Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > The Indian Car Scene


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 28th December 2013, 16:39   #16
BHPian
 
devil_klm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 407
Thanked: 186 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
You are all underestimating the power of MBA degrees. It's a marketing technique.

Make the base variant ugly. Make the top variant expensive. And then crank out high margin mid variants in the thousands.
This is correct for B segment hatch backs. Go to any Maruti showroom, sales guy will push you to get VDI/VXI variant exaggerating the features they offer and how cheap they are compared to top model. When i went for swift ZDI, SE was saying ABS and Airbag are mandatory only for bigger vehicles. And for the common man middle variant offers best VFM and resale value. Meanwhile those who are considering C/D segments, tendency is to go for the higher model. They have better knowledge on the safety features and luxury in top models. More over it is a show off for them. Many of these are chauffeur driven. Those who consider the car only for traveling in back seat, base/top models offer same features at backseat except some minor things(Eg: Leather seats, Arm rest, Audio control at back side.). My opinion is Driver of these cars are enjoying the features of them the car. If you are not going to drive ,why not to go for base model and make the minor cosmetic changes as per your taste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by volkman10 View Post
Isn't this the way the auto industry works internationally too?

Cheers!
IMO internationally base models are used as taxis. Very few people consider a taxi model for private use. EG: Skoda Octavia, Vauxhall Astra etc in UK. Here we can compare Tata Indica in the same way. but at least a 25% of them are private owned. Your thoughts?

I wont say to avoid base models from the Indian market. There will be many who are looking for a base model as per their requirement.
devil_klm is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2013, 18:42   #17
Distinguished - BHPian
 
vb-san's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: S'pore/Thrissur
Posts: 4,698
Thanked: 3,889 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvijay View Post
Take any A segment / B segment hatch/sedan, there is always this base variant that comes with exteriors showcasing black unpainted door handles and ORVMs, cost cutting agreed!

For that matter, to see a similar C segment base variant, especially a global car wearing the same black plastic door handles and unpainted ORVMs makes it a total eye-sore! EcoSport Ambiente, Vento Trendline, City Corporate Edition (Outgoing only) are examples.
In many cases, the existence of bare-bone base versions is quite understandable. For entry-level A-segment cars, these base versions offer buyers the option to get into the world of four wheelers. And in some other cases, especially in the B-segment or C-segment categories, the tagline of starting price of X.99 lakhs will definitely help to lure customers into the showroom. With the Ecosport, I believe this strategy really helped Ford. And they were the one who got badly bruised with the misfired strategy of premium base model with the Fiesta.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvijay View Post
My take is, seeing such an aesthetic glaring cost cutting on a luxury car as Vento or EcoSport is not appreciated. Heck its C segment, and whomsoever pays close to a million bucks on such a car certainly deserves better looks. And for what such a car stands for. Hyundai never did it with Verna. Likewise some other manufacturers too. That's respectable I say!
I guess your gripe is only on the aesthetics. Because the base Verna is as basic as it can be. And contrary to what you have mentioned, the outgoing City’s CE edition was a good example of how a base version should be. Pretty well-loaded on safety with dual airbags, ABS+EBD etc. And it had nice black interiors too. With such basics covered, its easy to address the aesthetic deficiencies. For reference, check out this excellent ownership thread. Unfortunately, it looks like Honda also has gone with the more popular route with the new City.
vb-san is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2013, 19:02   #18
Senior - BHPian
 
F150's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: PUNE
Posts: 1,557
Thanked: 646 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
Most of the times I feel the base variant satisfies 90% of what you want to have. (Which ticks the right boxes for most people). Anything else could classify as nice to have. Personally speaking, at present I feel that the base variant gives you much more option to customize your car the way you like it!!
While this is the prevalent view in INDIA especially,ABS with EBD, Airbags are definitely not nice to have. Indian market is yet to reach that level of safety, when even the lowest models will get ABS and Airbags.

Cruise control, auto opening and close OVRMS with electronic adjustment etc are definitely nice to have, an area where Hyundai excels at

Even today, Lxi in Maruti is the base bare bones variant, Vxi is the mid variant and still it doesnt airbags and ABS as standard.

