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Old 25th November 2014, 12:58   #76
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

Manufacturers will always be reluctant to offer safety systems in their vehicles voluntarily.

If the country in which they are selling their vehicles, has legislation in place which mandates a minimum level of safety systems in motor vehicles, the manufacturers then will have no choice but to toe the line as otherwise their vehicles cannot be homologated for sales in that particular country. Of course, this depends whether that particular country’s market has volume potential or not.

This has been the case since ages in most countries – developed and developing. The stringent Euro crash tests , be it full frontal , offset – frontal, deformable barriers etc are all children of governmental legislation.
India has to tighten up w.r.t. the same.

In our country, vehicle crash requirements are quite mild to understate the case!
One retired safety system engineer, with four decades of experience, once told me in jest, that even a well – built bicycle will pass Indian crash norms !

Indian norms only look at full frontal, at low speeds, and measures only the steering wheel intrusion / movement in the cabin area.

So if SlushMobile Motor Corporation bangs their “yet – to – be – launched – vehicle” against the barrier and the steering wheel intrusion/movement is “xxx”millimeters into the cabin and this numeric value falls within the defined Indian parameters you get a pass!.

No chest loading, head loading, lower limbs loading, pedal – box intrusion etc are taken into account. There are additional “body – block” tests to check steering column “collapsibility” etc but that is not too difficult to pass.

So, if OEM’s were to make their “Indian car models” safer, the first thing they have to do is to stiffen up and reinforce the bodyshell or “Body – In – White (BIW)” .
To take the BIW to the next level of crashworthiness, so that it can meet up to the high crash loads which are typical in offset frontal NCAP like tests, means – big investment .
Remember, any structural change in BIW, any additional reinforcements etc means corresponding changes to the manufacturing line, maybe even the weld gun robots have to be programmed to move in a different sequence – and to implement all these will cost a bomb.

Thus SlushMobile Motor Corporation’s base “Euro NCAP compliant Popular Hatchback” will tip the pricing scales at a minimum of Rs 400,000 ex-showroom!
And this is the reason why OEM’s are squealing in agony.

The other safety bits such as Airbags , ABS, EBD, Traction Control etc are largely vendor / supplier driven and purchase costs can still be brought down by squeezing the suppliers till they start going blue in the face!

Now, if marketing & sales can give a firm estimation about good sales volumes for that particular model, then the OEM can amortise the costs and recover the same.
But – and this is a big “but”, suppose marketing reads it wrong and the product bombs or the market collapses for some reason – then? Remember Nano?

However, if initial vehicle acquisition costs are lowered, then the cost – vs – volumes debate will be arrested to a large extent , but how do you lower it ?

The Government has to step in here as well. Will the Government be generous enough to reduce and rationalize the amount and number of line items in taxes that we poor folks pay to buy a new car?
Or will the banks come up with innovative financing schemes to help customers lessen the pain of initial vehicle purchase?

At present there are more questions than answers. And I am sure the powers – that – be know all the pain points.

And it is not insurmountable.

If the country and the OEM’s are serious in implementing vehicle level safety, all stakeholders need to chip in, do their bit in contributing to the cause and they can definitely come up with a solution instead of whingeing and whining!

Till then, I guess , the “aam-aadmi” has to wait !

Last edited by arjab : 25th November 2014 at 13:00.
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Old 25th November 2014, 12:58   #77
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

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Originally Posted by negativeH View Post
But for a Manufacturer, providing a car with feature (safety or otherwise) isn't just about buying them na.

- The production chain changes
- Possibly more labour would be needed, or atleast the current ones would require further training
- production time increases
- Quality testing gets more complex
- Increased inventory, more management.
Not really the production chain will change and the labour would need further training. After all, the top most variants are already coming with these features. They only need to club those equipment to all the other variants too. In fact, the cost of the equipment would come down in due time since localization of parts will happen today or tomorrow.
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Old 25th November 2014, 13:10   #78
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

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Originally Posted by shady_lawyer View Post
In today’s newspaper I read that several manufacturers had echoed the sentiments of the Chairman of Maruti Suzuki, that in an extremely price sensitive market such as India, the introduction of safety features would increase the cost of vehicle sales and therefore buyers would turn away from such offerings.
I totally agree with you shady_lawyer. The important factor here to consider is the buyer's mentality. Basically, how much of daily commute? How much of it involves highway driving? How much of it involves high speed driving? All such factors a buyer considers normally before deciding the variant.

The people buying the top variants are basically choosing it for the sake of other additional factors like alloy wheels, extra chrome and some interior differences between the lower variants. That is the main factor to decide the variant, and safety features are an additional perk, which the buyer is less concerned about. Thus, like VW, keeping it mandatory for all variants is the only choice here is what I think. Crash tests should be mandatory for all the manufacturers and the results should be made easily available for common public. Making the buyer more aware about these facts is of utmost importance, if we want to take the current Indian road safety to a better level.

