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Old 2nd January 2014, 17:44   #16
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Default Re: Lower priced Cars get luxury features

I think the manufacturers are responding to the market.
Indian customers are becoming aware of some of the standard features (some for convenience and some for safety) that are available in higher end models. Manufacturers of economy cars aspire to move their model up the ladder, by a rung or two, my offering these features with minimal cost to them.
It sure is a welcome move. It pushes the standards of an average Indian automobile.
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Old 2nd January 2014, 19:23   #17
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I hope whatever is said in the article becomes a reality soon. My 4yr old Swift base variant didn't even come with a ORVM on the left. Infact just yesterday i drove a friend's Brio which was the base variant.
What i found shocking was that there is no joystick to adjust the mirrors from the inside. You have to first roll down the windows & adjust it, while this is possible on the right how is one supposed to do so on the left! I was surprised considering the base variant comes with front power windows.
Yeah - Honda has been a bit parsimonious when it comes to kitting their cars here. My City, just over a year and a half, has far fewer features that some of the premium hatches. No EOVRM, no bluetooth, no ACC, no rear A/C vents... For a ten lac plus car it was a bit steep.
Well - I guess competition has forced them to be a bit more openhanded (the new City is an example) which is great for the customer.

Last edited by wilful : 2nd January 2014 at 19:25.
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Old 4th January 2014, 06:25   #18
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Default Re: Lower priced Cars get luxury features

The ET article goes on to describe that while the prices have gone up 5-10% the increment in features is around 20%.

Agree with everyone here that car manufacturers have to understand that they have to start treating us as a mature car market like their international markets, no longer can they have huge differences in quality of the cars they sell domestically and the ones they export.

But once a friend made a general statement that the tendency of Indian manufacturers / producers is to export the best quality products and sell mediocre quality ones here unlike any other country in General and China in particular, be it fruits, clothes or cars. China does the exact opposite, dumps mediocre / poor quality products in developing markets and sells the best stuff domestically.
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Old 4th January 2014, 09:12   #19
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Default Re: Lower priced Cars get luxury features

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Originally Posted by wilful View Post
There is a report in ET today stating that car-makers are adding more and more features to even low end cars in order to boost sales. This is great news for us consumers! They even talk of stuff like electric ORVM being introduced in entry level cars in 2014.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/28251464.cms
There is an important aspect in the article that at least some of you seem to have overlooked. The statistic looks at how many models come with these features in at least one of the variants; its not whether the features are available across all the variants.

So from a statistical perspective, its 'available' in a car even if it is available only in the exorbitantly priced top variant. However, how many such top variants actually sell is something we already know.

Personally, I would look at only those features that are available right from the base variants as defining the trend in our industry segments. For eg, AC and PS are no longer a 'feature'- its something that is an integral part of any car.

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Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
Hyundai was probably the first one to offer power windows in Santro way back in 2002.
I think Zen, Wagon R, Alto, Santro, Matiz and Indica top end variants came with power windows as early as 98-99. For all these cars, there have always been a base variant without power windows.

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Agree with everyone here that car manufacturers have to understand that they have to start treating us as a mature car market like their international markets, no longer can they have huge differences in quality of the cars they sell domestically and the ones they export.
They'll treat us as a mature market when we start buying more top end variants instead of base/mid variants. How can they recover the R&D costs and achieve benefits of mass production if we don't buy the top variants which comes with these innovative features?

I'm not sure if we should blame the manufacturers entirely. We should take at least part of that blame, if not in full. Most buyers who can spend 6L on a car doesn't think spending an additional 20k for ABS is worth it. With the majority of the customers thinking this way, the manufacturers provide what the customer wants. They are here to do business and are answerable to their shareholders.

Last edited by zenren : 4th January 2014 at 09:29.
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Old 5th January 2014, 01:44   #20
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Exclamation Re: Lower priced Cars get luxury features

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Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
Absolutely! Hyundai has to credited for squeezing a lot of equipment into their cars, some of them being segment firsts.

Rival manufacturers still don't seem to care!
But unbelievable and funny that they omitted the MID with Distance to empty, Average Mileage, Instant Mileage, etc features.

Cheers!
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Old 5th January 2014, 06:02   #21
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There is an important aspect in the article that at least some of you seem to have overlooked. The statistic looks at how many models come with these features in at least one of the variants; its not whether the features are available across all the variants. So from a statistical perspective, its 'available' in a car even if it is available only in the exorbitantly priced top variant. However, how many such top variants actually sell is something we already know. Personally, I would look at only those features that are available right from the base variants as defining the trend in our industry segments. For eg, AC and PS are no longer a 'feature'- its something that is an integral part of any car. I think Zen, Wagon R, Alto, Santro, Matiz and Indica top end variants came with power windows as early as 98-99. For all these cars, there have always been a base variant without power windows. They'll treat us as a mature market when we start buying more top end variants instead of base/mid variants. How can they recover the R&D costs and achieve benefits of mass production if we don't buy the top variants which comes with these innovative features? I'm not sure if we should blame the manufacturers entirely. We should take at least part of that blame, if not in full. Most buyers who can spend 6L on a car doesn't think spending an additional 20k for ABS is worth it. With the majority of the customers thinking this way, the manufacturers provide what the customer wants. They are here to do business and are answerable to their shareholders.

Good point. Any Hatch, Sedan and SUV vehicles sold here seem to have this problem.


For example ( and this is a major grouse at the manufacturer's idiocy).
The I 20 4speed AT Sportz with the 1.4 litre petrol engine comes with only one driver airbag!
The 1.2 petrol versions in the highest two trim levels irritatingly come with drum brakes at the rear!

The A Star AT comes only in VXi trim and does not have airbags!

The I 10 Grand, the 'Car of the Year' no less, only offers ABS and Airbags in the top variant and that too only on the variant with 'options'.

The other Jap and the Euro manufacturers are no better really since they offer only bare basic stuff in all variants other than the top spec.
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Old 5th January 2014, 10:03   #22
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Default Re: Lower priced Cars get luxury features

While I totally agree with the point that airbags should be made mandatory in India, we should not forget that India is a developing country. When cars like Alto 800, Omni, Eon have profit margins of under 1,00,000 for the company, it is next to impossible to install airbags and not inflate the price. This would mean that a person who was buying an Alto would now buy a bike, which is a thousand times more unsafe. Maybe another 10-15 years when our economic stability etc. would be better, it would be a possibility. However, it is very interesting to see the tough competition between cars these days and manufacturers trying to bring in more and more features than their competitors.

Remember how the Polo and Vento had no Aux-in, USB or Bluetooth, but when they say their sales figures slipping to Hyundai, i.e i20 and Verna respectively, they silently slipped in these additions. Now, Hyundai is also planning on adding an OLED touch screen in the Elantra (the Mercedes S-Class has a TFT) and that with the much needed cooled seats that it already has being added to the rear bench as well would make the Elantra a tough car to beat. In that way, now even Honda is learning, as we can see with the loaded New City and the Brio and Amaze. Way to go manufacturers!
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Old 5th January 2014, 11:34   #23
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Default Re: Lower priced Cars get luxury features

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Originally Posted by prakhar1998 View Post
Remember how the Polo and Vento had no Aux-in, USB or Bluetooth, but when they say their sales figures slipping to Hyundai, i.e i20 and Verna respectively, they silently slipped in these additions. Now, Hyundai is also planning on adding an OLED touch screen in the Elantra (the Mercedes S-Class has a TFT) and that with the much needed cooled seats that it already has being added to the rear bench as well would make the Elantra a tough car to beat. In that way, now even Honda is learning, as we can see with the loaded New City and the Brio and Amaze. Way to go manufacturers!
We are yet to see the flip side of overloading cars with electronic gadgets. Once these cars age beyond 8-10 years, some of these stuff would cause heavy upkeep costs and hence the cars would go to scrap yards faster instead of multiple ownerships, indirectly causing a huge resale value dip for used cars. For eg, internally adjustable lever for side mirror might work for ever but the motor for an electric mirror could require replacement after years of use. For non-critical parts, people might just ignore it but if some critical parts get affected, parts availability would also become an issue at that point leading to the death of that car.
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Old 5th January 2014, 16:07   #24
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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
The 1.2 petrol versions in the highest two trim levels irritatingly come with drum brakes at the rear!
Does it really matter in a 4m 1 ton hatchback with a 1.2L engine to haul it? Have found i20 brakes to be sufficient enough.

