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Old 1st November 2013, 18:16   #1
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Default Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

WHY?

What is it with European cars and particular the VAG group which is so unreliable.

All their cars are great to drive, handle and are enthusiast cars in most respects but when it comes to reliability, people run like the plague.

I mean let's take the VAG group for instance, it is a massive group with a lot of money at hand and yet they come out with one big aspect of ownership not well looked after. Now I know that they are not that bad and I have personally seen a lot of old VAG group cars gracefully turn 30 or 40 years old. But yet when you look at the polls or the general sentiment, people always bring about the unreliability.

And it is not just the VAG group, Mercedes, BMW, Renault, JLR and even Ford, (yes Ford because although it is a through and through American company, when it comes to the cars sold in developing countries and Europe, most work is done in the UK) are mostly not considered reliable.

On the other spectrum you have: Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Nissan(mostly though some Nissan's have really bad reliability issues.) and even Hyundai which are ever so reliable.

Now this thread is meant for India but even else where the same unreliability issues occur and this is with really good roads and a much civilized driving manner.

So what is it, because I am frankly out to get a new car and although I know it will be as boring as death, I have pretty much decided on the new Corolla or if that fails the Elantra. Although I would love to go for the Octavia or the Jetta, some fail safe mechanism in me just does not want to believe that it is going to be a reliable choice. I also do not want to come out sounding biased because that is not my intention. You take a back to back test drive of the Corolla and the Octavia and unless you are dead inside, it will always be the Octavia. But still, life is never fair.
Oh and by the by in the thread on most important aspect in car buying decision, I voted reliability.

MODS: If such a thread exists, please merge or delete as Appropriate. Thanks

Last edited by eq24 : 1st November 2013 at 18:18.
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Old 1st November 2013, 18:46   #2
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

The unreliability fact is omnipresent. Not just India specific.
I think in India it gets worse with the bad service experience the European brands offer ( refer to countless threads on Skoda/VW/FIAT/Audi A.S.S). Not honouring warranty and using spurious spares add to the unreliability factor

It has been discussed before on team bhp too. Take a look at this 2012 survey
http://www.whatcar.com/car-news/introduction/1206676
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Old 1st November 2013, 19:08   #3
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

European carmakers see India as the market which is more of profit making and growth generating.

They know that Indians consider most EU brands as premium, and hence more prone overlooking the service and after sales aspect since the snob value attached to an EU car here by general public is so much that things like after sales and quality take a backseat.

Its all business my friend. They are here to do business. Not to score points on ethics and quality.

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Old 1st November 2013, 19:35   #4
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

This has been a set norm build over years, I would say.
And if the latest consumer surveys are to be believed, things are improving.

Here's a link to one such topic that was shared recently.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/intern...r-reports.html (Observations from the 2013 Car Reliability Survey (Consumer Reports))

Last edited by sarathlal : 1st November 2013 at 19:37.
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Old 1st November 2013, 20:24   #5
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

I dont think there is any clear reason on why most european cars are low on reliability, VW group uses good quality parts in all their cars, step inside and even a humble Polo's interior shouts of sheer quality compared to other rivals but yes these cars are regularly plagued with injector issues, squeaks, rotors warping etc.

All cars in my garage are european, its all down to the risk you want to to take. In 4 years of ownership of my Linea, the front strut mounts and clutch slave cylinder have failed, rest of the car has been trouble free. 1.5 years with the Vento TDi and zilch issues so far (touchwood). Ecosport is only a month old so needs time to prove itself.

This is a fact that a Honda or Toyota gives trouble free ownership and is a full proof car but during my test drives i couldnt connect with the trouble free cars.

I am one of those who live to drive, the feel, handling, thud from the doors which the european cars provide is addictive. Have always taken the risk and will do so, just get the 4 year warranty every time and then leave it to luck. I have fun driving each car 364 days a year, face average service on the day of service (which is once a year anyways)
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Old 1st November 2013, 21:11   #6
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

From what I read on tbhp, and user reviews most of the problems seem to be with a specific set of engines. For eg in VW the problematic engines were 1.4 TDP PD, and 1.2 TDI (injector getting loose, unsuspecting breakdowns). The 7 Speed DSG mated to 1.8 TSI Superb was another chronic troublemaker. Also the 1.8 TSI was notorious for drinking engine oil in the first few years of service. Also the Superb 3.6 AWD was another huge troublemaker.

The 2.0 TDI with manual transmission as found in Skoda Laura, and Yeti have so far from most reports been bulletproof with long trouble-free periods of service. Also when replacing parts, try to source original parts or better than original aftermarket parts directly from Europe and go to someone like Petes or German Auto for repair. This setup should last for a long time to come.

