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Old 23rd December 2012, 00:16   #1
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Default Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really passionate?

We often read in the news & magazines about different innovations, features & philosophies used by various Auto manufacturers.

Something that relates Japanese car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Suzuki (Maruti) to Reliability & Quality, Italian car manufacturers like Lamborghini & Ferrari to Performance & Art, European car manufacturers like Audi, Merc, BMW to Luxury & State of the art Technology. Americans for Muscle cars, V8’s, Jeeps & Hummvees. That makes me wonder where do we stand globally? Is it only about small hatchbacks & getting 25kmpl fuel economy? Is it only about cheap cars that can seat 7 people?

Currently we can only talk about Mahindra & TATA as major Indian Auto giants. There was a time when Mahindra used to make jeeps & Tata Used to make trucks & Sumos. Decades are passed now we have some nice line up of vehicles from both of these manufacturers. Some of the Mahindra models are really great, but, still we have not received the Global recognition that we deserve & the reason behind that can be lack of advanced technology & lack of safety features etc... Not to mention the after sales support locally (Bad) & globally (Worst)

Was going through a thread here:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...n-cut-too.html (Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too)

It seems that after Mr. Ratan Tata, TATA motors may or may not face some serious troubles. But going by their current product portfolio (excluding JLR), to be honest (IMHO), there isn't much to talk about. Though there is some news regarding some new platform from TATA which is in R&D Stage, there are no more details on the same & as of now there is nothing specific to mention. Sumo is seen as commercial, Xenons are not practical for everyone, Aria is a no show, Indigo & Indicas are ageing. Nano hasn’t yet took off as expected. Recently refreshed Safari (Storme) is not that BRAND NEW launch either. The only saving graces for TATA’s are the ACE pick ups & other heavy duty trucks.

Talking about passion in Indian manufacturers, just remembered that there was an interview of Mr. Ratan Tata in 13th Anniversary issue of Autocar magazine (Sept-12 Issue). He himself states his disappointment with the Tata motors passenger car segment mentioning the fact that there is hardly any passion left.
Please find below excerpt:

“Another disappointment I cant get away from is the relative lack of passion I see in the company today in the passenger car area. I might be a little longwinded on this subject, but I have always felt that cars are emotive products that strike you with their design and their overall driving experience. They are enchanting things, which make you feel special.
A car is not a coffee wending machine, it’s a total experience. The market does not take whatever you give them; so unless you have at least one or two people in the company who have that passion, the desire for perfection, and truly see what an ideal customer wants, you just have another car company. The automotive business wont allow you to sustain yourself by being just another company. You have to be driven by passion to give a driving experience, you have to be attractive to your customer, it’s a bit of a romance.”


If he himself is aware of this, wonder what type of people are working in Auto industries. On this account, I would like to share one incident here. I can not name the person, but he is very passionate about his work & he actually felt like a fool when he tried to show & convince above words of Mr. Tata to his colleagues. Not to mention the headache he had after that incident. Wonder how many such voices are killed due to some Top brasses of the company who favors sales & other nonsense thing over the basics of car manufacturing & customer needs. Simply manufacturing something with 4 wheels & marketing it as next big thing aint gonna cut it. Buyers now are smarter & more specific about their needs. Not to mention the steep competition from foreign brands. Despite their global success, almost all major automobile manufacturers can now be seen in India & their sales are increasing.

Just to give you an idea, here is an excerpt from Mr. Hiroshi Nakagawa (M.D. of TKM) from same issue:

The reliability of the products stem from deep within the hearts of the employees and not just the machines or processes that make them.”If there is one thing that defines Toyota quality, it is our people,” says Nakagawa

When a giant manufacturer states the importance of discipline & passion within their employees, I really cant understand, why cant “WE” do it better? Not to forget that these global manufacturer’s plants here have Indian work force only so we cant blame that. There is definitely something which Mr. Tata was pointing....

