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Old 15th May 2013, 11:44   #121
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

I have a feeling that as Audi try to move lower down the price bracket all that is bad in their stable (eg Skoda service) may hit them harder.
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Old 15th May 2013, 12:22   #122
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I am a bit surprised by some of the reactions on this thread. So what we are essentially saying is that Mercedes should not bother to launch this car in India because it's a hatchback and is not expected to do big sales numbers?

I am actually quite impressed by the fact that Mercedes is showing the courage to bring in their entire range to India. At least they are taking the Indian market seriously, and not diluting the brand by bringing in only selected models or the so-called made-for-developing market cars. Same is the case with BMW. I predict the 1-series to do really well in our market. It almost has the space of the X1, quality is top notch, and they have some brilliant engine options.
I think the negativity and confusion is more around the fact that mercedes has left everyone perplexed about the positioning of this vehicle. As you rightly said the 1 series sounds very exciting because of its powerful engine options. And merc has skipped that clearly. IMO all 3 badges will launch these hatches/sedans in the hope of creating a new market and taking some share from the present mid range brands like the Laura/jetta/superb.

Wouldn't call Merc's effort courageous. As of now they're doing something very easy and simple : importing cars directly, studying feasibility and then they'll decide whether they want to invest any real money on this. And yes bare in mind as per mangopal, once the cars start CKD assembly in india, they will skip many features and keep the "so-called made-for-developing market cars" theory in tact.

Mercedes launching a highly underpowered car with some cosmetic features and pricing it very high is no news to Indians. I would call their effort commendable/courageous if they were to launch a high powered model at a very sharp price in india.

C'mon Mercedes, enough of digging huge holes in Indians' pockets in the NAME OF THE BADGE. it's time to get real.
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Old 15th May 2013, 12:23   #123
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Hey Mango_pal
Spoke to the senior management. Their export plan hasn't yet been finalized. It's hinging on the EU-India FTA. Hence, they are still to take a call on CKD assembly for the A. I heard this yesterday. So it's fresh as can be. Of course, they could be talking through their hat as well.
Hmm, if they're banking on the FTA, why would they assemble the current C, E in India?
Would the FTA not result in CBU's getting cheaper? In which case would they get the A as a CBU?

Also, the free trade act doesn't seem to be on the cards for the next 12-18 months. It is meeting a lot of opposition not only within the Government (for destructive reasons) but the rest of the world whose exports to India would become less competitive.
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Old 15th May 2013, 12:30   #124
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Also, the free trade act doesn't seem to be on the cards for the next 12-18 months. It is meeting a lot of opposition not only within the Government (for destructive reasons) but the rest of the world whose exports to India would become less competitive.
12-18 months ? The last I read, the govt has confirmed that there is no scope of the FTA being levied before 2017. They also clarified that, if at all the FTA is levied, it will be done in a phased manner starting 2017 and we won't see 25-30% duty on CBUs before 2023.
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Old 15th May 2013, 12:49   #125
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12-18 months ? The last I read, the govt has confirmed that there is no scope of the FTA being levied before 2017. They also clarified that, if at all the FTA is levied, it will be done in a phased manner starting 2017 and we won't see 25-30% duty on CBUs before 2023.
I hope that isn't the case
But it would probably be true.
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Old 15th May 2013, 17:35   #126
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12-18 months ? The last I read, the govt has confirmed that there is no scope of the FTA being levied before 2017. They also clarified that, if at all the FTA is levied, it will be done in a phased manner starting 2017 and we won't see 25-30% duty on CBUs before 2023.
Yes, I understand, per ET the duty is to be reduced to 30% from existing 60%, and would apply on imports of luxury cars of minimum engine size 1.5. Also there have been almost 10 rounds of the FTA now since 2007, and seems that this year end should give some results, though SIAM is still fearing that this might be in favor of EU, a good bargain with access to EU services sectors might speed up the process..

It would be interesting as the big players (Merc, VW, Skoda, AUDI, Renault) have set-up the manufacturing plants now, and these cheap imports whenever aplied may play quite games in Indian market..

I might sound futuristic ... but if the price would not make much difference would indians prefer an import then ??
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Old 16th May 2013, 18:42   #127
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For some reason merc interiors have never appealed to me, they always look drab and simple. I prefer a large center console with tons of buttons for everything with chrome inserts in between. Helps everything look a lot more premium and functional :P
The A class takes my dislike for merc interior further by carrying a very simple and bland dash. Look at the AC controls! There isn't even a display to put everything in the same place and it doesn't look like it has auto climate control either. The rear too doesn't look like it even has AC vents although i can't be sure about that.
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Old 16th May 2013, 23:03   #128
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I have a feeling that as Audi try to move lower down the price bracket all that is bad in their stable (eg Skoda service) may hit them harder.
I do not really think that some of the issues that are made out of the Skoda service etc are as bad as they are made out to be at this forum. I say this despite the fact that I think we form the most knowledgeable automotive platform in the country today.

What about outright quality? Can we even compare a 'mediocre' Jap car like Corolla to the upcoming Octavia (or even the current gen Laura)?

On the topic, I thinks that all the luxury brands have been very smart on the price and positioning of their 'smaller' car. They've ensured that the car loses out on the size, not the quality. Although Audi service has not been as great as say that of BMW's, I don't they'll let it haunt them. COz for them, their brand is everything. And having good service is a part of having an aspirational rand. The day they lose their reputation (due to service or anything else), they're dead
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Old 16th May 2013, 23:46   #129
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Looks like they flew in Boris Becker for the Mercedes launch.
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Old 16th May 2013, 23:48   #130
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Looks like they flew in Boris Becker for the Mercedes launch.
He came for the launch of the GL.
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Old 17th May 2013, 00:03   #131
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I do not really think that some of the issues that are made out of the Skoda service etc are as bad as they are made out to be at this forum.
Fully agree with you. This is actually a bad remark on this forum despite of the fact that this is biggest forum having some extremely knowledgeable fellow and spreads high knowledge about automobile.

I don't own a Skoda but I feel bad when hear unduly lot of bad mouthing about Skoda and Germans on this forum. Most of the times its those who never ever owned any of the Germans or Skoda car in their life.

Cars made by these progressive groups contain sophisticated engineering and once they go bad, they require time and knowledgeable technicians to get fixed unlike the jap cars which have a body, wheels, engine, steering and gearbox but they lack the soul, and fun factor!

When I see real world around me, I find the most of the horror stories come from Hyundai, Honda, Ford, Maruti etc. None of these company belong to any German group. Just enough of praising these brands. Time is changing and accept it. Whereas the situation is opposite in case of Skodas which I have seen in hands of known people. Yeah, Skoda's service situation is not good in few cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai but its not same all over the India, we can't just generalize it.

I always appreciate the Germans groups because they don't dump their scrap in India. Yeah, they bring built to cost models but those models don't exhibit compromises.

On the other hand what Japs and Koreans sell in India. Toyota and Honda are selling here Etios, Liva, Brio and Amaze on the name of premium hatchback and premium sedans, wow!. Can they ever think of taking such a daring decision of bringing hatchback like A or B class which cost above 20L?

I always say and again saying that its not the metal for what people pay when they buy the Germans, neither its the snob value. They for the R&D, technology and soul they put into their cars.

I appreciate that Merc shown the guts to introduce this hatchback into India. Maybe this car doesn't sell in numbers, but whoever wanted such an ofering at this price point will definitely go for the A class and will be thanking Merc for bringing this car in India.

Last edited by tbppjpr : 17th May 2013 at 00:12.
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Old 17th May 2013, 06:49   #132
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Originally Posted by tbppjpr View Post
Fully agree with you. This is actually a bad remark on this forum despite of the fact that this is biggest forum having some extremely knowledgeable fellow and spreads high knowledge about automobile.

I always say and again saying that its not the metal for what people pay when they buy the Germans, neither its the snob value. They for the R&D, technology and soul they put into their cars.

I appreciate that Merc shown the guts to introduce this hatchback into India. Maybe this car doesn't sell in numbers, but whoever wanted such an ofering at this price point will definitely go for the A class and will be thanking Merc for bringing this car in India.
The tide now finally appears to be turning with posts like these. Thanks.
Despite all the negative talk that I heard from various sources I went ahead and bought my Yeti. Haven't regretted a moment so far.
Delicious, solid, safe, well engineered, comfortable, premium, quality vehicle. Expensive yes. But look what you get in return for the price. The Yeti is probably the only CKD or SKD that is priced on par in India, with its pricing in the UK and Australia.
The Koreans and Japanese are competent, feature loaded, strong, easy to maintain, low cost cars. They do compromise heavily on quality and safety etc in their ' made for India' cars though and I do not like that attitude. The Europeans certainly have more 'soul' as you said but above all they are well engineered, safe and in many ways a joy to own and drive.
I recently drove a Nissan X trail ( new shape), belonging to a friend. He paid 30 lacs for that car. Yes it is large, spacious and powerful and strong and competent and everything but it still lacks the finesse and intangible bit of 'soul' that my little Yeti has...
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Old 17th May 2013, 10:26   #133
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I don't own a Skoda but I feel bad when hear unduly lot of bad mouthing about Skoda and Germans on this forum. Most of the times its those who never ever owned any of the Germans or Skoda car in their life.
Aren't you doing the same thing since you don't own a skoda ? kidding.

Having owned Japanese cars for the last 15-16 years and having spent 13 of those with Honda cars here's my 2 cents.

There is no question they are the most reliable cars under the sun. I have gone 13 years without any major faults in my Honda city 1.5.

Skoda/VW/Germans on the other hand need a lot of tending/caring. More like babies. You need to watch out for each pothole on the road. Need to watch out for any major water logged roads during monsoons. The list goes on. A part of the reason may be that these brands have traditionally been Europe focused meaning made for smooth wide roads and based on petrol engines. My beamer hit a huge pothole a couple of weeks back and immediately started wobbling tremendously at high speeds. Found out the wheel balancing at given away. Cost Rs. 3000 to get it fixed. C'mon We expect better than that from everyday cars !

We as Indians have developed the habit (thanks to the jap reliability) of not caring how we drive or where we drive. And the Germans have been ignoring that. Another thing that comes into play IMO is the fact they service vehicles after 10k-15k km (depending on the brand). A lot can go wrong in 15k km. especially when our daily driving conditions including bumpy, merky industrial roads and dust flying all over the place. I guess jap cars are no miracles but the fact that they insist on services after 5k km / 3 months helps maintain the reliability of the vehicles. And of course their services cost a fraction of German cars because most of them are simply cleaning and checks.

There is no denying of the fact that among other things, thanks to frequent checks and services Japanese brands are able to maintain the low cost of maintenance post 50k kms while Germans will usually cost a bomb to maintain after 50k Kms.

As far as reliability of skoda as a brand is concerned, even if the horror stories on the forum are exaggerated, there is some truth in there.

Personal experience : cousin owned a skoda Laura when it was first introduced. 2 months into ownership we were out on the highway driving out station, the car just stops! It broke down and refused to start. Sent it to the dealership. Some faulty wiring seemed to be the problem. Cousin got it repaired and sold the car.

Lets face it, like small pox the days of random highway breakdowns are behind us now. Cheap Indian make cars like indica also show better reliability.

I'd rather reach my destination in a "low class" corolla than being stranded on the highway with a skoda.

P.S Mr Shankar,

The Yeti is a gemstone. Its a pity that skoda has failed so miserably to market it correctly. Same chassis and frame as a Q5! One of the only regular everyday cars that Jeremy Clarkson has reviewed and did not stop raving about. You must see his review. What's better? You get the European version in india.
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Old 17th May 2013, 10:53   #134
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See the straight up fact is that European cars are not easy to maintain and this is not just me go to Europe and they will say the same thing. BUT what makes matters worse in India is our lousy, pathetic, devil may care infrastructure.
Broken roads...Check
Mountain Breakers...Check
Pot holes protruding...Check
Wild Life...Check
Human Life...check
and God knows how many other checks can be done.

Now in such an environment cars which were already prone to a bit of extra maintenance became even worse. Coupled with fools running Service Centers and you have downright mayhem on your hands.

I guess in the end you just have to make your peace with the above problems and then analyse if you should make the plunge. One thing though, European cars like their Women are very desirable, can you make it work though is for you to see.

Last edited by eq24 : 17th May 2013 at 10:54.
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Old 17th May 2013, 11:18   #135
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I think we are going quite OT here - related to Japanese v/s European. IMO, this scenario happens with every consumer product. The more you pay the more you need to care. Take the simple case of a pair of shoes. You can go with a basic Bata, or something slightly expensive like Aldo, or higher range like Gucci/Ferragamo. A cheap Bata could last as much as (or more) a Ferragamo, and probably need much less care, and could take much more abuse. But people still go with bigger brands based on the affordability, social status, and a host of other reasons.

With the arrival of cars like A-Class, a buyer who got the money to spend (in the hatchback space) now has the flexibility of going for a Ferragamo, rather than settling with a pair of Bata shoes

Note: Brands mentioned are just for illustrating the scenario.
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