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Old 17th April 2014, 10:35   #16
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Fun read. But I'm not sure about this one:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
How much ever the auto industry has progressed in 2014, the HM Ambassador's backseat is unmatched for comfort by nearly all of its direct competitors. As late as 2013, the ol' girl regularly outsold some of its more modern sedan competition.
I see the comfort claim frequently reported, but personally I find Amby back seats hard, uncomfortable on the back, and lacking any head support if you want to sleep. As for sales, wasn't nearly all of it to the government or to taxi companies (and even that was dwindling)? I wonder how many private individuals bought an Amby since, say, 2004.

About the Fiat Uno, yes, that was the all-time biggest screwup by any Indian manufacturer, and Fiat's reputation didn't get any better afterwards. I got a used 1999 single-owner car with 25000km on it in 2004 for Rs 1 lakh -- outdated car with a carburettor engine, but very smooth ride and comfortable to handle despite lacking power steering, and I used it for six more years (and got back Rs 40k for it when I bought a Punto). There are advantages to Fiat's terrible reputation!
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Old 17th April 2014, 10:45   #17
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post messages that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further. We request you to post ONLY when you have something substantial to add to a discussion.

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Old 17th April 2014, 10:59   #18
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

A informative thread and a very good read.

I remember Bajaj Chetak had huge waiting periods in late 80s and early 90s, but you could get one quicker if you pay in dollars (NRI accounts, i guess).
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Old 17th April 2014, 11:10   #19
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

In 1996, we paid 2.55 lakhs for a new Maruti 800 (non-a/c) when the on-road price was just 2.15 lakhs.
Reason:
The waiting period was 10 months, and within that time, the prices would go up. The customer would then need to pay the increase in amount at the time of delivery. So, many people used to pay additional margin to get delivery within a week. Dealers used to book some cars in the employees' name so as to sell at a premium. Such cars would have all the features of the a/c model, except the a/c itself (split rear seats, tinted glass, etc).
Think about paying 25% extra for getting a new Maruti800 within a week

Last edited by jinojohnt : 17th April 2014 at 11:12.
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Old 17th April 2014, 11:23   #20
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If I remember right, until 2012 (when the amaze was launched), Honda city was the cheapest (by INR) sedan(without considering the variants) one could drive out of a Honda India showroom; Civic and Accord stood at their Top end range!
Now in 2014, Honda city is the most expensive sedan one could drive out of a Honda India showroom; amaze is in a lower segment and there's no more of Civic and Accord
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Old 17th April 2014, 11:28   #21
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Wow what a thread.
Some titbits I remember
  • The Premier 118NE had one of the best gearboxes. Matched by only Honda
  • When Maruti 800 started localization of parts, the demand for old M800s(made in Japan) picked up in used market. Reason? The quality of some parts was horrendous. For example tail indicator orange lamps would go white as the pigment washed off due to sun and rain exposure. Even today you can see old 1990s 800s with clear indicator (instead of orange) tail lamps
  • Indica V2 is not one type of car. In June 2002 V2 was silently upgraded. The difference was rectangular vs circular AC buttons. It was one of the best handling hatches at that time due to the stiff suspension. Sadly, the anemic engine meant it could show its prowess only downhill. A few months later the V2 with soft suspension and horrible handling made debut.
  • Component manufacturers giving parts to different companies(eg alternators Lucas) have different production lines for different companies depending upon price. So the "ditto same" alternator for Maruti or Tata will have totally different quality based on price negotiated.
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Old 17th April 2014, 11:54   #22
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Wow what a thread.
Some titbits I remember[list][*]The Premier 118NE had one of the best gearboxes. Matched by only Honda
118 NE had direct shift gearbox, the other car to have that was Gypsy.

Esteem was first car in its segment to have all round independent suspension ( struts all round ).
Baleno.
Indica was another ( not Vista ) and still continues to be. IMO, Indica even today is the only car to have all round independent suspension.
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Old 17th April 2014, 12:04   #23
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The Swift Zxi was launched in 2005 with a 165 section steel spare wheel instead of the 185 Alloys. Lot of people complained and it finally reached the ministry of heavy industries. ARAI was questioned how it was homologated without a proper size wheel and Maruti decided in early 2006 to give an additional spare wheel of 185 section with alloys. So some people ended with 2 spare wheels for the Swift ZXi
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Old 17th April 2014, 12:23   #24
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Sometime in the late 80's the LCV market was thrown open to Joint Ventures

In Andhra Pradesh, the state run Allwyn Company which made watches and fridges got into a joint venture with Nissan to make the Allwyn Nissan Cabstar

A UP Cloth company DCM got into a joint venture with Toyota and formed DCM Toyota which came out with the DCM Toyota Dyna

Swaraj a tractor company joined hands with Mazda and came up with the Swaraj Mazda T3500

Eicher joined hands with Mitsubishi and came up with the Eicher Mitsubishi Canter

