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Old 27th February 2015, 18:29   #31
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Nice thread Wolfconsole.

Agree to the views expressed on the lack of features, poor maintenance etc around the models popular in taxi segment. In my view, the following two additional factors contribute to people avoiding these models for private use.
  • After sales service experience: As a private owner you would expect a positive experience and a level of courtesy when you call up or visit service centres. This is where some manufacturers (Tata) need to improve if they want to attract private buyers. Toyota on the other hand provides decent experience and that's why Innovas are popular as private vehicle as well.
  • Driving manners: I believe the perception on a model is also affected by the way you see these cars moving on the road. The lesser said, the better for Meru / Mega drivers' driving habits and their respect(?) for rules. Seeing a specific model frequently being driven rash doesn't help the perception.
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Old 27th February 2015, 18:57   #32
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Here are my opinions on this topic.

A successful passenger car/private vehicle maker can successfully play in the commercial segment. The reverse is very difficult if not impossible

The taxi image is influenced by three things mainly:
Poor maintenance - taxis have a reputation of being poorly maintained
Type of people driving - one does not want to be associated with a car associated with a particular type of people
The driving behaviour - the way these taxis, such as Indicas and Sumos, are driven has given their brands a bad reputation in society

The above opinions are from the Indian context.

Last edited by murillo : 27th February 2015 at 18:58.
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Old 28th February 2015, 02:08   #33
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Indica, the quintessential taxi, the successor of the mighty Ambassador, owes it's survival to its success as a taxi. My friend who owns a Vista sums it up nicely- on the highways, it is stable as a truck, but requires almost the same amount of effort to drive. In this age of feather-touch power-everythings, Tata products are, well, an anachronism. One has to have some substance, and intelligence, to choose a TATA over, say, a Hyundai. On the highways, I'd choose an eV2 over an I10 any day. Remember, Tata is the only Indian car manufacturer who has developed an in-house crash testing facility. And check out their performance in the NCAP test- 3 stars vs the 0 stars Maruti and Hyundai scored for vehicles which are exported with a 5 star rating from the same factory!

For me, success in the Taxi segments indicates a VFM package with sound mechanicals. A driver who depends on his vehicle for his livelihood will know more than any cash-rich "enthusiast". Remember, the much sought after W124 made its reputation as, well, a taxi. Close home, the Innova and the Scorpio are perfect examples that a "Taxi" image doesn't kill its "aspirational" value. And the Safari is an excellent example of the converse.

As for "aspirational" value itself, who cares about the wannabes think?
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Old 28th February 2015, 09:43   #34
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Hi,
Just could not stop myself from sharing my views. Nowadays with the advent of online taxi services like ola cabs, almost every car model can be turned into a taxi-excent, verna, fiesta, eon, alto, wagon r, santro, ritz.....the list is endless.
In Sikkim you will come across old zen taxis, punto taxis and even alto 800 taxis.
Guess the taxi badge is not restricted to any particular model these days.
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Old 28th February 2015, 13:01   #35
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Nice topic... The taxi badge does affect the perception of a car, and when manufacturers overdo it, it affects the perception of the brand itself. I find many people in my circle (who dont have knowledge of automobile industry as such) casually saying 'Tata toh truck aur taxi banati hai' (Tata manufactures trucks and taxis). But who is responsible for that ? I feel its the product itself and the manufacturer's will power to save it.

Tata Indica always had quality issues and Tata never quite improved, infact I would say it deteriorated over the years. Even today if you take a cab which is at most six months old Indica or Vista, you will see that there are so many loose/ misaligned panels, rattles and rubber beadings which are way off their designated positions. Compare that with Etios or Dzire LDi, they feel much better built. All of them lack features (Etios base version doesnt provide rear seat belts afaik) but that is not what is expected from Indian taxis.