Totally agree with your point on the AT though. At 9L on road- you get only the mid level Sportz version with a very limited feature list. Prices used to be similar when the used to offer AT in the Asta trim. Less said about the Grand i10 the better- no way of getting ABS and airbags for the AT version which costs 7L on road!
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Old 5th January 2014, 17:47   #25
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Originally Posted by prakhar1998 View Post
While I totally agree with the point that airbags should be made mandatory in India, we should not forget that India is a developing country. When cars like Alto 800, Omni, Eon have profit margins of under 1,00,000 for the company, it is next to impossible to install airbags and not inflate the price. This would mean that a person who was buying an Alto would now buy a bike, which is a thousand times more unsafe. Maybe another 10-15 years when our economic stability etc. would be better, it would be a possibility!
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Originally Posted by zenren View Post
We are yet to see the flip side of overloading cars with electronic gadgets. Once these cars age beyond 8-10 years, some of these stuff would cause heavy upkeep costs and hence the cars would go to scrap yards faster instead of multiple ownerships, indirectly causing a huge resale value dip car.
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Does it really matter in a 4m 1 ton hatchback with a 1.2L engine to haul it? Have found i20 brakes to be sufficient enough. Totally agree with your point on the AT though!

Prakhar: Thats a fair point. Having said that, given that they have such huge plants and capacity here and are moaning and groaning about low sales and capacity under utilization etc. Why don't they give discerning consumers an opportunity to choose a few options extra, pay then booking amounts and be made to wait for a reasonable time for order fulfillment. This way a discerning consumer who wants only a small AT city runabout but values safety highly, need not be forced into buying a larger, higher segment car or compromise on some functionality! I see no reason why the manufacturers can't explore these options too, because there are some sections of people and needs which will evolve and develop at a much faster rate than the rest of the country!

Zenren: I would hazard that the used car market is developing hugely already. People are highly aware that they can get fantastically specc'ed high segment cars for bargain prices. The used car market I believe is growing much faster than the new car market. This is true of many developed nations too and we appear to already be getting there without going through the whole cycle that they went through - much like the way in which Internet and mobile penetration has taken place!

CrazyDriver: Yes it matters to me (slightly whimsical maybe but hey, I am a highly aware consumer who is willing to pay), however well drums may work in that 1.2. I would like the vehicle to have better specs overall. They have given us most of the stuff. Why skimp on brakes?
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Old 6th January 2014, 16:00   #26
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While f the manufacturers are waking up, some still refuse to open their eyes. I test drove the Safari Storme over the week end. The LX & EXl does not offer airbags (even as an option), moreover even small things like driver seat height adjustment are missing from the LX. This in a car which costs almost Rs.12 lakh on road.

I like this car but the Mahinda XUV 500 is a lot better equipped. While I am not crying out for luxury features like heated seats and mirrors, airbags, ICE controls on the steering wheel are safety features which should not be missed. Had the government not mandated the compulsory provision of seat belts, we would still be getting cars without this very basic safety feature.
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Old 7th January 2014, 00:10   #27
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While f the manufacturers are waking up, some still refuse to open their eyes. I test drove the Safari Storme over the week end. The LX & EXl does not offer airbags (even as an option), moreover even small things like driver seat height adjustment are missing from the LX. This in a car which costs almost Rs.12 lakh on road.

I like this car but the Mahinda XUV 500 is a lot better equipped. While I am not crying out for luxury features like heated seats and mirrors, airbags, ICE controls on the steering wheel are safety features which should not be missed. Had the government not mandated the compulsory provision of seat belts, we would still be getting cars without this very basic safety feature.
Airbags is not a "luxury feature", it's a must have safety feature in very car along with seat belts and ABS.
My personal opinion based on speaking to few people, most of the people refuse to buy a car with Airbags because the insurance doesn't cover them when it gets deployed with the car in repairable condition. But this scenarios is less like to happen when compared to the car getting totaled where you will be covered completely by the insurance and your life is saved. If insurance covers the replacing cost of Airbags, then we might see most people will opt for it and becomes a standard. Insurance company is charging based on showroom price which includes the Airbags cost but why they are not covering is a mystery and a cheating done by them. Other problem is repair in Airbags,I believe that the manufacturers provides/should provide lifetime warranty on Airbags but people are not informed on this which is also another reason.

Last edited by Sudan_NFS : 7th January 2014 at 00:16. Reason: added few more words.
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Old 7th January 2014, 07:23   #28
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Airbags is not a "luxury feature", it's a must have safety feature in very car along with seat belts and ABS. My personal opinion based on speaking to n.
I think rajaneesh's non use of correct punctuation caused you to think that he considers airbags luxury features, when in fact I do believe he was trying to illustrate that airbags and steering mounted controls are indeed safety aids. Perhaps he should have stuck in a semi colon before the word airbags. Just read his sentence again and pause briefly before the word airbags and you will see a significant alteration in the meaning conveyed by the sentence!

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Old 7th January 2014, 10:01   #29
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Default Re: Lower priced Cars get luxury features

Standard safety features like ABS, airbags should be made mandatory for all cars running on our roads. This is the first priority.

Most of the things we find only in luxury or upper C segment cars are not really costly to implement. For any manufacturer, adding one foldable arm rest in the centre of the back seat, with a cup holder would cost at max around 2000 Rs more. A joystick for the ORVMs would cost a few hundreds max. Painting door handles the same colour as the body will cost, maybe 200-300 in all. Seat height adjustment(manual)? 1000-2000 (optimistic estimate. Actual will be in hundreds). A lamp in the boot - 200

If we think like this, many of the features they avoid in the base model are just to squeeze a premium from buyers on the higher variant, while keeping the starting prices low. Many of us consider a model based on the starting price of the car, and then stretch a bit and buy the higher variant. I know many people who started with a small car with all options, then thought "if I pay a little bit more, I can get the base variant of the bigger car", and ended up buying the middle/higher variant of the bigger car.

Mercedes used to give air suspension in S class and similar ones only. But they've brought it as an option in the new C Class. This was very much expected, because time would demand for it. We know that a normal(may be low-tech) air suspension retro fit for a big van would cost only about 1.5 lacs including fitting. Many people bought S Class at 1 crore just for the air suspension, who otherwise would buy only the E. But Merc can't go on forever like this, and made the air suspension available in other models, while the S class took league by so many luxury and comforts like the MBC. This is change made by time. And we call it 'growing up'.
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Old 7th January 2014, 14:35   #30
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Standard safety features like ABS, airbags should be made mandatory for all cars running on our roads. This is the first priority. Most of the things we find only in luxury or upper C segment cars are not really costly to implement. For any manufacturer, adding one foldable arm rest in the centre of the back seat, with a cup holder would cost at max around 2000 Rs more. A joystick for the ORVMs would cost a few hundreds max. Painting door handles the same colour as the body will cost, maybe 200-300 in all. Seat height adjustment(manual)? 1000-2000 (optimistic estimate. Actual will be in hundreds). A lamp in the boot - 200 If the starting prices low. Many of us consider a model based on the starting price of the car, and then stretch a bit and buy the higher variant. I know many people who started with a small car with all options, then thought "if I pay a little bit more, I can get the base variant of the bigger This is change made by time. And we call it 'growing up'.
Good set of points. The manufacturers load lots of useless things into the variants and highlight them as 'features' whilst completely ignoring the essentials.

It is only when mandated by law, that they introduce the essential safety features etc.

And yes. Many consumers who were about to spring for the Top level hatch in a particular make and then get carried away by a desire (pun intended) for the 'next sized' car 'with the boot'.

I was a victim of this thought process not so long ago but luckily with the passage of time and gain of greater exposure, my priorities have been completely re-set!

I really wish that the manufacturers would catalyze the growing up process in this market!
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