Of the 4, Eicher sold very well, the Cabstar was a flop, the Toyota was more successful as a Bus called the Dyna Clipper

Today, only Swaraj Mazda and Eicher survive

The Tata 407 came and hit all the others for a six

The Standard 2000 was the first aspirational car that was launched in India, everybody wanted to buy one and it retailed for 2 lakhs

The Fiat Uno broke all records for bookings, if my memory serves me right, they had 3,00,000 bookings for the Uno and Fiat was sitting on a pile of cash - the booking amounts, such frenzy was only seen for the XUV and now EcoSport

The Honda Activa for many years sold at a premium of 5,000. Agents would book the vehicle, wait, but it, register it in their names and sell it off to a Customer as a second hand vehicle collecting 5,000 more than the on-road price. How do I know? In 2002 we bought a golden Activa this way not wanting to wait for 6 months after booking

The Tata Safari has never had a price increase, it was launched 15 years ago at 10 lakhs and still sells for the same amount

When Ratan Tata gave the design brief for the Tata Indica, he told his Engineers, "I need a car that looks like the Maruti Zen, has interior space like the Hindustan Ambassador for the price of a Maruti 800". The Indica launched in December and 2 days before the Indica was launched Maruti reduced the prices of the 800 by about 10%. Ratan Tata started his speech by saying "Even before we sold our first car, we succeeded in getting Maruti to lower the price of the 800"

Premier Padminis used to be bought only by Doctors and white collar workers

Tata used platform sharing in 1992 when they launched a pick-up called 207, then a SUV called Tata Sierra, a station wagon called Tata Estate and finally the most successful product on that platform that still sells even to this day, the Tata Sumo

The Mahindra Bolero started off life as a MM540 steel bodied station wagon, then became the Armada, then the Armada Grand and now the Bolero for 10 years

Last edited by TheARUN : 17th April 2014 at 12:35. Reason: Adding text
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Old 17th April 2014, 12:29   #25
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Coming from old school of driving(I learnt driving very young), I can add a few points:

1. One would accelerate/ rev the engine a few times before turning it off every time so as to flood the carburetor (for next start up) and to 'charge' the battery in the final moments. MPFI systems and alternators 'abolished' this practice.

2. Many people who learnt in the era of Fiat/Padmini/ Ambys would be comfortable driving without the outer rear view mirrors. There was only an internal RVM for the job.

3. When there were no AC cars or when it was considered an expensive luxury, people would put layers of 'khas' (root of a plant which is also used in desert coolers) on the roof linings of the car and keep pouring water on it to keep the inside of the car cool.

4. Investment in tyres were considered expensive. So people would 'resole' the tyres. In the process, new treads were stuck on the existing tires. Two common techniques were hot & cold resoles.

Other Points:

5. What I have read is that Daewoo Matiz used the same Suzuki engine which powered the then Maruti 800.

6. Chinese manufacturer, Chery Automobile's city car Chery QQ was duped to be a copy of Daewoo/ GM's Matiz. General Motors went on record to state that the design is so similar that the doors of Matiz can fit on the QQ without any modifications.

7. Lamborghini, the luxury super sports car maker, was a tractor manufacturer. But when his Ferrari broke down and he complained to Ferrari, he got a skirmish answer that 'what will a tractor maker know of sports car!'. This provoked Lamborghini to pursue sports car manufacturing and the rest has been history.

8. Its about bi-cycles, but I think it will qualify. BSA, the cycle maker was previously an arms making company. It used to manufacture rifles. But as the war ended and demand for rifles went down, they were left with numerous rifle barrel pipes. They decided to make bi-cycle frames and then complete cycles with the left over stock. In this was they became one of the most famous cycle manufacturers.
Still, in the symbol of the BSA cycles, one can see 3 rifles being put standing across. And the full form for BSA is still 'Birmingham Small Arms'!

Hope you guys enjoyed it.

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 17th April 2014 at 12:39.
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Old 17th April 2014, 13:32   #26
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbo_Charger View Post
You have mentioned Daewoo as being one of the manufacturers to independently establish operations here. However this picture posted in the beginning of the thread shows DCM Daewoo Ltd. What could be the reason ?
Many thanks for pointing out the error. Removed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarthakgupta View Post
I have read somewhere that it was actually Suzuki Japan that didn't allow Maruti to localize gearbox technology as it wanted to have some level of control over Maruti in terms of technology.
Absolutely. Mr. Suzuki was mighty cheesed off with developments. Bhaskarudu pushed hard for additional localisation, but Maruti's R&D team was so weak then (entirely dependent on Suzuki) that it wasn't capable of even developing a full gearbox on its own. Was literally begging for the same from Suzuki.....and publicly at that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsidd View Post
I see the comfort claim frequently reported, but personally I find Amby back seats hard, uncomfortable on the back, and lacking any head support if you want to sleep.
Like Jeeps, there's a variety of Ambassadors around. Try one with the excellently cushioned back seat. It's a marvel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vish_wagon View Post
If I remember right, until 2012 (when the amaze was launched), Honda city was the cheapest (by INR) sedan(without considering the variants) one could drive out of a Honda India showroom; Civic and Accord stood at their Top end range!
Now in 2014, Honda city is the most expensive sedan one could drive out of a Honda India showroom; amaze is in a lower segment and there's no more of Civic and Accord
Neat observation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
6. Chinese manufacturer, Chery Automobile's city car Chery QQ was duped to be a copy of Daewoo/ GM's Matiz.

7. Lamborghini, the luxury super sports car maker, was a tractor manufacturer.

8. Its about bi-cycles, but I think it will qualify.
Good ones. Request to please submit India-specific trivia on this thread. There's no Indian car trivia resource anywhere, but there's plenty of international ones around.
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Old 17th April 2014, 13:32   #27
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Since GTO started with Sumo, here's another one:
Tata sold 100000 Sumo in the first three years.

One from the recent times:
Mahindra spent around just 100 crore in developing Quanto.
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Old 17th April 2014, 13:36   #28
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Great job GTO. It was good fund to read this thread

I would like to add my contribution too

Maruti in the 90's had a TATKAL SCHEME for priority deliveries on the M800. Maruti realized that the Finance Companies were selling their bookings at a premium and they decided to dip their fingers in this pie . Imagine the audacity of a manufacturer to get away by charging premiums for faster deliver ! If I recollect Maruti's Tatkal for M800 AC was Rs. 23,000/- extra.

Significant holding of car bookings in the 90's were with NBFC like Citi, Llyods, Gujarat Lease, Sundaram, Kotak , GE, Apple, Twentieth Century (TCFC) etc. The only way you could get faster deliveries was to take finance and get allotment from the booking of these companies. You would opt for a finance company based on who would deliver faster, IRR at 26% did not matter. Finance companies would recover interest cost on the bookings with Maruti by charging a premium. I remember in 1993 we paid Rs, 20000 premium to TCFC for a Zen allotment.

Citi was the first finance company to start the concept of car loans. Kotak followed suit in 1991 and remains the only player to have been the car finance business for more than 20+ years without ever stopping this line of business. Citi also pioneered used car funding business

In the 1990's car loans in started at 26%, before falling to around 22%. In March 1996, I remember we had run a scheme at 18% for Esteems. I was working in Llyods Finance, Bangalore and that month we funded around 75 Esteems.

Cheers

KPS
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Old 17th April 2014, 13:59   #29
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

The Standard Herald (later Gazel) (previous thread (Standard Herald 1967))deserves a mention somewhere, since it was probably the only car manufactured near Madras (today the "Detroit of India") until the 1980s at least. It was far behind the big two (Amby and Fiat/Premier) but was produced until 1978 and was quite visible on southern roads through the 1980s. The original was a faithful copy of the British Standard-Triumph Herald; my grandfather had one and it served him faithfully for over 20 years, with hardly any mechanical problems. It had two doors and a hood that was hinged at the front, a rather flashy-looking rear, and some other quirks. Standard Motors, Madras, outlived its British counterpart by a few years.

A really strange car worth a mention was the SAIL Badal, a three-wheeled car based on the Reliant Robin of the UK (previous thread (The SAIL Badal)).
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Old 17th April 2014, 14:31   #30
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Default Re: Fun & Interesting Trivia on the Indian Car Scene

Superb & extremely fun & informative read.

Also, have read this many times, but somehow feel this is far from truth and sheer work of imagination.

How true is this story?

"One day during his visit to London, King Jai Singh was walking in casual dress in Bond Street. He saw a Rolls Royce showroom and went inside to inquire about the Price and Features etc of their cars.
Considering him a just another Poor Indian citizen, showroom salesmen insulted him and almost showed him the way out of the showroom. After this insult, King Jai Singh came back to his Hotel room and asked his servants to call the showroom that King of Alwar City is interested in purchasing their few Cars.
After few hours King reached the Rolls Royce showroom again but with his full astonishing royal manner and in his royal costume. Until he reached the showroom there was already red carpet on the floor and all the salesmen were bent with respect. The King purchased all the six cars that they had at showroom at that time and paid full amount with delivery costs.After reaching India, King ordered municipal department to use all those six Rolls Royce cars for cleaning and transporting city’s waste. World’s number one Rolls Royce cars were being used for transportation of City’s waste, the news spread all over the world rapidly and the reputation of Rolls Royce Company was in drains.Whenever someone used to boast in Europe or America that he owned a Rolls Royce, people used to laugh saying, “which one? The same that is used in India for carrying the waste of the City?”Due to such reputation damages, sales of Rolls Royce dropped rapidly and revenue of company owners started falling down. Then they sent a Telegram to the king in India for apologies and requested to stop transportation of waste in Rolls Royce cars. Not only this but they also offered Six new cars to king free of cost.When King Jai Singh observed that Rolls Royce has learnt a lesson and they are sorry for their mistakes, king stopped using those cars for carrying wastes."
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