If you have a reliable independent workshop like Petes or German Auto near you, whom you can trust then it makes sense to go Euro. If a single dealer who runs multiple outlets is the king in your area, then please do reconsider going Euro and restrain your urges.
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Old 1st November 2013, 22:09   #7
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohh!Oxygen View Post
The unreliability fact is omnipresent. Not just India specific.
I think in India it gets worse with the bad service experience the European brands offer ( refer to countless threads on Skoda/VW/FIAT/Audi A.S.S). Not honouring warranty and using spurious spares add to the unreliability factor
I don't think adding the FIAT to the VW group is fair. FIAT honors the warranty than others, it was plagued by the incompetent TASS/spares unavailability due to low sales and people's perception. VW group ASS is on a different spectrum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolboy007 View Post
I am one of those who live to drive, the feel, handling, thud from the doors which the european cars provide is addictive. Have always taken the risk and will do so, just get the 4 year warranty every time and then leave it to luck. I have fun driving each car 364 days a year, face average service on the day of service (which is once a year anyways)
Exactly. Its just the matter of if you want to drive or commute. An appliance to go from A to B or drive something enjoyable to somewhere(usually nowhere specific we just like to drive, Aint we?).

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Originally Posted by DCEite View Post
They know that Indians consider most EU brands as premium
Its all business my friend. They are here to do business. Not to score points on ethics and quality.
So is Honda and Toyota. 20+ lakhs for Camry/CRV/accord? ridiculous.

Last edited by RIC.BURNS : 1st November 2013 at 22:23.
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Old 1st November 2013, 22:43   #8
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

That one lives to drive and therefore is willing to put up with unreliability for cars costing double the price of reliable ones some of them German who built their brand based on their advertised engineering prowess and reliability, to me seems a specious argument.

though I am all for the FTD factor, but cannot digest that if a car is costing so much (Euro ones) where and why are they cutting corners that cars are not foolproof. i am sure it is within their capability to make a car reliable, then why don't they do it.

If am a moneyed guy being driven around in a Merc or BMW I will be doubly furious than an average Joe if I am stuck on road hitching a ride in a taxi when my expensive ride breaks down in the middle of the city.

So it beats why Euro cars can't be reliable. We Indians are all about VFM. If i pay top dollar for my ride I should also get top value( read more than jap cars) and reliability should be a given.

My 2 cents!!
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Old 1st November 2013, 22:48   #9
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

1. Poor fuel quality affects the motor and crucial parts of the engine.
2. Poor after sales service for PM of the vehicles.
3. Poor technical support in the service centers.
4. Greediness shown by the service center owners to fleece customers.
5. Poor quality of road and infrastructure.
6. Vehicle/Engine technology not compatible with Indian conditions.
7. Vehicle owner's lack of maintenance and awareness about the vehicle.

My fellow members can add whatever they think affects the reliability of the vehicles in India.
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Old 1st November 2013, 23:14   #10
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

Firstly, learned members please correct me wherever I am wrong. What I write below is my -totally untested - hypothesis.

In my view the primary reason is that Europeans have not really designed a car ground up for the Asian/Indian market. What they offer are products designed for western markets, tweaked to Indian/Asian conditions. While on the other hand Toyota/Honda typically offer products that are specific to Asian markets. (e.g T-Innova, H-City).
Typically western economies are developed economies and most lie in the temperate to the frigid zone - meaning that inherent operating conditions are : low temperature, less moisture. On the other hand Asian countries like India lie between the torrid & temperate zone where operating conditions are dominated by high temp and high moisture. In my view operating conditions greatly impact a vehicles performance.

In hot & humid summers of Punjab, my Innova (without AC ) is mostly gasping, shrieking, huffing & puffing. And while it does all that it returns about 11kmpl (without AC) It is altogether a different matter that it is inherently programmed to start doing all those antics from 2400 rpm. But amazingly come September and the same engine delays all those dramatic sounds by another 500-750 rpm and on same roads starts to deliver 12 to 12.5 kmpl. I have no other explanation for this prudent behavior other than the cooler climate and low humidity.

***One way to test my hypothesis would be to get the data from my local Mercedes dealership on car breakdowns during summers & winters and do an analysis on that

****A disclaimer to my hypthesis, like all well intentioned economic research seems to have nowadays: These Europeans also have an Achilles' heal (suspension), much like their Indian counterparts. How exactly high temperature and moisture can cause suspension issues, is beyond the scope of my hypothesis.
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Old 2nd November 2013, 00:52   #11
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
Firstly, learned members please correct me wherever I am wrong. What I write below is my -totally untested - hypothesis.

In my view the primary reason is that Europeans have not really designed a car ground up for the Asian/Indian market. What they offer are products designed for western markets, tweaked to Indian/Asian conditions. While on the other hand Toyota/Honda typically offer products that are specific to Asian markets. (e.g T-Innova, H-City).
Typically western economies are developed economies and most lie in the temperate to the frigid zone - meaning that inherent operating conditions are : low temperature, less moisture. On the other hand Asian countries like India lie between the torrid & temperate zone where operating conditions are dominated by high temp and high moisture. In my view operating conditions greatly impact a vehicles performance.

In hot & humid summers of Punjab, my Innova (without AC ) is mostly gasping, shrieking, huffing & puffing. And while it does all that it returns about 11kmpl (without AC) It is altogether a different matter that it is inherently programmed to start doing all those antics from 2400 rpm. But amazingly come September and the same engine delays all those dramatic sounds by another 500-750 rpm and on same roads starts to deliver 12 to 12.5 kmpl. I have no other explanation for this prudent behavior other than the cooler climate and low humidity.