Hope they learn that fact & we see better days ahead.

[Note: All above opinions are personal & meant no disrespect to any of the Manufacturer or Customer of any of the company mentioned above.
Also the excerpts/ interview quotes are courtesy of Autocar Magazine (Sept-12 Issue) Copyright with respective owners]

The reason behind starting a new thread is to get opinions & views from fellow BHPians.

Dear Mods: Please move to appropriate section if not suitable here.

Last edited by offroad_maniac : 23rd December 2012 at 14:41. Reason: Edit: Removed the copyrightes magazine images from the post
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Old 23rd December 2012, 01:03   #2
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

Passion at what level? According to me, passion can be split as per areas of passion itself!

My say as per below:

Toyota - Passionate about quality
Fiat - Passionate about design
BMW - Passionate about engineering
Mercedes - Passionate about heritage
Maruti Suzuki - Passionate about sales figures
Mahindra - Passionate about new indigenous segments
Hyundai - Passionate about global presence
Ford - Passionate about handling/driving dynamics
TATA - Passionate about....
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Old 23rd December 2012, 01:13   #3
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

In 1950's-60's Toyota too must have gone through the problems faced by TML today.

Indian manufacturers are in infancy stage if we consider "creating an automobile" + things are getting worse for them with established international competition pounding them in India. Toyota, Chevrolet & CO can create new & better cars because they can sell those cars throughout the world & offset the initial investment, whereas Tata cars are not first choice even in India.

Mahindra is doing very well because they produce products relevant for Indian market. Bolero's roots can be traced to erstwhile Jeeps, but it is the largest selling vehicle for them. They would not bother to create a new exciting Bolero as long as people are buying them in the present avatar.

As mentioned in the Safari Storme thread, the decision to keep the old Safari shell over the Aria platform is the silliest mistake by TML. An all new exterior with the modern chassis would have excited the market & put more customer focus on the brand.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 01:41   #4
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinair View Post
Passion at what level? According to me, passion can be split as per areas of passion itself!

Mahindra - Passionate about new indigenous segments
.
.
.

TATA - Passionate about....
As you have rightly mentioned that each globally renowned brand is passionate & thus excels in one area, which later on becomes its strong point & gives it a certain edge over competition.

This is true that Mahindra has been producing some really good products recently but their after sales support is not that great like their products. But still really nice VFM product portfolio for almost every segment (excluding Hatch if Quanto is an exception),

But, TML has to cover a really long way. Infact, after the acquisition by TML, the JLR Brand is selling in good numbers. But whats so wrong with TML's own vehicles? Why cant they produce something that will please the masses (This also includes superior After Sales Support).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline GT-R View Post
In 1950's-60's Toyota too must have gone through the problems faced by TML today.

Indian manufacturers are in infancy stage if we consider "creating an automobile" + things are getting worse for them with established international competition pounding them in India. Toyota, Chevrolet & CO can create new & better cars because they can sell those cars throughout the world & offset the initial investment, whereas Tata cars are not first choice even in India.

Mahindra is doing very well because they produce products relevant for Indian market. Bolero's roots can be traced to erstwhile Jeeps, but it is the largest selling vehicle for them. They would not bother to create a new exciting Bolero as long as people are buying them in the present avatar.

As mentioned in the Safari Storme thread, the decision to keep the old Safari shell over the Aria platform is the silliest mistake by TML. An all new exterior with the modern chassis would have excited the market & put more customer focus on the brand.
Exactly. Mahindra did not change their crown Bolero & we can call it a very sensible move as Bolero is still No:1 selling brand. Even the XUV has killer looks & those VFM pricing made it a winner as well.
But like I mentioned before, the after sales support is not that great, specially outside India. There are posts on FB as well as many people in SA had to sell their Mahindras just because they were facing so much issues with the Service. (They were really impressed & happy with the vehicles though).

When it comes to TATA, it has to win in both the fronts. New Products as well as support. Simply calling Indica a new Manza & Safari as Storme will not help sustain.

