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Old 1st September 2013, 19:55   #16
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So yes in Europe endless choice but you will have to take a 3-6 month delivery as well. Not sure if limited variation in the Indian market gives shorter lead times.

My experience in the USA was that most people buy their car of the dealers forecourt. Far fewer option, but most cars in the USA will come with just all the bells and whistles, so the only variable will be colour so the dealer will stock a few different colours

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Old 1st September 2013, 20:27   #17
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

There isn't one car which will satisfy you in all aspects. If you like the body, heart isn't great. If that's good, feature list isn't complete.

Its time we are allowed to configure the cars ourselves. When we look at the brochures of any car, there are so many items listed as specifications. Half of these are not really satisfying the need of customer. Instead of introducing the (O) models, its better all features/gadgets are listed with a price and let the customers choose what need to go in their car.

Earlier days I have seen stickers like NO HAND SIGNAL, POWER BRAKE etc on cars to warn/indicate others of what to expect when we are behind such a vehicle. Variant Name should in a way give this indication. But with no standard naming convention for the variants which gives an indication of features it has, the manufactures can put a variant name based on cost of car post configuration, to satisfy the few who needs to showcase....

I wish this becomes a reality. If not the volume players, all manufacturers who have less than 2% market share could give a try. Anyways they produce (sell) less cars, why not give a try and check the pulse...

May be to start with we can have a survey here to check the pulse...
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Old 2nd September 2013, 00:46   #18
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

I believe the lack of options in India is mainly due to production constraints and the cost associated with context-switching between a lot of variants in the production lines.

Besides, even if options were offered, there would be little for someone like me. I would want proper Euro level safety kit (ABS+EBD, ESP, Traction Control, Hill Hold and 7 to 9 airbags), a well-matched engine and gearbox and a proper instrument cluster which has all the required gauges (especially the often omitted tachometer, ammeter and temperature gauge) in a car but would be happy to live without the mango man's list of "essential" features like fancy alloy wheels (I'm happy with ordinary wheels, even those without covers like in trucks as long as they do their job), bluetooth capable infotainment system which can pair with any phone (I don't even want a music system, just give me a line-out to stick into my phone's headphone jack and at most an additional volume knob), sun roof (as if global warming and the supreme court's ban on sunfilms isn't enough), beige interiors (hard to clean, cause a severe glare on windshield at night and look really cheap - I'd rather take all black interiors), fog lamps + projectors + DRLs (a good pair of luminous properly focussed headlamps are more than enough to get the job done), leather seats (I prefer animal friendly and water friendly art leather or cloth), etc. While I am not against bling like fancy alloys which are obvious upgrades later, money should first go into reducing the chance of death in the car and then into making it more drivable before moving onto luxuries.
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Old 2nd September 2013, 10:36   #19
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

I appreciate the discussion going on here. The one feature that I would tick while customizing my car would be "NCAP Rating = 5 *'s". What I would also love to see is the manufacturer giving options such as "Model X years old" and model will be stopped in coming "X Months".

Seriously, I am sure Maruti would not offer customization
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Old 2nd September 2013, 12:26   #20
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

Another aspect to note here is the resale value. That is one aspect that a lot of Indian car buyers look at but something that is not a big concern in markets where there are a lot of engine and accessory options.

Higher resale value would be obviously for the most VFM variant and due to the resale value craze, people tend to go for the same VFM variant even if they can afford a higher variant with some features that would enjoy. This indirectly kills the demand for custom variants. Higher priced custom variants might fetch the same resale value as the lower priced more standard variant.

For an average car buyer in India, he might pick model X (satisfying 7/10 of his requirements) over model Y (satisfying 10/10 of requirements) if resale value of X is much higher than Y. That is not really a deciding factor in other markets. This would eventually make it cost-ineffective for the manufacturers to make these custom variants.

Also, once an average Indian decides he wants to buy a car, he is definitely not willing to wait and might compromise on a variant that has lesser waiting period. This is another deterrent for the 'made-to-order' options/variants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNTLovesNano View Post
Seriously, I am sure Maruti would not offer customization
Technically speaking, Maruti and Hyundai are the ones who offer maximum customization in Indian market, though indirectly as they come under different names based on body styles. Also, metallic and non-metallic shades should also be treated as separate variants since they carry different price tag.