Private buyers will buy a product which is desirable, niggle free and feature rich at the same time, these taxi badge cars, especially Tata, dont fit the bill.
(Also, point to be noted is private buyers usually dont go for Dzire Ldi but taxi owners do )
Taxis only need to be easy on the pocket as it is all about ROI (return on investment) and if they are better built, nothing like it.
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Old 28th February 2015, 15:09   #36
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Quote:
Originally Posted by @KP View Post
Another car worth mentioning here is the Xylo. IMO, a highly underrated car which further slipped in popularity after Mahindra decided to move it into Taxi segment.
The Xylo is a flop, both in the personal space as well as taxi segment. Look up its dismal sales figures month after month.

Reason: The Xylo's awful ride quality coupled with the excessive body roll leads to passenger discomfort. No one wants to rent it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfconsole View Post
Maruti clearly maintains two versions of the Dzire-the Tour, which is popular as a cab, and the regular Dzire. They have taken care to visually differentiate the Tour and strip it of equipments so that the "desirability" :P of it's regular Dzire remains intact. This is a car which sells crazy numbers and could possibly have evaded the Taxi badge anyways, but Maruti was not taking any chances.
The 1st-gen Dzire was a success even when it was being simultaneously sold in the private + commercial segments (i.e. before the 2nd-gen Dzire was launched).

Quote:
Originally Posted by veyron_head View Post
If there is no adverse perception at all, why does Maruti have a Dzire tour and a regular Dzire?
In addition to my point above:

- Selling the 1st-gen Dzire *only* to the taxi segment helps Maruti keep both segments happy.

- Maruti couldn't have sold the 1st & 2nd gen Dzires together in the showroom to private buyers. However, the 1st-gen Dzire offers F-A-T profits because its an old design, made from depreciated machinery etc. This move shows the brilliance of Maruti's sales & marketing function.

- The 1st-gen Dzire - with its bigger 464 liter boot - will actually be preferred by the taxi segment.
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Old 28th February 2015, 17:02   #37
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
There a bunch of white Mercedes taxis in Singapore. Needless to say white is NOT a preferred colour to buy a Mercedes in for anyone, especially considering how expensive it is to even afford a car there!
Yep there are E-class Mercs plying as taxis , they charge a premium as well. But Majority of taxis here are Hyundai Sonatas, and you don't see them used as a private car. The only taxi used as a private car ( in decent numbers ) here is Toyota Wish.

For me its the sudden boom of call centres in india which created a strong taxi image for Indica, along with that was a poor perception about Tata brand which further helped in isolating it from private buyers.
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Old 28th February 2015, 17:56   #38
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Smile Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Quote:
Originally Posted by fighterace View Post
Indica, the quintessential taxi, the successor of the mighty Ambassador, owes it's survival to its success as a taxi. My friend who owns a Vista sums it up nicely- on the highways, it is stable as a truck, but requires almost the same amount of effort to drive. In this age of feather-touch power-everythings, Tata products are, well, an anachronism. One has to have some substance, and intelligence, to choose a TATA over, say, a Hyundai. On the highways, I'd choose an eV2 over an I10 any day. Remember, Tata is the only Indian car manufacturer who has developed an in-house crash testing facility. And check out their performance in the NCAP test- 3 stars vs the 0 stars Maruti and Hyundai scored for vehicles which are exported with a 5 star rating from the same factory!
Well said. Completely agree with this paragraph.
One of the most reliable cars is the Indica. Looking at the number it was sold in, it has to be one of the most sold cabs world over.

And I know many people who, in-spite of the Taxi Badge on the brand, went ahead and bought Indicas. Why?
Because they are value for money.
In this cost driven country of ours, cost of ownership comes second only to ego, I guess.
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Old 28th February 2015, 23:53   #39
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Originally Posted by nug1 View Post
Driving manners: I believe the perception on a model is also affected by the way you see these cars moving on the road. The lesser said, the better for Meru / Mega drivers' driving habits and their respect(?) for rules. Seeing a specific model frequently being driven rash doesn't help the perception.[/list]
Sorry, I fail to understand how a brand perception of a car is negatively impacted based on how its driven by its driver!!?

There are so many accidents where SUVs are involved. Do these accidents have any negative impact on the perceptions of SUVs in our market?
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Old 1st March 2015, 00:59   #40
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Actually as can be logically understood the popularity of a vehicle in the taxi segment is a of sure short indicator of it's being an excellent workhorse..durability, efficiency, low maintenance etc. etc.