Btw, Really cant understand the attitude with some of the service centers here. If they are not happy with what they ere doing, simply, change the job to a better & suitable one.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 02:19   #5
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

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Originally Posted by offroad_maniac View Post
That makes me wonder where do we stand globally? Is it only about small hatchbacks & getting 25kmpl fuel economy? Is it only about cheap cars that can seat 7 people?
There is nothing wrong in it.

Actually it will be the next big thing for Indian auto industry, if we can atleast become the hub for highly fuel efficient small cars for the rest of the world.

Afterall, we draw our fuel from a tank, NOT a well.

Everyone will realize it. Sooner or later.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 09:16   #6
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

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Originally Posted by vinair View Post
Passion at what level? According to me, passion can be split as per areas of passion itself!

My say as per below:

Maruti Suzuki - Passionate about sales figures
Funny that you call sales figures a passion! Every manufacturer is here to do business and sales figures are their target. You mean to say Mercedes Benz is here for the heritage or Toyota is here to show how a quality car is made? Yes that may be their area of expertise/passion but end of the day, it's the sales figures and market footprint that they are all after! No car manufacturer is on business to show their quality or heritage.

Nobody can be "passionate" about sales figures. The sales figure is a RESULT or fruit of doing something right, or in other words, being passionate about something and delivering. I reckon Maruti Suzuki is passionate about delivering the right product at the right time in tandem with market needs and also provides amazing service as back up. The result of this passionate approach? Sales through the roof!

P.S: Here is an interesting thought for you to munch on! If Maruti Suzuki, as you say was passionate about sales figures, they should be having ZERO waiting period on all their cars by now. Do they? Go figure.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 11:50   #7
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

Note from Mod: There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the board experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use spell-checkers.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd December 2012 at 12:08.
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Old 25th December 2012, 12:52   #8
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really passionate?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for updating the opening post!
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Old 25th December 2012, 13:08   #9
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinair View Post
Mahindra - Passionate about new indigenous segments
When we say Mahindra is passionate about new indigenous segments - we need to define what that passion means. If they are passionate about new segment, they should be offering the best ground breaking product for that segment. There are lots of compromise on the part of Mahindra for whatever segment they are trying to create or address - and that is where passion is lacking.

And regarding Maruti - running after numbers is not passion. Maruti's passion may be developing the best family car that has the least hassle to own. Looking at it from a romanticized point of view, it may seem mundane. But, when that becomes a passion you will surely get the numbers as a result!!

And agree with you when you say that Tata Motors doesn't seem passionate about anything!!

It all depends on the person at the top - the passion of one top guy percolates down to the ranks always
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Old 25th December 2012, 13:15   #10
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I sometimes feel it is a cultural thing. Our education system emphasises on finding a profession which make the most bucks. Very few end up doing what they are passionate about.
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Old 25th December 2012, 14:22   #11
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

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Funny that you call sales figures a passion! Every manufacturer is here to do business and sales figures are their target. You mean to say Mercedes Benz is here for the heritage or Toyota is here to show how a quality car is made? Yes that may be their area of expertise/passion but end of the day, it's the sales figures and market footprint that they are all after! No car manufacturer is on business to show their quality or heritage.

Nobody can be "passionate" about sales figures. The sales figure is a RESULT or fruit of doing something right, or in other words, being passionate about something and delivering. I reckon Maruti Suzuki is passionate about delivering the right product at the right time in tandem with market needs and also provides amazing service as back up. The result of this passionate approach? Sales through the roof!

P.S: Here is an interesting thought for you to munch on! If Maruti Suzuki, as you say was passionate about sales figures, they should be having ZERO waiting period on all their cars by now. Do they? Go figure.
Mate, its simple, for me, Maruti is like a darshini hotel (sorry, its a Bangalore lingo for a small restaurant! ) Where there is a crowd, you will for sure find a darshini hotel! Adhe idilli, vada, dosa! anytime of the year! Now, why would you want to open a darshini hotel? Well small investment and very good returns (linking back to the crowd...). Very few open these joints with a passion for good food, 99% for returns, a sustained one at that.