Look at the following platforms in Maruti stable, each available in metallic and non-metallic shades:

Alto (800, K10, Alto800, A Star) - 4+4+18+10= 36 variants
Swift (Swift, DZire, Ertiga) - 12+16+18= 46 variants
Wagon R (Wagon R and Stingray) - 10+6= 16 variants

source: http://marutisuzuki.com/maruti-price.aspx

Not a bad count for number of variants, except that they didn't put the same name for everything belonging to the same platform.

Similar case with Hyundai with i10/i10Grande and Accent/Verna.
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Old 2nd September 2013, 17:00   #21
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

Most Indian cars have limited variants. Reason? The market doesn't want any more!

ABS: . When the Swift had it as an optional extra for merely 20K, less than 5% of VXi customers chose it.

2 Doors: Doesn't suit our one-car-serves-all-purposes pattern of ownership.

Sunroof: Too hot, too sunny.

Big Engines: Fuel economy with acceptable power is enough. Think 1.2L petrol & <1.5L Diesel.

AWD: Weather doesn't mandate it.

Estates: Image issues. Just don't sell in India.

Sporty variants: Are you kidding? Have a coffee with Laura vRS and ask how it was treated.

Automatics: Less than 1% of the market wants a slushbox.

Manufacturers will give the market whatever it wants. End of the day, our preferences remain rather traditional & limited.
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Old 2nd September 2013, 18:17   #22
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

An online vehicle configurator would be great, although i'm not too sure it would kick-off initially given the low-level of internet penetration. Would love to customize a car with black interiors, 4 airbags, ABS+EBD+BA+TCS etc and leave out rest of the luxuries like premium upholstery and such. Also strip off the chrome given a chance
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Old 2nd September 2013, 20:38   #23
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

As GTO mentioned, Indians have quite the one-car-serves-all mentality; although that seems to be changing in a lot of cities where a LOT of families have more than 1 car per family.

In the US, each adult has a separate car and one of them is generally the family car. So, the rest have the freedom to give in for their whims n fancies.

My bank manager here in the US drives a 328i coupe.. I asked why he went for a 2 vs. a 4-door. He's like, "I'd like a sportier drive; for the family outings, we use my wife's MUV/SUV".

Also, could having a limited no. of variants be a way manufacturers keep costs down?
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Old 3rd September 2013, 10:07   #24
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by searchingheaven View Post
While i understand the message that you're trying to convey, i don't get the reason why a particular variant would be less prestigious than a higher variant of the same car. Infact the class of people who consider cars as inspirational products don't even go into the details of variants. For them, a car without ABS/SRS?EBD is same as a car which has one. I mean, A Ecosport Trend version will have same status as a titanium(O) to most people, even though the cost diff is 3 or 4 L.
I agree with you searchingheaven.

Ecosport titatium and Ecosport trend will have same prestige quotiant, but ecosport and fortuner are way apart.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 13:12   #25
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

I think it's important to note that the Indian automobile market is very young. It lacks maturity. The overall perception while buying a car differs from the perceptions in other countries to a great degree! Here, a hatchback is a stepping stone to a sedan. And sedans are stepping stones to SUVs.

Let's not forget that 25 years ago, our choices were limited to the Maruti 800, HM Ambassador and the Premier Padmini. Yes, the pedantic lot would love to add that we had cars like the Standard 2000 and the HM Contessa as well. Our automobile market has seen major growth only in the last 10 years. On the other hand, cars have been on sale in Europe since its conception! We're talking about a whole century here!

We've been witnesses to a slew of launches especially in 2012 and 2013, economic slowdown notwithstanding! I'm sure there will come a time when car companies will be forced to provide more features and variants.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 17:57   #26
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

I think the bottom line in India is the average consumer doesn't even know what most of the tech abbreviations on a car are, so they aren't so concerned with whether or not their car has ABS or EBD or DSG or ESP. Our market is very price / fuel efficiency sensitive and most average buyers would be happier to buy a lower spec / mid spec car at a good price point vs a higher spec version of the car that costs 20-30% more. It's only the educated customer who knows and appreciates the value of the additional (especially safety) features that would opt to pay extra for them, IMO.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 18:17   #27
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

One interesting bit I have noticed is, once the manufacturer get an understanding of our market, they limit whatever options they were providing earlier. One simple example For the previous generation Jetta, VW used to give the customer option to choose the interior trim (beige, black and IIRC there was a Mocha Anthracite colour as well). Also, they used to provide a basic configurator for Polo and Vento. But once they got used to the market, and got to know the buyer preferences, they just stuck to beige as a standard for all models.
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Old 4th September 2013, 07:00   #28
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

If it makes anyone feel any better, European cars sold in the UK (and to a greater extent in the States) are a meagre representation of the different variants available in their home countries. The UK is perceived, to an extent rightly so, as a rather cynical and snobbish market where people have a limited appreciation of the engineering and a heightened sense of the image. Having no indigenous industry of our own any more, we are beset with (largely German) ideas of Britishness, from the (awful, in my opinion - but how wrong I am, it sells to image-conscious housewives!) BMW Minis to the generally bone-jarring suspension set up for German and French roads.

