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Old 2nd March 2012, 11:52   #61
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Originally Posted by blue_pulsar View Post
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.
Couldn't agree more. We lack the infrastructure and the traffic sense for such vehicles, even if majority of enthusiasts think otherwise.

I drive on a so called NH, and even when the traffic is negligible, never dare to speed beyond 120 because you never know what you might encounter. And just then, a swift merrify zips by at 140 odd, without a care in the world!

Have encountered bus drivers who overtake on a single road without even bothering that a vehicle is coming from the front. All you can do is brake hard and get your car off tarmac. Adding even faster vehicles to such chaotic traffic doesn't sound like a good idea I'm afraid
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Old 2nd March 2012, 12:02   #62
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Completely agree with blue_pulsar. The number of traffic-accident fatalities in India is staggering. Yes, new, better roads, freeways etc. are being built, but the thing is most people don't seem to follow rules.
I've seen this first hand in Bangalore many many times, especially near the NICE road. Even so-called 'educated' people with flashy cars, blatantly ignore basic traffic laws - like sticking to a lane, or using the indicators when changing lanes. Then you get an overloaded truck in the middle of the fast lane doing 20km/h.

Imagine adding "hot hatches" to this mix. Now that is a scary thought.

Improve the infrastructure first, introduce stricter licensing laws, educate drivers about basic road rules. These are basic steps that need to be taken to reduce the road toll and make driving more pleasurable in India.
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Old 2nd March 2012, 12:06   #63
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

A hot hatch is more than just a regular hatch with a powerful engine, and that has some repercussions in the Indian context:

First and foremost, you can't run a hot hatch with a soft suspension and 65 profile tyres, you would roll over at the first corner. On the other hand, after a few days of driving in a hatchback with performance tyres and suspension on Indian roads, you would have to check yourself into a hospital for spinal problems. I'm not sure which would hurt more, the back problems or your significant other's refusal to get in your car due to the harsh ride.

Secondly, good alloys cost a bomb, you would learn of this after the first pothole at speed, I'm guessing within a km or two of taking delivery of the car.

Finally, low ride height is a requirement for good handling on a hatch, in other words, your range would be limited to the stretch between where you park the car and the nearest speedbreaker.

Now, if you're willing to put up with all these for a true hot hatch, hats off to you, you have my respect. Fortunately, I don't share the same views.

(Please note, the exaggerations are half in jest :P, but I believe I have got my point across).
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Old 2nd March 2012, 15:50   #64
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Note from the Team-BHP Support : Please avoid typing with excessive dots.........like................this. Thanks

Reasons are much more than a simple lack of infrastructure, road discipline etc.

Density of traffic is much more than in most other countries. Also, the mode of transportation on the same road is much varied...tractors, slow moving trucks, carts, two-wheelers, cars, buses....every mode has to share the same space.

Speed breakers are essential. Life is more important than the effort required to change gears or press throttle. Ofcourse, there are many badly designed ones but there must be a standard design for them. On a regularly travelled stretch of 60 kilometres, I counted 21 speed breakers. These are so well designed that you hardly feel there are so many.

By the way, how is Punto 90 doing?

Last edited by GTO : 5th March 2012 at 11:03. Reason: Please avoid typing with excessive dots.........like................this.
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Old 2nd March 2012, 16:13   #65
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Hot Hatch Concept is a distant dream for us Indians.

I would blame following:

1) Mentality - India is still treated as third world country. Don't look at the auto companies in the market but look at what they provide! If a manufacturer cannot provide a car identical to what they are selling in other countries, I really don't expect them to sell their Hot Hatches here.

2) Economy - Getting a hot hatch for 7L is very difficult. Getz Crdi was one off. But then I wouldn't call Getz a "Hot Hatch", its more of a Mild Hatch, Swift Sport is a Mild Hatch. For me Hot Hatch is For Eg Civic Si or '13 Focus ST. Civic Si with standard features cost $22,000/- converting to which Civic would cost us anywhere around 11,45,000/- ++
Similarly, Swift Sport (Mild Hatch) cost $27,000/- (11L) in New Zealand.
Im sure these would cost more in India. Is anyone ready to spend 15L for HH? Don't forget their maintenance and FE. Even countries like USA and companies like Ford advertise their cars' "miles to the gallon" as their USP. Will it work in India?

3) On-road Manners - No need to elaborate on this one. Giving hot hatch in hands of our drivers, its purely sucidal.

4) Infra - There are no roads, simple. Taking example of Mumbai. Im not ready to invest 10L in a car which I can enjoy only for couple of miles all over Mumbai.
Apart from that, after buying a Hot Hatch (~200 bhp) I would love to burn some rubber on track. There are no tracks around Mumbai. I cannot afford to go North or South every time.

So, whose buying one?
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Old 2nd March 2012, 16:19   #66
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Interesting thought! I am not too sure if I am thinking right, but can we here make a comparison with the 2-wheeler trends?

