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Old 5th November 2012, 23:04   #1
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Default "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO

If one monkey does an action the other has to follow, Because the monkeys think thats the trend.

Our Auto Companies are no different

Its become a culture of copying each others products isnt it ?

Just to sight a few examples of where i think it all started ;

INDICA to INDIGO was the 1st example i think of hatch to sedan conversion;

Maruti to follow Swift to Swift Dzire

Polo to Vento

Fabia to Rapid

Micra to Sunny

Pulse to Scala

& now Brio to Brio Sedan

TOYOTA to mention here played it other way around by bringing the sedan 1st (ETIOS) & then the hatch ( LIVA )

^ May see that happening to the FIESTA as well.

Indica eCS compact sedan trend again led by TATA;

Maruti Dzire CS ( selling now ) & older version selling as Dzire Tour

Verito to Verito CS

Ford led the Compact SUV market with the ECOSPORT (launch still pending)

Renault got the DUSTER ( great timing )

Mahindra led by MPV Xylo to Quanto conversion

Tata working on Aria compact version too;

VW working on Taigun ( may take a while for launch here )

Chevrolet planning to bring the TRAX

& im sure every Automotive manufacturer is thinking about launching an compact SUV

Maruti reworked the Ritz & the Swift to make a all new product the ERTIGA;

Renault to bring in the LODGY against it

FIAT planning to bring 500L

Honda working on an Brio/Jazz based Ertiga rival too

This may also be seen in the features provided in cars

^ I may have missed few examples but thought this would be good enough to kick start the discussion

Last edited by karan561 : 5th November 2012 at 23:18.
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Old 6th November 2012, 00:11   #2
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Originally Posted by karan561
MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO


TOYOTA to mention here played it other way around by bringing the sedan 1st (ETIOS) & then the hatch ( LIVA )

^ May see that happening to the FIESTA as well.
The Optra followed by the SRV was launched before the Etios/Liva. But that experiment didn't pay off well.
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Old 6th November 2012, 00:32   #3
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

Quote:
Originally Posted by karan561 View Post
MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO

INDICA to INDIGO was the 1st example i think of hatch to sedan conversion;

Maruti to follow Swift to Swift Dzire
Polo to Vento
Fabia to Rapid
Micra to Sunny
Pulse to Scala
& now Brio to Brio Sedan
Suzuki's swift / Esteem was arguably before Indica -> Indigo. The M1000/esteem was essentially a swift of that era with a boot. The Zen was based on a similar platform and engine as M1000.

Also, Opel Corsa did a Etios / Liva type move into the Corsa Sail way back.

So everyone in this market is basically copying the Maruti 1000 strategy. And it seems to be working.
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Old 6th November 2012, 05:11   #4
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

I dint think its got anything to do with copying the competition. I remember reading some auto major heads interview in the early 2000 when he landed in India and spoke about platform sharing and by doing that bringing the costs down and giving customers multiple flavors of the same car. I am not sure if this was already done elsewhere (Outside India).

Most local manufacturers saw business sense in adapting this and each discovered their own way of getting this done (not necessarily copying each other).

Although i must add, what Nissan and Renault are doing is a game changer, common platforms across manufacturers/partners.
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Old 6th November 2012, 05:39   #5
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Originally Posted by mohandasnikhil

The Optra followed by the SRV was launched before the Etios/Liva. But that experiment didn't pay off well.
Oh ! i had completely missed the SRV. But yes I think SRV i.e. optra hatch was already present in the global market IIRC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torquing_points

Suzuki's swift / Esteem was arguably before Indica -> Indigo. The M1000/esteem was essentially a swift of that era with a boot. The Zen was based on a similar platform and engine as M1000.

Also, Opel Corsa did a Etios / Liva type move into the Corsa Sail way back.

So everyone in this market is basically copying the Maruti 1000 strategy. And it seems to be working.
Interesting observation there regarding the swift to esteem. But IMO if the swift brand was never there in Indian market then so this may not exaxtly fall in the same context for India but, globally yes.

Regarding SAIL yes , i think the Sail saw a sedan, hatch & an estate version too ( something like Indica hatch > Indigo > Indigo Marina )

Last edited by karan561 : 6th November 2012 at 05:47.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:39   #6
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Regarding SAIL yes , i think the Sail saw a sedan, hatch & an estate version too ( something like Indica hatch > Indigo > Indigo Marina )
Yep. Corsa Swing. Fiat also had one cant remember the name.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:43   #7
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

I would say, Our market and people are not mature enough to accept individual brands and individual models.

If Tata doesnt do that, the cost of each and every model would go up. This is what our mentality is. make a mould and copy it for all.

Would i buy a Rapid, if it is different from Fabia? hell no. The number of units it sells is much less and it becoms difficult to manufacturer to maintain spares throughout india. We are not ready to pay the price and we do not prefer to wait.

The manufacturers are left out with only one option. Multiple cars on the same platform. sharing components. bringing the cost down and adding so called the VFM value to the products.

If this is not being done, In india, with atrocious taxing system and corruptioin, no manufacturer could ever be able to launch anything.