***One way to test my hypothesis would be to get the data from my local Mercedes dealership on car breakdowns during summers & winters and do an analysis on that

****A disclaimer to my hypthesis, like all well intentioned economic research seems to have nowadays: These Europeans also have an Achilles' heal (suspension), much like their Indian counterparts. How exactly high temperature and moisture can cause suspension issues, is beyond the scope of my hypothesis.
I totally agree with your post.

For example, I have a Toyota Hilux since 2010 and covered 200,000 plus kms till date and the second set of tyres have done 120,000kms.

All it needs is just a regular service at 5000-7000kms. I abuse it in the desert, roads and offroad.....But its solid as it can be!
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Old 2nd November 2013, 02:56   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
In my view operating conditions greatly impact a vehicles performance.

In hot & humid summers of Punjab, my Innova (without AC ) is mostly gasping, shrieking, huffing & puffing. And while it does all that it returns about 11kmpl (without AC). I have no other explanation for this prudent behavior other than the cooler climate and low humidity.
+1.

Cooler the weather, denser it is so the availability of oxygen for combustion is higher thus a better efficiency. The summer is hot and the air has lower amounts of oxygen, so the car feels strained. In winters the car will be smooth and silent. That is the reason your getting the mileage difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
****A disclaimer to my hypthesis, like all well intentioned economic research seems to have nowadays: These Europeans also have an Achilles' heal (suspension), much like their Indian counterparts. How exactly high temperature and moisture can cause suspension issues, is beyond the scope of my hypothesis.
Won't high moisture would lead to rusting of metal parts causing slow damage to the car and eventual break down?

Anurag.
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Old 2nd November 2013, 06:53   #13
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Good thread eq24. I'm in same dilemma since my heart is set out to buy Skoda yeti, but mind isn't sold yet. I haven't seen/heard/read many issues with yeti so far.. It may also be due to the fact that yeti sells so less in volume, and issues are hardly raised in online forums!! I haven't seen a yeti on flat bed or being towed, which makes me believe it's rock solid and reliable ;but at the same time, almost all other vehicles from Skoda or its parent group is frequently seen on flatbeds. Since I don't own one, my perceptions are built purely on others experience and feedback. Maybe it isn't fair, but I'm helpless.

For me, the car should simply do its job. As a owner, I will take care of the vehicle well, but not at the cost of my weekend.. I prefer to spend the same amount of time a suzuki or hyundai takes on a European car, but nothing more. If the car care takes more time than my kids or wife, it's a problem :-)

I'm not sure whether to plonk the money on yeti, or go for Japanese models. I'm in market looking for compact suv with great quality interiors, engine and power;and I hardly have a choice.

Ecosport or duster or terrano doesn't put a smile on my face, the way yeti does.

I'm still pondering whether to take the expensive-risk, or settle for elantra/Corolla???
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Old 2nd November 2013, 08:06   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harishpr View Post
I'm not sure whether to plonk the money on yeti, or go for Japanese models. I'm in market looking for compact suv with great quality interiors, engine and power;and I hardly have a choice. Ecosport or duster or terrano doesn't put a smile on my face, the way yeti does. I'm still pondering whether to take the expensive-risk, or settle for elantra/Corolla???
Harish,in my personal opinion,not withstanding all the hype that has always surrounded the Laura and the Octavia,I think that the Yeti is the best product Skoda India has brought to us. The looks of the Yeti have always been subjective and that has led to extremely low sales. It's much more capable than most of the so called SUVs that are flying of the shelves. This is a call you will have to take with your heart and not your head.
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Old 2nd November 2013, 11:09   #15
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Default Re: Why are most European cars Unreliable in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
In my view the primary reason is that Europeans have not really designed a car ground up for the Asian/Indian market. What they offer are products designed for western markets, tweaked to Indian/Asian conditions. While on the other hand Toyota/Honda typically offer products that are specific to Asian markets. (e.g T-Innova, H-City).
A plausible hypothesis but going by the hypothesis Euro brands should be doing well atleast in Europe. However we see the same trend even there.

For example in UK's What Car? reliability survey none of the European brands figure in the top ten list.

Quote:
1. Honda
2. Suzuki
3=. Hyundai
3=. Subaru
5. Toyota
6. Lexus
7. Chevrolet
8. Mitsubishi
9=. Ford
9=. Mazda
11. Nissan
For the complete list please check- http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/mo...ability-survey

Part of the reason could be their focus itself. The companies are probably more focused on build / driving experience but missed out on basic reliability.

The Japanese and the Koreans know that the only way they can target a well established Euro brand is to target where they are the weakest. And by focusing on reliability the Japanese and Koreans have consciously compramised on what the European brands stand for.

So what we see here in India is actually a global trend.

A related article I found on the 'myth of German engineering'-

http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2...gineering.html

Last edited by pacman2881 : 2nd November 2013 at 11:11.
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