If you see, the 2 wheeler industry used to churn out the same "mundane clones" (they still do) but of late we are slowly getting more powerful machines (though not under the same body), so what fueled such thoughts in 2-W industry? Can we extrapolate here? So can we expect some affordable hot hatches in near future?

To me, no market is a lame excuse. However over priced the Jazz was, there were takers. So I am assuming it is just lack of intent?
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Old 4th March 2012, 22:30   #67
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Even for a discerning customer typical to, let's say, Team-BHP, what is usage we typical subject our car 90% of the time? Usual B2B traffic with rare bursts of speed on toll roads and expressways at rush hour. The occasional highway jaunt and the now-popular Leh-Manali trip. The moon-craters of our Indian highways are hardly the place for hot hatches with super-light alloys with low-profile soft tyres.

A real hot-hatch is a great thing on track and smooth highways but how much of that do we have available here? Looking at the sheer number of Swifts (no offence to Swift owners) involved in crashes due to irresponsible driving (since the Swift is the closest affordable choice to a hot hatch) I shudder to think of maniacs behind Polo 1.8 TSIs and the like.

Now let's look at the niche segment: the one who is actually willing to pay and forget the inconveniences of a hot hatch. For them, unfortunately, there is no choice. The Palio GTX, the Polo 1.6 are hardly true-blue hot hatches. The SR-V hardly had the dynamics for a hot hatch.

I think, for once, a manufacturer will have to throw all financial logic to the four winds and bring a true hot-hatch here. Forget about the numbers. But who will do so? Somebody with solvency and deep pockets. Maruti? Hyundai? VW? Tata?

I, personally, think the hottest hatch in India is Laura 1.8 TSI. I don't however, blame Skoda for calling this Golf derived hatchback a sedan in India.

Last edited by architect : 4th March 2012 at 22:32.
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Old 4th March 2012, 22:56   #68
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

The VAG group has the potential to bring about a hot hatch to the Indian market, they have a good range of platforms which they are effectively now using in the VW and Skoda ranges - read Vento&Rapid. Hope they do the same with Audi and produce a India hot hatch - which has the power and stability seen in hot hatches worldwide.
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Old 5th March 2012, 00:18   #69
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

If there is money to buy expensive cars like Merc, BMW, Audi and if the companies can launch a Beetle, 500 and soon a mini cooper, I dont think they would hesitate in launching hot hatches.

But the question "Where are the Hot Hatches?" also raises a couple of more questions as follows.

1. Where is the infrastructure to drive such Hot Hatches?
2. How is it really going to help with the kind of traffic we see in Indian towns, cities and urban metropolies to really experience these machines?(Indians are very practical. We do a lot of Tol, Mol doesnt matter how rich an Indian is)
3. How many expressways do we really have to experience the potential of such power? (The ones we already have, officially do not allow high speeds that these machines are capable of.)
4. If there was no market for a high speed bullet train(just until recently it has been shaping in reality), do we really have a market for such "Hot Hatches"?

So the questions leads to only one answer i.e. my friends Infrastructure, Infrastructure and Infrastructure. And the question of "Why there is no infrastructure?". That leads me to compare our country to much poor nations and that makes me feel we are progressing and doing better, its just a matter of time. As we see more stability in Indian politics and less scams, we would see more FDI pumping in into building Infrastructure of our nation. More roads and better roads along with good traffic management and decent public transport availability, I bet we would see more high end machines coming in as Hot Hatches.

These are just my thoughts

Last edited by tush : 5th March 2012 at 00:41.
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Old 5th March 2012, 00:40   #70
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Recall the classic Maruti ad lines?? A slight twist...

Salesman -- Sir its a hot hatch! A powerful 1.6ltr turbo charged engine delivering a massive 190 bhp of raw power, 0-60 in a blink of an eye...

Potential Customer - Woh sab teek hai, Mileage kya deta hai? 10 km/ltr...are you mad and pay 7.5 Lacs... you must be joking...chalo lets get outta here...

We are a country obsessed with mileage!!
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Old 5th March 2012, 00:56   #71
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

The problem here is that these companies aren't afraid of giving us powerful hatchbacks. There just isn't a demand for it.

Hatchbacks are perceived to be cars that people would buy before 'upgrading' to a sedan. So it isn't politically correct when a hatchback is more powerful than a sedan. Precisely the reason why the Jazz is powered by a 1.2,and not the 1.5 (which would have made so much more sense) that we see in the City.

So when someone buys a hatchback, he will be looking into the future and saying, "Yes, 5 years from now, I will buy a sedan or a SUV".

So basically, a hatch in India is merely a tool to get you from point A to point B, without being a hassle to park, and without drinking too much fuel. A powerful engine in a small-car will not make sense in our country. Purely because people DON'T want it. If they want a more powerful car, they'd rather buy a sedan or a SUV.

Our market is largely driven by the common-man who's idea of a hatch is a small frugal and no-nonsense transport-option. Not something that
s fun-to-drive. And the common-man gets what he wants.
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Old 5th March 2012, 11:18   #72
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Question : Why are there no hot hatches in India?

One-Line Answer : There is NO market.

