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Old 1st March 2012, 18:13   #31
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

If wishes were horses ... I would ride a Swift Sport!

I love hot hatches. Maybe more than I love my wife, actually. I have needed a hot hatch ever since I had to leave the UK (and my Golf GTi Mk2) behind. And, looking at the number of performance modded cars around, I would think there is a market for hot hatches. Albeit a small one. Current options are only tepid hatches - Polo and Fabia 1.6.

I just wonder how many people actually would want to buy the Polo or Fabia 1.6 but back out because of VW Group's reputation for after sales service? What if Maruti launched the Swift Sport? I am not hopeful.

Given the large number of us doing performance mods, how about manufacturers supporting independent garages to "upgrade" a standard hatch (like a Punto) into a hot hatch with the T-Jet engine? Wouldn't that work?
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Old 1st March 2012, 18:17   #32
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

I feel that any manufacturer in India will have to look at one big thing which is volumes. Unlike the West, in India you cannot run operations by selling just a few hundred and yet make a profit. Here, you have to hire labour and continue paying for them even if you run into losses. You cannot even shut shop (you can sell it off, but cannot shut factories because of our age-old exit laws). That is why he cannot price it competitively while manufacturing it here in India. So, any manufacturer will first look at what is selling most and then try to marginally better that offering. Isn't that why we see all cars differing only in aesthetics at most save a few knick-knacks here and there?

The other reason, as someone mentioned earlier, is the condition of roads here. I would love to rip a 200+ ps car down the city road. But I am sure I will have to break equally hard within a few hundred metres becase the road has been dug up or because people are walking on the road since the footpath has been taken over by hawkers.

I do not think price is a decision maker or breaker. At best its an influencer in the Indian market. Honda broke the 'price/ VFM' rule with its petrol only offering at high prices. Price is not the issue. The problem is with the poor infrastructure we have to put up with in every city.

That, according to me, is the reason powerful cars don't sell here.
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Old 1st March 2012, 18:44   #33
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

I think we must ask where are the buyers? Less demand, so no models, simple. We havent been able to see Autoboxs in most models, where is the question of hot hatch.

And the market needs to mature too. Manufacturers cant survive on niche markets like enthusiasts. We are slowly getting to the point where buyers are ready to invest 7L+ on hatches.

I am sure we will see the hot hatches like Golf and Swift sport in a few years. Hope the manufacturers dont downgrade us by bringing in low end hatches.
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Old 1st March 2012, 18:57   #34
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Let me put a different spin on this. Will the kind of driving skills most of us encounter on the highway or inside the city, I would not be comfortable knowing that anyone with 6-7L buying budget can buy a hatch which is too powerful for his or her own good, let alone others.

Someone may argue that the same holds true for modded cars, but im my (debatable) opinion, there exists a category of drivers not educated enough even for such endeavors, and somehow I'm relieved they do not have 150 plus BHP Swifts, since they are a menace enough with the existing ones.

Point being, are we as a society and a nation(and this is from an infrastructure point of view as well) developed enough to handle such vehicles?

Last edited by avisidhu : 1st March 2012 at 19:03.
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Old 1st March 2012, 19:04   #35
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
On a recent Top Gear Episode, James May reviewed the corsa.Powered by a 1.6 liter turbo Petrol, pumping a healthy 202bhp.

He did not like it, and maybe that Nurburing thing made it impractical, but I could not help lamenting about the sorry state of sub 10 lakh space in India.


What say? Isn't it time we had a sub 7L hatch with a 150bhp turbo petrol engine?
Will somebody ever make such a car?

As we all know the primary issue that decides what a customer gets at price point X is what the manufacturer incurs as cost and the selling price the manufacturer can hope to realise and the quantity of the product the manufacturer can hope to sell.

Secondly WRT automobiles there is the attendant issue of running costs primarily fuel , very relevant in today's context. Here comes in the race to tout high FE numbers even if it means diluted performance.

Put the two considerations together you have a market place looking for a frugal vehicle at a reasonable price.

To me atleast, the hot hatch segment by definition will not be a volume play given FE considerations. Following from this it shall be a low volume segment. Some manufacturer may venture in this direction as a brand building exercise if at all they do.They however accomplish this by launching higher end sedans, so why would they look at hot hatches?