Regards
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Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2014 at 15:23. Reason: Typos
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Old 25th November 2014, 13:16   #79
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
the top most variants are already coming with these features. They only need to club those equipment to all the other variants too.
But the mass movers are the Lower variants.
Most vehicles sold are the stripped variants or at best ABS equipped. Airbags are a distant dream for most.


Quote:
In fact, the cost of the equipment would come down in due time since localization of parts will happen today or tomorrow.
Key Word: Due time
A time when most manufacturers are already struggling, and still trying to understand the rapidly evolving market, to choose that we'd put in more cash, and drive up the prices, hoping the average joe and below would see the sense, is too far fetched.
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Old 25th November 2014, 13:30   #80
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

Mod Note : There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the forum experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use spell-checkers.

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2014 at 15:25.
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Old 25th November 2014, 14:19   #81
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

There is an interesting article on Forbes India called Is the Indian Auto Industry Ethically Blind?

It gives the example of Ford Pinto in the 1970's in the US and states that India is at the same state of maturity as the US was about 40 years ago. A good read..
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Old 25th November 2014, 14:29   #82
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

People are just trying to shift the blame to the manufacturers. There are enough cars that come with Airbags and ABS. You just need to choose wisely. You have to decide whether that 1L that they are asking for the kit is too much, considering that the thing on the other side of the balance is your life.

If I say that I did not buy an ZXi because I didn't want to stretch my budget by another lac, it just means that I didn't have safety as my first priority.

Playing a bit of devil's advocate here, manufacturers cannot make variants with umpteen combinations. They make variants based on what they think would sell to different customers. And so it happens, people in this part of the world seem to prefer power windows, alloys, ICE, etc to (useless things like) Airbags and ABS. I don't think they have any "hidden agenda" of keeping the masses away from airbags and ABS.

VW has chosen to provide Airbags in all their variants because their target customers could be willing to pay for it. Maruti doesn't think taht their customer pool is interested. Again, what is the point in putting two airbags inside Alto, Wagon R and Celerio? It won't serve any purpose than blow on your face.

So better stop shifting the blame and choose your next car wisely. If Polo trendline starts selling, Maruti would be tempted to put airbags on LXi too. Customer really IS King.

Last edited by civic-sense : 25th November 2014 at 14:32.
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Old 25th November 2014, 14:38   #83
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

Easier said than done about stretching the budget. I like a car, I buy it within my budget, but would have preferred one within budget with safety as well. But If I want safety in a car that I like, i have to pay more, which I cannot not because I do not want or because I do not care about safety. No rocket science this, eh?
However, for the car I liked and the model which I can afford also has an optional safety only pack (only ABS+AB)for say another 30k more, I would buy it as this is still with in reach.
To preach is easier than to understand the realities that people face when purchasing a car? Just because someone cannot doesn't mean they should not buy a car.
Thinking that we are only blaming the manufacturing is a bit shallow, what we are saying is give the option to the customer across variants to choose between cars with safety and the ones without and then you can say, customer IS the king.

For the records, VDI costs ~8.3L and ZDI was 9.5L. when I brought mine in Bangalore, we have the BEST roads in the country you see (Pun Intended)

Polo giving Maruti a run for their money? Let's just leave it at that.

Last edited by ILTDrive : 25th November 2014 at 14:40.
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Old 25th November 2014, 14:41   #84
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

When I bought my Figo, the top model and next one down had a difference of just 30K. The difference was Safety features and the labels.

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2014 at 15:27. Reason: Typos
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Old 25th November 2014, 15:39   #85
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

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Originally Posted by civic-sense View Post
If I say that I did not buy an ZXi because I didn't want to stretch my budget by another lac, it just means that I didn't have safety as my first priority.
I don't agree with this statement. At all.

I did not buy a ZXi because I do not want all the ultra-overpriced fancy accessories which could also be had for hardly 25-30K bucks after-market. Unfortunately, they come bundled with safety pack.

But, then that's me. Anyway I bought what I could afford - a used car with only seat-belts as the safety device that I religiously use. Now with a budget of 3-3.5 lac maximum what do you suggest for me? Not buy the car and use the bike would definitely not be safer I assume. And remember there are millions like me.

I'm also sure there are also a significant number who will opt for the safety pack (ABS/Airbags) given a small overhead of 30-40K.
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Old 25th November 2014, 15:58   #86
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Default Re: Safety Features - Myths on costs debunked

We all have to understand that automobile sector is more of a pull system, where the requirement of a customer is understood and catered to. As many had already pointed in VW offering safer options so does toyota and Honda. Where do their sales figure stand against Maruti and Hyundai? And majority of models selling for Maruti and Hyundai are without safety options but the basic car.

It is easier for a manufacturer to assemble all vehicle with atleast ABS and Airbags, a simple reason being it reduces the complexity in manufacturing and easing the supply chain. Anybody from manufacturing can vouch for this. A reduction in one vin no. means lot of efforts, time and money saved.