Detailed Answer:

1. Did the Palio 100 BHP sell? Did the Getz CRDi? Does the Linea T-Jet? Or the Laura TSI?

2. Would YOU pay 11 - 15 lakh rupees for a Hot Hatch? Remember, the top-end Swift petrol costs 7 lakhs OTR. Add forced induction, all wheel disc brakes, new gearbox, beefed up clutch, sport suspension etc. and you are looking at a minimum of 4 lakhs in price.

3. Would YOU buy a hot hatch that delivers 7 kpl in the city? At a time when petrol costs 70 - 75 bucks a liter?

4. The Palio 1.1 / 1.2 was actually reasonably fuel efficient. However, the Palio 1.6 gave the brand its image of "poor fuel efficiency". Why do you think Ford isn't launching the Figo 1.6, though it has the car & the engine ready?

5. Would a manufacturer give a hatchback more power than its flagship 20 lakh rupee sedan?

Say, there are several Accord V6 & Laura TSI in the used market going for a song. And still, no one's buying them. Bottomline : No one in our market, including a large number of enthusiasts, want a petrol-guzzling car. A 3 year old BMW 325i doesn't get customers at 15 lakhs. There is no ways a hot hatch will sell in the $$$ whereabouts.

On the other hand:

1. Who said you need 200+ BHP to have fun? I have the time of my life in a Linea T-Jet, Laura TSI, Swift ZXi and even an Alto K10. While I agree that more power is always welcome, I don't subscribe to the school of thought that you need a 0 - 100 of 6 seconds to have fun.

2. Diesel Hot hatches are more realistic than a petrol. Reason : High power diesels still offer good fuel economy. A 140 BHP diesel Jetta can deliver 12 kpl in the city and 15 on the highway (just ask Skoda why its Laura diesel sells so well). I'd be very, very happy with a 100 - 140 BHP diesel hatchback. BTW, the Polo R Cup car running a remapped version of the Vento 1.6L diesel @ 130 BHP does 0 - 100 in 8 seconds. And with slicks, it laps the circuit within 4 seconds of a Porsche Boxster. How much more performance you do want?

3. Don't fret; the average power rating for each segment consistently goes up with time. From 62 BHP UVs a decade back, Tata & Mahindra offer 120 - 140 BHP diesels in everyday SUVs / MUVs. A Swift now makes 86 BHP, when the Maruti Esteem (its flagship in the nineties) made only 65 BHP.

4. Tata! Remember this hot hatch? Tata is seriously considering bringing it (Link to Report (Tata Motors @ Auto Expo 2012))

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Old 5th March 2012, 11:45   #73
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Hot hatches.. How everybody loves talking about them but i'm sure no body will buy them once they come, primarily because they would be too expensive.

The only people buying these cars would be the people who already have that practical car at home for the family runs. The hot hatch would only do the weekend drive with the boys.

I'm sure this will change though. Look at the hatch market today. Did we ever imagine we would be spending 7-8 big ones on a hatchback a few years ago ? Nope.. but the market has matured and I feel the same will happen with this market. We may not get a true hot hatch, but probably existing hatches with more powerful engines. You never know, with all this thing about the diesel tax going on, we might see some new age petrol motors come into India (Multiair, smaller TSI's, Eco-boost which is already on its way) and these motors can sure make our hatches hotter than they are right now. I'm sure we'll accept that for starters !

Like someone has mentioned, we need that one manufacturer to take the initiative and then others will follow (obviously after gauging the response).

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
4. Tata! Remember this hot hatch? Tata is seriously considering bringing it
Are you sure GTO ? I happenned to meet a few R&D Tata officials at the Auto Expo and I did ask them this question. They replied in the negative, and said it was largely to get the crowds in and bring in some excitement. IIRC, its the Xeta Petrol block, turbocharged.

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Old 5th March 2012, 14:47   #74
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

Lack of market is the primary reason. And that drop in demand is largely due to the pricing structure here. Only in India can VW dump a 3 cylinder motor in a car and sell it for 7L+. I always imagined the Polo with a 1.6 TDi engine would be a hot hatch. But at what price if at all it ever is launched for the masses? In a country where Civic/Corolla (premium in India, just another car elsewhere) are priced well above 12-13L to begin with, what will be the OTR price of a hot hatch?

In a country obsessed with sedans and the associated luxury tag that comes with a sedan, hatches will always be treated as a common man's point A to B car. Enthusiasts will always fret and that is where car modifications and accessories come into play. I don't see this cycle changing anytime in the near future.

The poor infrastructure and lack of civic sense makes all the more sense for hot hatches NOT to be launched here. A powerful car in the hands of an irresponsible driver is a menace to the people around. You always have an accident waiting to happen.

Last edited by fuel_addict : 5th March 2012 at 14:48.
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Old 5th March 2012, 14:56   #75
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Default Re: Do car makers in India lack courage? Where are the *true* Hot Hatches?

I think manufacturers will start taking this market seriously when the performance mods business starts to do really well. At the moment, performance mods to stock cars sold in India are few and far between.
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