So the probability of a hot hatch being made available to Indian enthusiasts seems quite low to me atleast.

Last edited by RS_DEL : 1st March 2012 at 19:23.
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Old 1st March 2012, 19:52   #36
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
..
So is it lack of courage. Or simple lack of imagination. Or is it the obsession with the bottom line, due to which creativity and foolhardiness are sacrificed at the alter of fuel efficiency?

What say? Isn't it time we had a sub 7L hatch with a 150bhp turbo petrol engine?
Will somebody ever make such a car?
I think there is nothing called as lack of courage.
They are here into business and anything that makes money they will provide.
Until other wise there is some commercial visibility for the model a manufacturer need not invest in selling them.
Good thing is that they have required power trains which will be released when the market ripes.

Off late the the question of Courage holds good for this also..

"Why are manufactures not coming up with some hot Cabriolets and Convertibles under 10 lks?"
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Old 1st March 2012, 19:57   #37
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Forget about TRUE hot hatch mate. It's never going to happen. Continue watching TG instead.

I just want the damn manufacturers to let us BUYERS choose the Engine, Variant and options etc. atleast within their bouquet of vehicles.

Let's consider the below options. Do we say that there's not a market for this? I bet it isn't going to cost a bomb.
Name:  Hatch.jpg
Views: 812
Size:  18.9 KB

This is the first step to test the waters for consumer preference. You give a high powered engine option in the highest variant and cry there isn't a market? That's a farce.

Answer to the thread title: Hell, yes and don't blame the buyers. There was a market where 1.3L esteem engines were plonked into Zens. Wouldn't have they bought it from the showroom itself if it was offered?

Last edited by kiku007 : 1st March 2012 at 19:58.
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Old 1st March 2012, 20:30   #38
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by asr245 View Post
a 200bhp hot hatch at 10L. The nearest car/SUV with that kind of power costs more than twice so I doubt if a 10L price would be possible. Would force others to cut price because of the unsaid rule in India "bigger car cannot be slower than the smaller one"
How many people will you think buy a small car at 10L ( which is also a very optimistic price) which will return them non existent FE? I don't think many. And hence my observation that there is no market for such cars.
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Old 1st March 2012, 20:41   #39
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

I think the Palio S10 and the Chevy Optra hatch (SRV??) both tried and failed.

It remains to be seen how the Polo 1.6 will fare.

IMO this is a niche market but still worth pursuing for image reasons (a halo car for the brand)
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Old 1st March 2012, 21:05   #40
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

I agree, but what needs to be looked into is the pricing. The Corsa you are talking about would cost us 19 lakhs here in India. Plus with the rubbish govt. policies, it would be hard for any manufacturer to price it under 10 lakhs. And even if they are priced @ Rs 10 lakhs, the number of buyers would be fairly limited. People would straightaway look at its size, then at its FE figures and then would go and buy a Hyundai Verna.

Talking about hot-hatches in India, the maximum you can probably expect is a Fiat Punto with the T-JET from the Linea, a different set of wheels and an extra set of graphics. That's it! If any thing other than that is launched, it would have a price-tag that would make people laugh and in simple words it would be a bad business move.

Last edited by GTO : 5th March 2012 at 10:59. Reason: No inappropriate language on Team-BHP please
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Old 1st March 2012, 21:06   #41
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Thanks for the thread, very relevant indeed, especially when cars like the 1.3 Swift D, or the likes of VW Polo 1.6 are considered as hot hatches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Look at Tata. They have prototype 150bhp engines, ready to go into Indica chassis. Hyundai sure has some nice 2 liter 200bhp engines.
Ditto for Maruti. How difficult will it be for them to have a 1.5 liter 160-170bhp engine.
But what do we have here for a Hot hatch?

So is it lack of courage. Or simple lack of imagination. Or is it the obsession with the bottom line, due to which creativity and foolhardiness are sacrificed at the alter of fuel efficiency?
What say? Isn't it time we had a sub 7L hatch with a 150bhp turbo petrol engine?