Coming back to original topic, base variants play a very important role in moving customers from the a segment lower to a higher segment. Examples are plenty.

It is not just a marketing gimmick and there is much more to it and this thread rightly tries to discover it.

Last edited by F150 : 28th December 2013 at 19:06.
F150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2013, 20:28   #19
PPS
Senior - BHPian
 
PPS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: mumbai
Posts: 1,939
Thanked: 1,926 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

We have a Swift Ldi & a Dzire Ldi in the family. For some reason my dad always prefers to buy the basic variant. The explanation given is that we don't need power windows, central locking,etc. My decade old Octavia has started given us problems with the locking mechanism, power windows,etc in the past 6 months!

I feel the bare bones basic variant has a psychological effect on the consumers when the prices are announced. e.g.- Launched at 3.99 lakhs or 4.99 lakhs. Only a small percentage of people opt for this entry level variant from what i have seen. Most of the people opt for the middle variant.
In Maruti's case, even if you opt for the mid-V variant, you do not get ABS & airbags.

Personally, as & when i do earn enough to own a car of my own i would certainly opt for a car with ABS & Airbags. Having driven & lived with a basic variant for many years, i have to admit, it used to bother me whenever i took a look at my car from outside. My Swift doesn't have wheel caps & it did not even come with a mirror on the left! So yes, it is a bit ugly to look at but whenever seated inside it never used to bother me as i was guaranteed a fun driving experience with the multijet engine.
PPS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2013, 21:18   #20
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Chennai
Posts: 151
Thanked: 73 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

Those who missed the point here - my view is never to discourage the presence of any basic variants of any car nor the buying lot. In fact, I own a base variant of a car model. This view is only for those luxury C segment cars (some being global models) and those manufacturers. Subjective being said, I suggest manufacturers could come up with basic variants that doesn't 'look' basic in the least. It doesn't take too much to paint those door handles and ORVMs and make them look more the 'global' way. Again, subjective!
vvijay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2013, 23:09   #21
Senior - BHPian
 
zenren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: CLT/TVM/HYD
Posts: 2,576
Thanked: 1,723 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvijay View Post
I suggest manufacturers could come up with basic variants that doesn't 'look' basic in the least. It doesn't take too much to paint those door handles and ORVMs and make them look more the 'global' way. Again, subjective!
Sorry but I completely disagree. We are unfortunately stereotyped as people who give more importance to looks than quality or safety. That is one of the reasons why everybody in India feel reluctant to pay for ABS and airbags - because that additional money you spend is not visible to others.

BTW, cost to paint door handles and ORVM as body colour is ~1.5k and most ASCs would do it. If anyone who buys a base variant wants it, they can easily get it done without any issue. Manufacturers give it in black so that there is at least one easily identifiable difference on the exterior between every variant. Personally, I feel the only group who is really aggrieved about this would be those people who want to project themselves as richer/more affluent than they really are!

I feel we are not actually annoyed with the 'ugly' looks of the black coloured door handles and ORVMs but the fact that someone would easily spot it as a base variant instead of the mid/top variant, depriving the image in the social circle. In case of most cars, these are the only difference on the exterior between the base variant and a mid variant. We'll probably have the same grievance if base model came with body coloured ORVMs and door handles but every other variant came with chrome finish. Same with steel wheels versus wheel caps. If alloy wheels start appearing as standard from mid variants, even wheel caps wont be enough for the 'looks' of the car.