In Germany, the extent of options on your car is bewildering, but brilliant. It is almost endless and I am fascinated by the paucity of the spec of my old (German-spec) W124. It has a heated screen-washer bottle, by way of the neatest and highest-quality little stainless-steel coil run off the cooling system, and a pneumatically-multi-adjustable driver's seat which is run off the air/vacuum which powers the central locking. It was ordered by a Mercedes factory engineer. He omitted air conditioning, specified a sunroof along with the lighter but rougher and tougher 5 cylinder engine with a manual gearbox (very unusual for a 124, given MB's excellent autos and awkard alternatives - but a little more efficient).

Ordering the spec of your Porsche, Mercedes-Benz or VW could take days in Germany - the possibilities are almost endless.

Don't forget that in the UK and in Europe, we cannot order a Tata Nano - or any other Tata. Without any doubt, at 2500 to 4000, the Nano would be a massive seller in Britain, if the European bureaucracy would allow it (and there was a decent sales campaign and backup) - which they won't, in current form. From what I read on this forum, they are highly reliable and functional. If they can survive Indian heat and monsoons, a little light rain and the odd frost in England would be a pushover! Now that Skoda has gone conventional and Tatra are defunct, the only other rear-engined, rear-drive car is a Porsche.



Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post
Guess how many variants of Indica does TATA have?

Here in India, if an auto-maker provides various variants for the customer to choose based on his needs, we criticise them for confusing us. Why so? Because in India, a car is supposedly an "Aspirational" product and many, if not most, people consider their car as a "Prestigious" possession.

We all have better friends, who'd value us for ourselves rather than our cars, but then we also have 'Relatives' and those type of 'Friends'. People who we'd rather shut up by plonking a car in our garage than argue & explain whats what.

So, more variants = confusion as to whats your actual "status".

Just my 2 cents.
Also the case in the UK. It's an aspect of being 'human', supposedly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
I'm guessing here
1. India is not a high margin market to have lot of variants
2. Engine variants is something not very welcome because we are a FE consscious market. So what's the point of having different states of tune when most people will go for the most FE one
Many specs aren't engine related, remember

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohitk1993 View Post
Some reasons I can think of, are:

2. Certain body styles simply do not sell in India. The first body style that comes to mind is the Estate, which is present in more than 50% of the mid-size cars there. Some more include the hot hatch, van and the pickup truck segments.

6. Our obsession with fuel efficiency means certain variants with convenience features such as AT and 4x4 are simply skipped by car manufacturers.
I don't really consider 4x4 a 'convenience feature'. It is something which the British land-owning classes took to in the form of the original Range Rover in the 1970s, which allowed them to tow their horseboxes up slippery slopes. And the aspirationals followed, no matter how little land they owned. Admittedly, the original RR was a very good-looking, tough and simple vehicle and gave a commanding view over normal cars' roofs. This has spread around the globe, sadly - the real need for all wheel drive is limited, the right tyres and good ground clearance is all that is usually required. Many is the time I have overtaken 4x4s struggling in snow. It is purely a marketing gimmick to make a lot more money at the higher end of the market, to people who haven't a clue what they want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I empathise mate.
Prior to buying my Yeti Elegance, I used to regularly visit the Skoda UK website and keep configuring the Yeti there in all sorts of permutations and combinations and just drool. The one I ended up configuring and liking best came to a whopping 29000 GBP after all my choices of bells and whistles were conferred upon it. But heck, that would have been one real devil of a Yeti had such a thing been possible to get in India!

The one sadness I have is that the Yeti has never been sold in India in that Forest Green shade in which it is available in the Western markets...that is a lovely colour indeed!