The change has to happen with the masses or the governing policies to undergo a major revamp. We are only a few like minded petrol heads numbering couple of thousands. But the actual market is outside and their priorities are completely different than us. It cannot be blamed. Their needs also to be catered to. The main reason for few bells and whistles added along with ABS and Airbags is to make the option attractive to the prospective buyer.

One of my friend an engineer like me had the folowing comment "chose the the top end because of the beautiful alloys,chrome finishers and a beautiful dashboard with integrated audio. Added to that are airbags, ABS and EBD". Our logic says the reason to be vice versa. But in reality, there are people thinking the opposite as well.

Really hope the policies under review to be implemented as early as possible. Brighter days ahead
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Old 25th November 2014, 16:23   #87
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

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I don't agree with this statement. At all.

I did not buy a ZXi because I do not want all the ultra-overpriced fancy accessories which could also be had for hardly 25-30K bucks after-market. Unfortunately, they come bundled with safety pack.

But, then that's me. Anyway I bought what I could afford - a used car with only seat-belts as the safety device that I religiously use. Now with a budget of 3-3.5 lac maximum what do you suggest for me? Not buy the car and use the bike would definitely not be safer I assume. And remember there are millions like me.

I'm also sure there are also a significant number who will opt for the safety pack (ABS/Airbags) given a small overhead of 30-40K.
The other option is to buy a lesser segment with safety kits. People prefer to buy an Amaze E or EX rather than buying a fully loaded Brio. You can always also get a used car with safety kit in the price of a new car if your budget is limited. Same thing goes for used cars. We prefer higher segment cars rather than lower ones, because cars are a status symbol. For someone upgrading from a two wheeler, an alto is taken as an upgrade. One with a hatchback, a sedan is an upgrade. Better still, postpone your plans by sometime so that you can save the extra funds. But no one does that, because safety is not a priority on top. Its a good to have, not a must have.

However, I always believed in getting the top end of a lower segment rather than base of a higher one. I could have easily bought an amaze or Fiesta Classic base with the money I got a Ritz Zxi specially since I was changing from a sedan. Budget was capped at 6L. But somehow safety kit was a priority against which I could compromise on the boot space. Again not that I just had one choice, there was Figo titanium, Beat LT(O), Punto Dynamic with ABS and tank like build, Polo Trendline with Airbags. But still you see in this range the highest seller is still Swift Vxi though there are other cars available in the market with some Safety kits.
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Old 25th November 2014, 16:29   #88
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

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The other option is to buy a lesser segment with safety kits.
Please put yourself in my shoes and suggest a safe car for a budget up to 3.5 lac. I got a used Honda City at that price including getting minor niggles rectified. It does not come with ABS + Airbags but if it was possible in that budget, I would have gone for it.

Also, I presume Nano with ABS and Airbags would not be as safe as the Honda City with seat-belts on. I maybe wrong, but structural integrity compromised in most hatchbacks below 5 lacs, the ABS and Airbags specifically for such vehicles doesn't make sense right?

All I want to say is - it's the car manufacturers like Maruti who are making people say "You cannot afford safety". It could be had at a small premium. Kudos to VW for doing the same for Polo with a small increase in price. (IMHO it's already over-priced but gem of a vehicle)
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Old 25th November 2014, 16:37   #89
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Default Re: The Real Cost of Adding safety Features

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All I want to say is - it's the car manufacturers like Maruti who are making people say "You cannot afford safety". It could be had at a small premium.
You have made a very important and valid point/ argument. It is indeed Maruti itself which is saying we, their customers cannot afford safety - How will we if you club the safety features only with the pricey top variants when it can be passed to customers at a much lower premium if they are not hell bent in selling safety as luxury with top most variants?

Last edited by saket77 : 25th November 2014 at 16:38.
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Old 25th November 2014, 17:01   #90
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Please put yourself in my shoes and suggest a safe car for a budget up to 3.5 lac. I got a used Honda City at that price including getting minor niggles rectified. It does not come with ABS + Airbags but if it was possible in that budget, I would have gone for it.

Also, I presume Nano with ABS and Airbags would not be as safe as the Honda City with seat-belts on. I maybe wrong, but structural integrity compromised in most hatchbacks below 5 lacs, the ABS and Airbags specifically for such vehicles doesn't make sense right?

All I want to say is - it's the car manufacturers like Maruti who are making people say "You cannot afford safety". It could be had at a small premium. Kudos to VW for doing the same for Polo with a small increase in price. (IMHO it's already over-priced but gem of a vehicle)
Used SX4 Zxi, Fiat Linea Emotion (2009 ones), Honda Civics, Ford Fiestas,etc that too if you are just looking for a sedan. I am saying this by glancing through Carwale for Pune right now. I am not even going towards hatches.

My point is, even though it is widespread now that Swift is not safe I am still sure it will be the highest seller in the segment. People will not care and buy it.

I completely agree with your last point about Maruti. Increasing their prices would spoil their image of a low cost manufacturer and they would be required to compete with global brands where they know they will fail miserably.

Last edited by Altocumulus : 25th November 2014 at 17:07.
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