I would personally prefer the manufacturer to put some useful feature like tachometer in the base version instead of painting the ORVM and door handles as body colour.
zenren is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2013, 23:12   #22
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Pune
Posts: 21
Thanked: 12 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

I also own a base variant (Punto Active)

1. I had initially decided to buy WagonR Vxi.. but then chose Punto Diesel Active. This couldn't not have happened had there been no "ugly" base variant.
2. Discounts on base variants are generally more. (Always more if we consider it as % of the price)
3. You are almost certain that the base variant you are getting is not used as a demo vehicle
4. For base model, you also save % cost on insurance, tax etc.
e.g. if next variant has body colored ORVM, it going to be ORVM cost + %insurance + %tax; i.e. you end up paying more than you deserve
kookaburra is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2013, 09:19   #23
Senior - BHPian
 
procrj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,120
Thanked: 2,467 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

I drive a bare basics version and have never been bothered by the black interiors (in fact I prefer them) and black door handles & OVRMs. If the definition of bare basics if from an aesthetic viewpoint, then that is a quick fix for the new owners. The bigger issue is when you define it from a functional view point. I would love to have ABS and Airbags in my basic & very functional vehicle but the Marketing folks think that the normal bumper to bumper city driving (in)sane person is not interested in them. Add to that the premium+ pricing of these and end result is people settling for the bare bones.

But I personally feel that the OEM need not compromise on looks. If the A.S.S can provide body colored OVRMs and door handles etc. @ 1.5K, then why not include it in the 'discount package'??
procrj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2013, 16:05   #24
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 162
Thanked: 113 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by procrj View Post
The bigger issue is when you define it from a functional view point. I would love to have ABS and Airbags in my basic & very functional vehicle

But I personally feel that the OEM need not compromise on looks. If the A.S.S can provide body colored OVRMs and door handles etc. @ 1.5K, then why not include it in the 'discount package'??
I drive a Polo trendline. Aethetically the compromise is limited to black rvms and door handles which honestly doesn't look bad at all. But I would have paid more for just airbags and abs. You always get an advantage in lower models with the flexibility to customise music system, seat covers, etc.

IMO the reason car companies use tactics like black ovrm and door handles is to make the customer feel guilty (of the obvious cheapness) and as a result upgrade onto the next variant. Works for most I guess.
vivekz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2013, 23:20   #25
BHPian
 
mints21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: India
Posts: 735
Thanked: 1,181 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

I was once sitting with a senior marketing guy of a car manufacturing company. According to him, there has been a great change in the last few years and buying preference of customers have changed. The lower most variant and the top most variant do not give sales number. The number comes from the mid variants. You would hardly see on roads a new Alto 800 with black bumpers or the D-lite or Era variant of i10 and i120. Hyundai sells the magna, sports variants the most. You will hardly find an Asta(o) from the i20 stable on roads.

Even, the first time buyers now want a few basic features like body coloured bumpers, front power windows, air conditioner etc.

So things have started changing and so has the companies. Companies are tuning themselves with the demands of the market.

Even most of us have started our journeys on cars that had no air conditioners during the Premier Padmini and Ambassador regime and now how many of us drive the cars with no air conditioners?

Last edited by mints21 : 29th December 2013 at 23:22.
mints21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2013, 00:21   #26
Senior - BHPian
 
zenren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: CLT/TVM/HYD
Posts: 2,576
Thanked: 1,723 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mints21 View Post
I was once sitting with a senior marketing guy of a car manufacturing company. According to him, there has been a great change in the last few years and buying preference of customers have changed. The lower most variant and the top most variant do not give sales number. The number comes from the mid variants.
One of the main reasons why manufacturers promote the mid variant is because of the higher profit margins on the same. For any car model, the pricing is mentioned as X lakhs to Y lakhs where X and Y are the base and top end prices. Most manufacturers compromise on the profit margins of these two variants to undercut the competition on the pricing front. Price of mid variant just needs to be somewhere in between X and Y - no one would know/realise if an additional 10-20k profit is added to the regular price, since it would still be in the same range. In most cases, if you analyse the additional benefits you get in the top end model and the price differential over mid variant, you'll see that delta is very reasonable if you wanted all those features. Putting useless features into the top end to dilute the VFM factor is another art of these marketers so that an actual customer would still feel the top end as slightly over-priced for his requirement.