Will somebody ever make such a car?
I don’t think the reason is just lack of courage. A few reasons I can think of:
  1. To start with, our market needs to have a taste of successful premium hatchbacks. Even a regular hatchback like Liva or Swift cost around 7 lakhs on-road, which means a slightly premium hatchback will cost around 8-10 lakhs. If that segment opens up well, then we have a hope of getting some great cars in.
  2. Even in matured markets, a hot hatch is almost same (or even more costly) than a regular C Segment sedan. For e.g.; a Polo GTI maybe priced same as a 1.4 TSI Jetta.
  3. Tata may have 150 bhp engines which is production ready, but that alone will not serve the purpose of creating a hot hatch. Same is the case with Suzuki or a Hyundai. Infact, such an engine in the current Indica could be a disaster. They will have to improve the car overall, which again will result in higher price. Just as an example, the Suzuki Swift Sport, which is the poor man’s hot hatch in developed Asian markets, has these safety features to start with – light, stiff, impact-absorbing body, seven airbags (including curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag), ESP etc.
As a starter, I hope the mainstream manufacturers show some courage (and a flair in pricing and marketing) to launch decent hatchbacks with modern engines and feature list at a reasonable price, and then they start eyeing the hot hatch market. IMHO, we need to have hatchbacks like VW Golf, Fiat Bravo, and Fiesta etc. in our markets, before we start dreaming of hot hatches like the Golf GTI, Fabia vRS etc.

Last edited by vb-san : 1st March 2012 at 21:08. Reason: incomplete first line amended
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Old 1st March 2012, 21:37   #42
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Hot hatch = higher fuel consumption = perception tarring the whole range = kiss of death for that model (In India). The Alto K10 is pushed in the showroom for better FE, not more power!
Add to that the substantial costs for the manufacturer (not immediately apparent) in introducing a niche car. And lack of diversity of parts in any manufacturers parts bin. In India, a hot hatch becomes economically unviable for both manufacturer and buyer. Even after one factors in the PR/ halo effect.

The only manufacturer who could have pulled it off (essentially because their parts bin was diverse enough) was Maruti. But there bean-counters rule.

Regards
Sutripta

Last edited by Sutripta : 1st March 2012 at 21:42.
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Old 1st March 2012, 22:04   #43
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Two words, wont sell.

Me, you or maybe 10 more people would buy it, and thats it, it would not be practical for companies to bring a car, which ultimately will sell only 5 in a month.
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Old 1st March 2012, 22:22   #44
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Everything will ultimately boil down to one person, i.e, the customer!

Most of us, even we consider the enthusiast lot, would love to see these Hot Hatchbacks on sale/road, but only Lord knows how many of us would actually go and buy one. And as long as any manufacturer doesn't see a potent force of enthusiasts ranting for these cars, it's very unlikely for them to even give it a second thought.

What do we have close to a hot hatchback in India on-sale currently? A Polo or Fabia 1.6. How many 1.6 do you spot daily compared to normal Polo/Skoda? So far, I have only been able to spot 1 Polo 1.6 and no Fabia 1.6 on-road. And if I could notice that, the market-studying honcho from leading car manufacturing firms can too.

It could also be that they are noticing our rants silently. But, what can they do about it? I mean, when apparently more than 90% of the customers are unwilling to buy any hot hatch, why would they bother taking up the risks? The second and the only way left for them, so as to satiate the enthusiast's power thirst, is to import these car from their bases in abroad. Again, the high-duties is the cause of despondency for both the enthusiast and the manufacturer!

It would be erroneous of us to tag car-manufacturers cowardly or blame them completely for not launching hot/powerful hatchbacks. The customer or average Indian car buyer lacks the courage too; he/she should be blamed equally for this Hot-hatchback drought!
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Old 1st March 2012, 22:56   #45
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

We DO NOT have the INFRASTRUCTURE for these kind of cars. Plain and simple.

We are a nation of senseless and uneducated drivers.

How many times have we seen on the highways:
-Santro driven at 120+
-i10 driven at 130+
-Swift driven at 140+
-Vernas driven at 150+
-Scorpios driven at 120+

How stable are these vehicles at these speeds? Imagine stopping from such speeds!

Now imagine a 200hp 'hot' hatch in the hands of these people! Already the number of accidents on our highways are on the rise exponentially. How do you ensure that all people who drive hot hatches drive sensibly?

P.S. I understand not all accidents are due to 'high' speeds but our highways are not safe for speeds above 100 for cars and 70-80 for motorcycles.
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