We in India, are the 'underprivileged third world' in many more ways than one!
Couldn't you have a Yeti in a similar dark shade resprayed by a competent paintshop?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
One interesting bit I have noticed is, once the manufacturer get an understanding of our market, they limit whatever options they were providing earlier. One simple example For the previous generation Jetta, VW used to give the customer option to choose the interior trim (beige, black and IIRC there was a Mocha Anthracite colour as well). Also, they used to provide a basic configurator for Polo and Vento. But once they got used to the market, and got to know the buyer preferences, they just stuck to beige as a standard for all models.
True, and some would say this is to boost their profits, others may say it keeps the price down. Depends whether your glass is half-empty or half-full!
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Old 4th September 2013, 15:06   #29
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars have limited variants (compared to US / UK)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlatOut View Post
Without any doubt, at 2500 to 4000, the Nano would be a massive seller in Britain,

the real need for all wheel drive is limited, the right tyres and good ground clearance is all that is usually required. Many is the time I have overtaken 4x4s struggling in snow. It is purely a marketing gimmick to make a lot more money at the higher end of the market, to people who haven't a clue what they want.
!
Why do you think it would be a massive seller in Britain? If the comments on this forum are anything to go by, one of the main reason it doesnt sell here in India is that people dont get exited by the "cheapest car". I dont think the current cheapest cars are necesseraly the best selling cars anywhere in Europe. I might be wrong.

I don't think these days, people buy Range Rovers for their 4x4 capabilities at all. I had several collequeas in Kansas City who all had bought RRs for their wives. None of the wifes where even remotely aware of 4x4. None of them could explain any of the settings/options other then the radio and the AC and only half of them could work the GPS.

They just thought it was a very cool car. Which happened to be their buying criteria. Fit for purpose as they say!

My daughter loved her Jeep Cherokee, because it was Monsterly huge, green and she could put a sticker on it "I love Nessie". We had it for two years before she even noticed the 4x4 and the associated lever and asked me what is was for? Again, different buying critiria.

I actually bought the Jeep Cherokee for me, but my daughter claimed it as hers. I always loved the original "etch a sketch" shape although I did know it has actually very good 4x4 capabilities.

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Old 4th September 2013, 15:52   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
The one sadness I have is that the Yeti has never been sold in India in that Forest Green shade in which it is available in the Western markets...that is a lovely colour indeed!

We in India, are the 'underprivileged third world' in many more ways than one!
Shankar saab, we were in almost the same situation last year when my friend (and a fellow-BHPian now - Jetta_Volkmann) was in lookout for a Jetta painted with the Vento-Blue.

At some point of time, we caught up with an idea to contact VW group directly for such an option and we did send them a few emails (IDs taken randomly with Google's assistance) regarding this. A copy of the car's booking voucher was sent alongside for their reference. We knew they are German rooted and must somehow be open for such appeals.

Though the first reply from VW-India was negative, we received an email from the VW Group - Germany that it has been forwarded to the concerned team in India and will hear back from them soon. In less than a week's time, Jetta_Volkmann received a call from a senior VW Marketing person (VP level) offering us 2 options in this front. He said that there has never been such a claim like this before and the company wanted to try out this. They have had a detailed discussion over this topic at senior levels and found it interesting.

1. Blue Jetta is available in few other countries; we can fully import the car --> Option ruled out due to heavy import duty which almost doubled the car's price

2. They will get a full re-paint of the car at dealer's (at Salem, Tamilnadu) body-shop and deliver it as a fresh & first Blue colored New Jetta; Even the RC will bear its color to be blue. (at an additional Cost of around 1.25 lakh in total). Process involved would be to dis-assemble the car's body - undo with the original paint - repaint the complete body with Vento-Blue - assemble the body and deliver. --> We did consider this option and requested him if this paint job and assembly could happen at their plant and not at Dealer level. We were scared that a manual assembly at dealership (compared to Robotic Assembly from the plant) will not be on-par in terms of quality / precision / reliability / etc.. and there are quite some chances for us to fail in the process.

Though he guaranteed all care will be taken care from their side, we went too skeptical and dropped the idea. We just meant to try our luck and were more than satisfied with their wonderful gesture. I still wonder if any other Auto-Maker (in India) would be so open for such topics though!

Thought it is relevant to quote this story of ours when I read your interest on a unavailable Forest Green Yeti in our "underprivileged third world". @searchingheaven, sorry for slightly hijacking your thread for the same above-mentioned reason.

Note: We did end up opting a Silver shaded Jetta in this case; related threads:

1. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/sedans...ck-silver.html (VW New Jetta (MT) - Toffee Brown or Leaf Silver??? Update: It's Moonrock Silver!)

2. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/introd...s-t-b-h-p.html (My new 4 wheels, the T-B-H-P)

And Shankar sir, You were a part of this color-deciding thread too


Cheers!!
M

Last edited by Mister_M : 4th September 2013 at 16:10.
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