspects and discussions with respect to the brands would stay at one place and indeed this is related to the Brand Perceptions given various aspects.

My list would be quite similar to GTO's except trimmed as I do not want to comment about ones I do not have experience/heard of first-hand/read. (Sorry GTO copying from your post, will save much efforts)

Toyota
Maruti
Honda
Hyundai (inspite of niggles seen)

Neutral

Chevrolet
Ford (improved)
Nissan (needs just time to catch up with Toyota and Honda to move up)

Poor after-sales and / or unreliable nature

Tata
Fiat
Mahindra

Especially, Nissan all over the world is pitted against the 2 other Japs, Toyota and Honda, and is often in the consideration among the 3 when purchasing cars and deemed to be as reliable as the other two. They are just beginning their innings in India and quite a few line-up to come up in future.

Last edited by parsh : 7th October 2011 at 18:45.
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Old 7th October 2011, 19:20   #13
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

I would rate both MSIL and HMIL on the same band.One edge HMIL has is that they offer 6 mnths waranty on spares which i believe no other brand selling volumes are offering.Then i would rate toyota ,honda(with all the poor network even though they are eyeing on smaller segment cars with the brio and the jazz),mitsubishi,GM,nissan at par with volkswagen,tata.I wonder why all of you left out mitsubishi??

ram
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Old 7th October 2011, 19:43   #14
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

Most hassle free - All from personal experience of driving them for many thousands kms.
1. Toyota
2. Honda
3. Mitsubishi

I have also driven Hyundai and Maruti but both the brands did keep presenting with some complaints be it some rattles or some part malfunctioning and needing change.
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Old 7th October 2011, 20:06   #15
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Default Re: Reliability and hassle-free ownership: Perceptions of popular car brands on Team-

With my experience , I'd rate Maruti a clear winner here on the reliability front ; would not say the same about their service.

Toyota,Honda and Mitsubishi come next on the reliability front.Availability of genuine spares in the open market is a pain,though.
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