The question why does a market leader in it's segment like Honda City not catch the fancy of the taxi segment? Product price probably? The taxi segment does not mind a 10% saving in acquisition cost at the cost of a lower powered engine and few missing bells and whistles.
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Old 1st March 2015, 09:46   #41
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by balajisv View Post
Sorry, I fail to understand how a brand perception of a car is negatively impacted based on how its driven by its driver!!?

There are so many accidents where SUVs are involved. Do these accidents have any negative impact on the perceptions of SUVs in our market?

The way a brand is extensively employed and driven does create an impression. It may be stereotyping or typecasting, but it is there. If a majority is how it is, then the resulting impression is true. We can't claim it is unjustified.

There are accidents where SUVs are involved; however, I am not sure what SUVs you are referring to - Sumos, Xylos, Taveras, ...? Anyway, it is not about accidents, but about how the vehicles are driven. People like me end up at the receiving end of the pyrotechnics of the Indicas and Sumos in our daily commute.

All the above eventually end up giving a bad name to the brand. However, this is not reflective of the strengths or reliability of the vehicle itself. Just that the desirability factor goes down.
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Old 1st March 2015, 16:04   #42
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

If I buy a car, I have to live with it everyday for years. I would expect a good quality interior and modern features which will make the car a good place to be in everyday before the charm weans off in years and I get bored and look for a change.

However, if I'm looking to rent a car for a day or two, all I want is a comfortable ride. I don't care about the design of the dashboard or the sat-nav or reverse parking sensors with a fancy camera display. This is where I think is a make or break for a car to be labelled as taxi and its desirability going down in the personal car segment.

This is why Vista or Etios are more popular as taxis. The interiors are dated but the cheap maintenance and comfortable ride makes it a hit in the taxi space.

Talking about Innova, it does not have a direct competitor in the market. It offers a comfortable ride and oodles of space for big families. Also, lower variants were more popular as taxis and in the personal car space, it was the higher variants with all the features that made more of the sales numbers.
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Old 1st March 2015, 19:36   #43
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

This has been one of the best threads.
I would like to share my views. Kindly correct me if
My personal drive is a Swift Dzire Tour Diesel. It was the first private Dzire Tour in my city. Over the last two years I have not spent even a rupee on it. No ICE, No Wheel caps, No Body colored bumpers even! Except regular oil changes.
No rattles, not even a single sound, I have travelled across West Bengal, Orissa and Sikkim in this wonderful vehicle.
As long as I love my car, I do not care if people call it a taxi or a cab. Ultimately it is my car and as long as it offers me and my family good comfort, mileage and peace of mind, why should I bother about the Taxi badge?

Forgive me but I am a layman and creature comforts come last in my list.
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Old 1st March 2015, 19:41   #44
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

I don't agree with the subject of this thread.

"Taxi image" is never a reason for which a car didn't do well on the market.

The Tata Indica and Indigo never had any good quality, hence they never sold well with the common man. But they were incredibly cheap to buy, run and maintain. Hence they became famous with commercial drivers.

The Etios/Liva was never going to sell a lot with the private buyers as it screamed "I'm a generation old." Being a toyota, it is incredibly reliable.

The Innova was going to be a hit with everyone. One observation: The Innovas which are taxis are mostly from 1st gen and 3rd gen. It's one car that ages too well.

The Chevy Tavera(a rebadged Isuzu car) scored high due to reliability. But it was a competitor to qualis.

Other cars like swift, Vento, Corolla etc are really never going to get affected.
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Old 1st March 2015, 20:38   #45
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by D4D View Post
The Tata Indica and Indigo never had any good quality, hence they never sold well with the common man. But they were incredibly cheap to buy, run and maintain. Hence they became famous with commercial drivers.
Funnily enough the one time I chatted to a driver who was driving a manza he was all praise for it - including, according to him, a heavy body that'd not crumple like paper whenever a moped brushed it.

The ride is generally much more comfortable than the average indigo I've tried - but then most taxi indigos end up with dud suspension / shocks after a point in time.
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