Dealerships promote the sales of the mid variant most and the extreme variants are least encouraged. In most cases, the mid variant would be readily available while the base/top variant would require a waiting period. I had to wait an additional 1-2 months for ABS option in my Swift VDi back in 2008 when it was the top-end with no option of a ZDi. I decided to still wait it out since we were in no hurry to upgrade, but most customers would compromise on the VDi since the dealers were discouraging the ABS as much as they could.
zenren is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2013, 10:53   #27
BHPian
 
urajkumar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Chennai
Posts: 360
Thanked: 286 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

I disagree with your point!

Call me biased but i think the base variant of the Ecosport is better looking than the mid or top variants! The black handle, Grill, ORVM etc contrasts the light color. It is another matter that it does miss out ABS/Airbags etc but it does depend on the budget & requirement of the buyer.
Attached Thumbnails
Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!-dsc_0375.jpg  

Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!-dsc_0377.jpg  

urajkumar is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2013, 11:13   #28
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 155
Thanked: 48 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

What really matters while shifting from one segment to the other is the change in the basic product that you are getting.
For example, i faced a tradeoff between the top end Wagon R and a base variant Ritz at the same price level (aprox).

For the Wagon R ZXI, i would get a fully loaded car with best of class creature comforts. In contrast, I was getting a better body design, a more powerful 4 cylinder engine, a car with better stability.
The former would 'look' like a top end model, the latter would require me to buy even the wheel covers.


I ended up extending my budget and taking a Ritz VXI. But if I would not have been able to extend my budget, I would have taken the Ritz and added the accessories later.

To me, all 4 power windows mean a lot less than an extra cylinder in the engine, 12 inch alloy wheels mean a lot less than original 14 inch rims (I can shift the latter to alloys in the future, but cannot upgrade the former into 14 inches).

But then I have also seen many potential buyers prefer the Wagon R top end to the Ritz base model, simply because it offers a better all round deal than the Ritz.

It really depends on one's priorities. My Wife was more inclined on the Wagon R, I was hell bent on the Ritz.
amitayu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2013, 11:16   #29
BHPian
 
pratyush6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: RNC - BLR
Posts: 485
Thanked: 541 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

I do not agree with the view of base being ugly at all. I also do not think it is that important.

I drive a Figo Diesel (T) and have still not seen anything different 'from the outside' between the Titanium and the base. Honestly, when I was not a lot into cars, I did not even know that in the Punto for example, what did Active or Emotion mean.

I would not mind a base version of the car if it had ABS & Airbags (rather than a brilliant audio, leather seats etc). Unfortunately, looks rather than safety is more important in India, and that is where this discussion is heading.
pratyush6 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2013, 11:22   #30
BHPian
 
baludharmarajan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Cochin
Posts: 49
Thanked: 16 Times
Default Re: Bare basic variants and their ugly looks!

Base variants are stripped down to lower the cost to attract buyers to the showroom. Once they get people to showroom they will market mid variants.

They also help to lure the customers from a segment below and provide a segment overlap.An ad showing i20 start at 4.5 Lakhs would certainly attract a beat buyer but he may not be interested if its showing start from 5.5 lakhs.

When I went to buy a car I looked at spark top end model and I saw that I could get a beat base model. When I saw i20's starting prize I thought why not stretch budget little more and finally ended up buying it.

I think the base variant gimmick is targeted to get people to showroom who otherwise would not be looking at this segment due to its price. They would not come to know that base variant has black coloured bumper until they get to showroom as the in Ad's they give pricing of base variant and picture of top variant. Some times a base variant of c2 segment car makes sense than fully loaded c1 segment cars.
baludharmarajan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
SCOOP: Bare-bones people-carrier found testing in Pune! arvi86 Commercial Vehicles 7 9th June 2012 20:37
Aston Martin Opens their showroom in New Delhi, their 2nd Dealership in India Ace F355 Super-Cars & Imports in India 1 19th May 2012 20:59
Toyota Fortuner. Name's Gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridus. And I am Good, Bad & Ugly columbus Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 96 20th April 2012 08:30
Website of car companies in India. Good, bad and the ugly sriramv.iyer The Indian Car Scene 54 22nd March 2012 14:55


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 10:30.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks