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Old 12th April 2014, 12:38   #61
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

Thanks for the great reporting and insight provided month after month!

I have been involved in quite a few car buying decisions in the last couple of months and I must say that in the current scenario it is a very tough job and one is easily spoilt for choice. I am summarizing the car buying decisions recently made by me, which may somewhat reflect the prevalent customer sentiments:

1. Personal vehicle :
Chosen :
Ford Figo TDCI Exi for exceptional VFM tag, driving dynamics, reasonably loaded for the price, big car (upgrading from a Beat), comes with BT audio as standard fitment, comfortable rear bench, solid build, best dealership experience.
Discarded:
Suzuki Swift LDi/VDi for exorbitant pricing, Spartan equipment list, rear bench.
Chevy Beat Diesel LT : Bad dealership experience, removal of USP(ACC), there is already a Beat in the house, wanted to move up by a segment
Nissan Micra : Apathy at dealership, ordinary interiors, especially the dash. Or maybe just that I like black interiors in my cars.
Fiat Punto : Bad reputation of the sole Fiat dealer, I still rue not buying the Punto.
Vista Tech : The door handle of the display vehicle came apart in my hand, most dealerships closed or switched loyalties.


2. MUVs for employer :
Chosen :
Chevrolet Enjoy LS TCDI x 2 for VFM price tag, fuel efficiency, interior space and comfort, urban drivability, good equipment list - power windows and 2nd row AC in base variant.
Discarded :
MS Ertiga: unusable last row and rather optimistic pricing for a stretched Ritz! The middle variant was fairly equipped though.
Nissan Evalia: for quirky looks, Spartan and non-ergonomic interiors, price tag, poor dealership experience. It is just a overpriced parcel van.
M&M Xylo : previously owned by employer, turned out to be troublesome.

3.Mini SUV for employer:
Chosen :
Ford Ecosport Trend TDCI for my rapport with the dealer, contemporary styling, equipment list, assurance of early delivery.
Discarded :
Nissan Terrano : why did I even bother wasting time at the Nissan dealership.

4. Sedan for the Top Brass :
Chosen :
Jaguar XF 2.2 Diesel for the Boss asked for it
Discarded:
Honda City Diesel : Booked and then cancelled as the Boss wanted move a few segments higher.
Skoda Octavia : Booked and then cancelled as the Boss wanted move a few segments higher.

With the diversity of requirements and opinions as prevalent, it is pretty tough for the manufacturers to come up with an all inclusive package that would please all. More so, when the primary consideration most often is the price tag. Then comes perception which is something rather unpredictable and often cannot be altered. For example: I do not want to buy a Tata as I am of the perception that Tata vehicles are not reliable, however I have never owned a Tata, so my perception is vague and is primarily based on hearsay. Out of an average of 5K Indica/Vista being still sold per month, we come across only a handful of aggrieved customers repenting on the internet. However, what worries me is the even thinner number of satisfied customers conveying their joy of owning a Tata.
That said, there are loose ends which manufacturers can tie up in a jiffy. Like lackadaisical dealers, poor A.S.S. , adding features with does not need radical re-engineering, better marketing. A dealer who has nurtured a bad reputation could also not be easily done away with unless a better alternative is found. Ditto with A.S.S. which is also controlled fully by dealerships. Why cannot the manufacturers introduce company owned and controlled A.S.S. points like the fuel pumps do?
The Indian car market has evolved into a hard playing ground with cut-throat competition. Players like GMI, with their laid back attitude, will most likely rot away. Why the SAIC Sail and not the Chevy Sonic is an endless debate, MS/Hyundai does sell 8-9 lac rupee hatchbacks in India and look at the numbers they fetch! So, "India is not ready for Sonic" is a bad excuse. Then players like Nissan/Ford will export their way to glory without bothering about the Indian domestic market too much and players like Tata will fall, and hopefully learn and rise again( with JLR inputs).

Last edited by mi2n : 12th April 2014 at 12:43.
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Old 12th April 2014, 12:44   #62
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

Wow.. Most awaited review.

Good Show by the champions- MSIL, Honda, M&M all laughing away to the bank.

MSIL- Their show stoppers Swift Twins, WR and Alto ensure they stay on top of the pile. In a competitive market, 45%+ market share speaks volumes about their commitment and consistency.

Hyundai- Grand i10 is flying. And once Xcent settles down, it is capable of 6K + month on month. Amaze may face a two pronged heat- The much better packaged City and now the Xcent. Am not considering the Dzire as its sales are almost thrice that of Amaze.

M&M- What does Bolero eat for breakfast?? Wow. Just keeps me wondering what this utilitarian MUV does to keep the nos. it does!!

Other Success stories-Scorpio and XuV.

Most of the other line up though is nothing great.
Major Flops-Vibe and Verito needs to go. Even Taxi plyers now prefer the Etios.

Even the Quanto has been a laggard and sales figures are nothing great to write home about.

Datsun- Good to see 2K off the block for this relatively unknown Japanese brand.

Fiat- Need newer products now. You have the capability of 2K+ MoM.

GM- Time to go back or should we start a "Bharat Chhodo" andolan!!
Pathetic products and even more pathetic service.

Skoda- So happy for you. In older DOS games, we had a great game called Duke Nukem. A catch line is apt for Skoda and what they have meted to the indian junta--
"Die, Die, you Son of a b***h die. Skoda, you certainly had a great platform but blew it apart with your own doing.
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Old 12th April 2014, 18:07   #63
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

Thanks for the much awaited sales numbers.

Guys, any idea why Datsun is in a separate section. Why is it not clubbed with Nissan. I thought Datsun was owned by Nissan - right?
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Old 12th April 2014, 18:43   #64
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Originally Posted by kiranknair View Post
Thanks for the much awaited sales numbers.

Guys, any idea why Datsun is in a separate section. Why is it not clubbed with Nissan. I thought Datsun was owned by Nissan - right?
Even VW and skoda are shown separately even though VW owns skoda. Anyway having the numbers separate would let us understand which one sold how much. Its better that way.
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Old 12th April 2014, 19:49   #65
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

Octavia in its new avatar has failed to resurrect the magic of 2002 when it was launched. See the difference here. Honda City is into its 5th or 6th iteration and yet flies off the shelves. And Octavia? I see two reasons here. One, name Octavia took a long hiatus when it made way for Laura. I feel it was a big mistake on part of Skoda to do that. Second reason I feel is, the Skoda cars' break-down/A.S.S./delaership horror stories. People have now moved past Octavia. It's like a big Hollywood block-buster which does well in its first but fails miserably in sequel.

Last edited by pgsagar : 12th April 2014 at 19:51.
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Old 12th April 2014, 21:11   #66
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Originally Posted by mi2n View Post
A dealer who has nurtured a bad reputation could also not be easily done away with unless a better alternative is found. Ditto with A.S.S. which is also controlled fully by dealerships. Why cannot the manufacturers introduce company owned and controlled A.S.S. points like the fuel pumps do?
Why indeed?

I have often wondered why car companies do not keep the sizeable margins they offer dealers for themselves by setting up company owned dealerships, at least in the major cities. Would that not also make all dealer and ASS processes sounder?

It is not a shortage of risk-capital that explains this attitude. Especially not in a brutal car market like India's where the vast majority of buyers are extremely (often, pathologically) risk-averse about ASS.

Could it be: (a) A questionable reluctance to employ so many potentially unionizable workers as expensive permanent workers, country-wide?

(b) Brand reputation and image protection? Don't companies much prefer inevitable customer disenchantments and frustrations to be directed at dealers and thereby diffused, rather than immediately and necessarily at the company itself? Or so they think, mistakenly IMO.

(c) A need to tap into local vernacular knowhow about the locality's customers, and also to tap into the BLACK MONEY that small businessmen who own dealerships possess in spades?

In any case: it is clear from how so many companies are struggling (at the cost of many thousands of crores each) with adverse reputations about dealers and ASS that your suggestion is JUST RIGHT for all those firms that want to compete with the 2-3 totally dominant players in the market.

Tata motors is increasing the number of Concorde operations, apparently. All the small players in this market, and especially the Europeans and also Nissan must realize that this is the ONLY way to break the stranglehold of the dominant marques in the long run.
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Old 12th April 2014, 22:37   #67
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Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
Octavia in its new avatar has failed to resurrect the magic of 2002 when it was launched. Second reason I feel is, the Skoda cars' break-down/A.S.S./delaership horror stories. People have now moved past Octavia. It's like a big Hollywood block-buster which does well in its first but fails miserably in sequel.

Don't mean to pick on you @pgsagar, I could have quoted some others as well. But I do think almost all the comments about Skoda on this thread represent a Rorschach test of people's perceptions on the brand.

Look at Skoda's figures model by model

1. The Octavia has ridiculous waiting periods, outsold the Corolla and the Civic and does respectably compared to the Elantra despite higher pricing.
2. The Superb outsells the Camry 5x, outsells the Sonata 20x, outsold the Accord throughout its run and arguably caused Honda to postpone the launch of the next generation, and outsells even SUVs like the Santa Fe and the CRV (despite being a mere refresh of a 5 year old model) competing with brand new models from the competition
3. The Rapid continues to potter along at 1000 units a month come hell or high weather. Yes nowhere near the brand new City but they don't seem to want to make many more cars available

The fact is that Skoda is a market leader in 2 out of 3 segments it competes in (with global products) and does reasonably well with the Rapid which is an India specific model designed to price discriminate for the Vento. I don't think VW group will be very disappointed with where it is in the Indian market.

I think what the figures convey to me is there is hope and fear for every manufacturer - people care about models and not brands - and a good model is enough to move a manufacturer from an also ran to a winner.
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Old 13th April 2014, 02:08   #68
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

My view on the ones languishing at the bottom of the list :-

Toyota - After the successful Innova and Corola why did they have to increase the prices to a level to make it non-committal for an average buyer. Etios twins are nowhere close to the competition offerings. Infact I was shocked with the Etios Petrol engine - so unrefined. Please excuse as its my opinion.
Toyota has a huge loyalty in India and they should replace the Etios with a true Japanese offering to get them some volumes.

Honda - Seems to be on the upward swing but please provide your cars to Indians with metal sheet of a similar tensile strength as available worldwide.

Ford - Seems to be heading in the right direction but should slow down producing other cars if required and get all booked Ecosports on road to show numbers and create the perception in Indian minds. There future products - facelift Fiesta and Figo sedan seem promising models. Infact I am waiting for the Figo Sedan, unless Fiat gets its image right in India.
This is amongst my favourite brands available in India.

Fiat - My most adored brand with respect to their products but not their image / reputation. Their going seems good but too slow and shouldn't have ditched us with a skip of JEEP launch. This adds on to the negative perception in our minds that they never stand to their commitments and makes their future in the minds of Indians, uncertain. Need to market their brand more aggressively.
And Fiat, if required, bribe these so called Auto Journalists to make them say right things about your cars as whatever couple of products you have they are the best in there respective segments. PERIOD.

GM - I am still wondering what Mr. Arvind Saxena saw in the future of GMI or is it just the double pay factor. Their Korean derivatives weren't too good with the engine options and now their offerings are with with the Chinese bodyshells but good Fiat engines (only in Diesel but again some issues in there engineering which made them to recall some SAIL cars).
One company I seriously want to see thrown out of India.

Skoda - If FIAT can price there spare parts relatively much more inexpensive and provide better service then why cant you?

VW - they need to provide us with better engine options in the Polo (discard the old 3 potter out of contention) and also come with the mini SUV soon.
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Old 13th April 2014, 06:46   #69
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

We have seen the Evalia gasping for air and would be interesting to know the sales figures of its cousin Ashok Leyland Stile. Or has it vanished already?
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Old 13th April 2014, 06:47   #70
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

My two cents. Interesting to watch C1 segment sales figures. Looking at the sales figure for Dzire and Amaze for past few months, it seems that Amaze launch has not affected Dzire share in anyway. It only seems C1 segment is growing and more people are moving towards sedan than hatchback. This is also reflected in sedan market share increasing from 19% to 23%. So in opinion, Xcent is going to provide more options and increase the C1 segment market share. Amaze and Dzire will continue to maintain their current figures. It will be interesting to see how this segment spans out in next few months.
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Old 13th April 2014, 09:29   #71
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VW Jetta's sales has increased due to short supply / ASS issue of Skoda Octavia..

These figures do not tell us the other side of the story: That is the one about the waiting list. Cars like City, Ecosport, Celerio etc have huge bookings pending for delivery. Octavia kits are in severe short supply.

Since this report captures only the invoiced data, it shows only one face of the coin. Is it possible to get the data from the booking ledgers too? Off course, there can be up to 10% cancellations from the booked numbers, but never the less, will give a nice picture..
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Old 13th April 2014, 10:21   #72
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

With respect to the discussions on what's bringing in numbers, specially with the sedans, I feel its the new products which turn the tables around. As discussed previously, I cannot really see a fall in the DZire's sales with the introduction of Amaze. It's just that the Amaze was a very good product and procured its own sweet spot in that segment.
Similarly, the new City. A whopping 9500 odd units hasn't taken much from the main contender, Verna!
I feel there's a whole lot of Indian Customers whose car requirements are just met with most of those favorite launches
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Old 13th April 2014, 11:00   #73
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Default Re: March 2014 : Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

IMO, the sales charts are not being interpreted entirely in the right way. It's NOT like a running race where there is a momentum. It's not like there are only a certain fixed number of people who'll earn money to buy cars. All these are just numbers, and are best used to see just the quantity of cars sold.

Reading the mindset of Indian consumer requires a certain form of tacit knowledge apart from just the on-ground research. All kinds of people buy different cars for different reasons. Amaze selling more units doesn't necessarily mean its eating into the Dzire 'Pie'. Each car has its own unique quality & advantage.

For example, 3 years back, looking at these sales charts, it would've never been apparent that people will buy a petrol SUV for city use (EcoSport).

I may not be completely right, but I really feel that we're NOT getting the absolute right idea of how things work. I mean sometimes its literally like the commentary on a horse race. Just saying. Hope this observation doesn't offend anyone.

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Old 13th April 2014, 11:41   #74
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Honda. The City is selling like hot cake now(even with the under-powered Diesel!) and Amaze is also doing great business.
I Don't mean to sound rude but please drive the city diesel before calling it under-powered , true its not as powerful as its competitors but it is by no means under-powered , i've driven i20 petrol for a few years and i know what under-powered means!

Anyways excellent month for Honda , really disappointed with Ford for killing a blockbuster. Celerio numbers are too low by Maruti standards , hope they increase the production soon , the waiting periods average 6 months now.

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Old 13th April 2014, 16:56   #75
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true its not as powerful as its competitors but it is by no means under-powered ,
Looking at the competition with Verna and Vento, one would agree that for the price that you pay you need a more powerful output from the Engine.

Verna and vento are far ahead in terms of the out put it produces, but the City too has it positives too.

Having said that City touched around 9 k this month , that is probably the same pattern one would see with any new comer . The upward trend will flatten out within a few months.

i had a discussion with a friend as he was upgrading to a C segment , his priority was better ride and handling /Dynamics/power.He preferred the skoda rapid over the City /Verna .
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