Maruti too knows the crowd, the Indian crowd. Trust me, just a fraction of the car buying population in India, are passionate about driving and that reflects on the kind of brand they choose.

A good chunk even to this day believe their first car should be a Maruti (I have heard people saying this!!!). What logic? gothilla sir.

Of course yes, Mercedes takes all pride in talking about its lineage and legacy than saying they sell hundreds of Mercedes every month! Same with Toyota, quality has been their selling point and they are really passionate about it, no doubt.
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Old 25th December 2012, 15:57   #12
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

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Mate, its simple, for me, Maruti is like a darshini hotel (sorry, its a Bangalore lingo for a small restaurant! ) Where there is a crowd, you will for sure find a darshini hotel! Adhe idilli, vada, dosa! anytime of the year! Now, why would you want to open a darshini hotel? Well small investment and very good returns (linking back to the crowd...). Very few open these joints with a passion for good food, 99% for returns, a sustained one at that.

Maruti too knows the crowd, the Indian crowd. Trust me, just a fraction of the car buying population in India, are passionate about driving and that reflects on the kind of brand they choose.

A good chunk even to this day believe their first car should be a Maruti (I have heard people saying this!!!). What logic? gothilla sir.

Of course yes, Mercedes takes all pride in talking about its lineage and legacy than saying they sell hundreds of Mercedes every month! Same with Toyota, quality has been their selling point and they are really passionate about it, no doubt.
Although I find your hotel analogy irrelevant I'm using your own analogy to show that you got the answer right there! Why do you think people crowd to have that same idli and vada at your small joint? Because if that same food they serve everyday didn't taste good as it tasted the first day, they'll be off business pretty soon! Such a hotel joint is passionate about providing that perfect idli or dosa every day! I know a coffee place here in Chennai that serves Kumbakonam 'tikree' coffee. They've been doing just this for the past 50 years and boy you should check out the crowd! You may say all they serve is the same coffee! Yeah, but the knack is in serving that perfect coffee without diverting from that successful recipe for those 50 years!

Like that darshini hotel, Maruti Suzuki understands the pulse of the Indian customer! They serve the right product at the right time and they're passionate about being in sync with what the market needs.

How do you know just a fraction of the car buying Indians are passionate drivers? Did you take a census? Have some statistical figures? For your information, a huge chunk of cars that are sold here are not performance driver oriented cars. They are frugal, reliable, cheap to buy and easier to maintain cars.

If someone's first car has to be a Maruti Suzuki, that shows the reputation the brand has earned over the years! Trust me, it doesn't happen overnight! Again it's you having heard people say that! You know what? I've heard people say their first car should be a Fiat because their grandad had one! Neither of our statements truly represent an Indian buyer!

If Mercedes' selling point were their lineage and legacy, then they should be selling more than their archrivals BMW and Audi. The sales figures of Merc for the past few months do not seem to echo your point.
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Old 25th December 2012, 18:10   #13
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really passionate?

At first glance, the thought does cross one's mind that are mere money-spinners ruling our roads right now.

But firstly, there's a lot of passion that goes into developing ANY automobile from scratch, regardless of the manufacturer or the country of its origin. Except the Chinese, who seem to be rewriting every business paradigm these days, and of course their equivalent national spin-offs like Premier(Rio). So the passion exists, maybe it's manifested in a way that does not strike a chord with the average auto enthusiast.

Secondly, if you're vying to be an established player, consumer behavioral patterns largely dictate most of the development process leaving very less room for exercising the rather stereotypical automotive passion that we all talk about. That passion is circumstantial and channeled elsewhere, to find that optimum set of specifications, that the "people" can rave about.

Thirdly, as others have already pointed out, the market is still at a nascent stage and the only way to get away with it from a manufacturer's point of view is to follow suit. It's a well established fact that many cars that were philosophically ahead of its time have bitten the dust( Ford Fusion and Chevrolet/Subaru Forester to name a few).

If a large conglomerate like Toyota can develop a halo car like the GT86 that spawns two other variants with different names because they can afford to do so. I'm sure if Tata Motors ranked somewhere among the top five automotive giants, they would definitely mull about venturing out to do something similar.
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Old 25th December 2012, 18:23   #14
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Default Re: Indian Car Manufacturers: Are they really Passionate?

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Although I find your hotel analogy irrelevant I'm using your own analogy to show that you got the answer right there! Why do you think people crowd to have that same idli and vada at your small joint? Because if that same food they serve everyday didn't taste good as it tasted the first day, they'll be off business pretty soon! Such a hotel joint is passionate about providing that perfect idli or dosa every day! I know a coffee place here in Chennai that serves Kumbakonam 'tikree' coffee. They've been doing just this for the past 50 years and boy you should check out the crowd! You may say all they serve is the same coffee! Yeah, but the knack is in serving that perfect coffee without diverting from that successful recipe for those 50 years!

Like that darshini hotel, Maruti Suzuki understands the pulse of the Indian customer! They serve the right product at the right time and they're passionate about being in sync with what the market needs.

How do you know just a fraction of the car buying Indians are passionate drivers? Did you take a census? Have some statistical figures? For your information, a huge chunk of cars that are sold here are not performance driver oriented cars. They are frugal, reliable, cheap to buy and easier to maintain cars.

If someone's first car has to be a Maruti Suzuki, that shows the reputation the brand has earned over the years! Trust me, it doesn't happen overnight! Again it's you having heard people say that! You know what? I've heard people say their first car should be a Fiat because their grandad had one! Neither of our statements truly represent an Indian buyer!

If Mercedes' selling point were their lineage and legacy, then they should be selling more than their archrivals BMW and Audi. The sales figures of Merc for the past few months do not seem to echo your point.
Do you own a Maruti? glad you are a very loyal customer mate.

Point here was not to say hotels are not passionate, but how many? As you say, may be a special variety of coffee is famous at one place, and that's their USP, I wouldn't call it a passion.

Look at the sales numbers mate, do I have to do further numbers? All the models selling like hot cakes aren't particularly a 'aspiring' model. Its because, that is what one can afford at a price and that could be the only offering with certain USP.

Truly, what is Maruti really passionate about? according to you?
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Old 25th December 2012, 18:56   #15
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Our education system emphasises on finding a profession which make the most bucks. Very few end up doing what they are passionate about.
Very true atleast in the indian context .The indian car brands are not at all passionate about anything according to my opinion.Every Brands in the world is in the field to make money no one can deny it and products are the result of market requirements be it in any country. our point of concern is what as a end user we get on the market.A car brand or a car is great only when it is injected with soul and the soul comes from those passionate engineers who works on it.A man who is passionate in his work will be in the quest for perfection and that quest will end up in a component which is brilliant and those brilliant components will add up make a perfect car which can be a extension of our mind,like a part of our own body its what makes a car great(in my opinion).And those engineers will tune the car until they are happy with it, as a end result it will be a enthusiast delight.In the indian context the brands are in the market only for money there are just adding up components to make a machine its just a machine nothing more be it Maruthi,Tata or Mahindra.There must be passionate workers on every brand to come up with passionate products here in India every one is looking for job which gives maximum salary and for that even they love something they works on another field(NO OFFENSE INTENDED).Fiat as an example is a car maker like Maruthi Suzuki who focuses on small cars but look at those products they are just great.chassis balance,body control,the brilliant steering ,outstanding Engine ,all added up to make a car which is a enthusiast delight.Its because it comes from italy where peoples are passionate about machines.
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