This has started early with Maruti, there were many components common to couple of cars of Maruti. Using the external common parts trend has started by Tata.
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Old 6th November 2012, 12:13   #8
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

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Originally Posted by karan561 View Post
..Indica eCS compact sedan trend again led by TATA;
Just to add the compact sedan culture was actually created by then gov. (dont remember the year) union budget specifying "small car" as for petrol <1.2ltrs and diesel <1.5ltrs and overall length of not more than 4m giving the special excise duty benefit. Yes Tata was the first to exploit this category after the new tax structure.

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Old 6th November 2012, 12:25   #9
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Originally Posted by kartikk

..."small car" as for petrol <1.2ltrs and diesel <1.5ltrs and overall length of not more than 4m giving the special excise duty benefit.
Exactly. This is also the reason why we don't get to see any performance-oriented hot hatches in India anymore (think Palio 1.6). Every manufacturer has no choice but to plonk the puny 1.2litre petrol engines in their hatchbacks, to survive in this cut-throat price sensitive market of ours.

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Old 6th November 2012, 14:05   #10
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

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Originally Posted by karan561 View Post
MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO

If one monkey does an action the other has to follow, Because the monkeys think thats the trend.

Our Auto Companies are no different
I am not sure what's so "monkey culture" about that. World over, common platforms are being used to launch multiple cars in various segments to keep costs in control. In India, TATA probably started it with Indica and Indigo (correct me if I am wrong) but it was Maruti who's had the greatest success with it, probably because of it's much better reliability and A.S.S.

And this trend has always existed in every industry. Apple got the Iphone and since then mobile manufacturer has been trying to make their own "Iphones".

Somebody creates the original idea which acts as a base for all to develop it in their own way. They are hardly "monkeys".
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Old 6th November 2012, 14:30   #11
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

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Originally Posted by karan561 View Post
Our Auto Companies are no different
Why blame the auto companies alone? They make those products because they sell.

Whose buying those similar products? Monkeys?
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Old 6th November 2012, 15:26   #12
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Originally Posted by dkaile
Whose buying those similar products? Monkeys?
Haha. Completely agree with you there. Its our people who make or break this products, these ideas.

Indians haven't been very receptive towards many attempts by manufacturers to bring in new, different products. Take estate cars for example. Many tried, including Tata (Marina), Skoda (Octavia estate iirc), GM (Opel Corsa back then). All fell flat on their faces. In such a case the companies have to bend to the customers' will and give them products that they like (and in a way its right, since the customer is supposed to be their god, so to speak).
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Old 6th November 2012, 15:35   #13
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

I don't think this has much to do with "monkey culture". Most times, the need arises out of detailed market research studies, analytics and insights. So it is rarely a case of simply aping the competition. Moreover as few of our friends have correctly pointed out, platform sharing is a very important tool in most businesses today to keep costs down and mitigate risks. Share as many common platforms as possible, keep the scalability variable or need-based; that is the mantra.

Also remember, the objective isn't to merely launch a product and stop there. It has to be sustainable which usually means it is backed up by a solid and robust business plan.

A 'me-too' approach is not going to be approved by any board unless it has adequate meat and depth.

Last edited by Omtoatom : 6th November 2012 at 16:00.
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Old 6th November 2012, 15:49   #14
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

Government paved way for more small cars with lower excise duty. They may have facilitated the compact sedan trend but the start was made by Tata with Indigo CS.

Tata, even if seen as infra dig by many, set a trend in 4-wheelers starting from Sierra and including Indica. One may remember that prior to the launch of Indica, there was no affordable small diesel car in India.

Monkeying is spread across the brands too - Micra and Pulse, Sunny and Scala, Evalia and Stile and many other examples.
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Old 6th November 2012, 16:01   #15
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Default Re: "Monkey Culture" in the Indian Automobile Industry

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Regarding SAIL yes , i think the Sail saw a sedan, hatch & an estate version too ( something like Indica hatch > Indigo > Indigo Marina )
  • The Astra, just like the Corsa, was available in different body-styles. You could get one in station-wagon / hatchback / sedan form and I think there was even a cabriolet. But none of these alternative body-styles were available in India. The Corsa was sold in 3 body-styles Sail (hatch) Swing (station-wagon) and the regular Corsa sedan.
  • The trend of slapping a boot on a hatchback dates back to the Golf, I think. VW engineered a sedan out of the Golf and called it the Jetta. It was sold predominately in developing-markets back in the day, but it gained popularity and is now sold in several countries as an alternative sedan body-style.
  • Ford did the same thing with the Ikon when they brought it here. It is essentially a Fiesta with a boot designed for developing / emerging auto-markets. Ford exported the Ikon to South Africa and Brazil and Mexico, if I'm not wrong.
  • The Renault Fluence is a heavily reworked Renault Megane hatchback (which by itself is available in a dozen body-styles including a cabriolet)
  • Let's not forget the Palio hatch and Sienna sedan. Fiat first conceived the Palio and then designed the Sienna. But India first got the Sienna. The Palio came to India once the model got its face-lift a few years later.

I believe this isn't 'monkey-culture' as such. It's an attempt to capture the market with several body-styles that gives customers a wide range of options to suit their needs.
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