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Old 1st March 2015, 21:14   #46
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by hserus View Post
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.
I didn't mention Manza there. I've been in it, and it's like no other tata product. (Until the Zest made it's way)
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Old 2nd March 2015, 06:28   #47
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Originally Posted by murillo View Post
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.
Sorry, I'm still not convinced. Seeing the drivers drive erratically will have my perception impact towards the drivers and not the car they drive!

I feel a brand will have its impact only by its quality and reliability it provides.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 08:29   #48
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Sorry, I'm still not convinced. Seeing the drivers drive erratically will have my perception impact towards the drivers and not the car they drive!
I think Murillo tried to elaborate. Thanks Murillo.

I know it is not the car / model, but the driver who is responsible for it. However, perception it creates gets associated with the car as that is what your eyes see going rash on the road and not the driver.

I have heard from multiple people including driving instructors to beware of the Indicas on road - they are unpredictable and can cut lanes any time.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 10:37   #49
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Speaking from my personal experience, taxis take your feelings for a vehicle to either extremes - either a strong positive or a strong negative based on how the experience in the cab was over multiple rides in a span of a couple of years.

Being in the taxi segment exposes the reliability aspects of a model - Tata vehicles, though mechanically running don't give the passengers a good feeling about the car, thanks to a lot of cabbies who run around in very poorly maintained Indicas with dirty seats that spoil the mood of the passengers that get in. Once it starts moving, all the rattles and the clatter kicks in, giving a very bad impression about the brand as a whole since there are more such examples out there. Another point against Indica is the bare-bones variant that Tata offered in the past that was preferred by most cabbies. The passengers are sure to notice a driver struggle with a non-PS vehicle in tight spots and this again puts the brand in a bad light. Those who know well (5%?) would know that it is only with the base model but majority would have no idea about the variants/features and would attribute it against the brand.

In comparison, Innova taxis are mostly well maintained and clean - giving a positive feeling about the car. With the Toyota quality standing out in terms of rattle-free ride and comfortable seats, the passengers generally have a pleasant experience with the cab ride. Unlike other cabs, Innova is a pleasure to drive and this would easily be noticed by the passengers when the driver overtakes other vehicles effortlessly.

When I traveled in Logan, one of the first things I noticed was the cost cutting on the door handles. That gave me a very bad first impression about the car. Bland dashboard and unimpressive performance kind of cemented its place as a 'cheap' car. Whatever the positives, once we come across a couple of deal-breakers, we don't even inquire about the positives of that model.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 11:58   #50
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by DevilzzzzOwn View Post
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.
Calling Indica the most reliable and VFM is an highly debatable statement. Yes, they are cheap to BUY, but not cheap to MAINTAIN. Lookup TeamBHP for threads on frustrated owners who spent quite a fortune on these un-reliable Indicas. I know of people who bought Indica XETA, Dicor, Manza (The first batch) and swore never to touch a TATA again.

Talking about safety, may be an Indica's sheer weight over an i20 gives some a feeling of 'stable like truck'. The vague steering and sloppy brakes have given me nightmares whenever I've driven Indicas or Manzas.

There's no curse associated with 'Taxi' image. It's always the product. Come on, if the Aria was half of what the Innova is, it would have been lapped up by the Taxi segment. But it wasn't so.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 14:23   #51
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by kiku007 View Post
Talking about safety, may be an Indica's sheer weight over an i20 gives some a feeling of 'stable like truck'.
I hope you meant i10 instead of i20.

We've had an Indica DLE (pre-V2, non-PS) for 6+ years, which was replaced by an Indica Xeta 1.2 GLS which was with us for ~ 7 years, whose replacement is an i20 Asta 1.2 (old i-gen and not the new Elite).

The Indica DLE weighed 980 kg and the Xeta 1.2 GLS was 1000 kg, if I remember correctly. Both of them are lighter than the i20 1.2 Asta (i-gen) which weighs 1036 kg. Even the heaviest Indica (i.e. 1.4 DiCOR / CR4) is lighter when compared to the equivalent i20 CRDi.

The Vistas did gain weight due to their newer & bigger chassis, but they were in the same weight range as the i20, and not heavier. The Bolt diesel is also in the same weight range (lighter by a mere 6 kg) as the Elite i20 CRDi. Only the Bolt Revotron is heavier than the i20 Kappa, but that's solely because of its heavy engine.

The Indicas are by no means heavyweights for their size. The Vistas & Bolts are heavier, but are in the same weight range as several other cars in the segment.

The Punto is clearly the heaviest among currently available cars in the segment, followed by several cars weighing approximately the same or within kilos of each other (Polo, Figo, Elite i20, Bolt & Sail hatch). The Ritz is a few tens of kilos lighter; the Swift is a few tens of kilos lighter than the Ritz; the Grand i10, Beat & Micra/Pulse are all a few tens of kilos lighter than the Swift; while the lightest in the segment happens to be the Liva.

Quote:
Calling Indica the most reliable and VFM is an highly debatable statement. Yes, they are cheap to BUY, but not cheap to MAINTAIN. Lookup TeamBHP for threads on frustrated owners who spent quite a fortune on these un-reliable Indicas.
I fully agree with this statement! Sadly for us, we had to learn it the hard way, not once but twice.

I don't know about the Vistas and Bolts, but the Indicas are indeed unreliable. They're often plagued by minor but annoying niggling issues. The quality of several parts used is quite ordinary, and the failure rate of some specific parts is very high. With an Indica, one can almost be sure that certain components will give up after a specified number of kilometres. And I'm talking of owner-driven, well-cared-for private cars, not abused cabs/taxis. The less said about the way an Indica owner was treated by Tata's service network, the better!

Want an example? About five years or so into our Xeta ownership, I had taken the car to Concorde (Tata Motors owned dealer/workshop) in Ambattur Industrial Estate, Chennai. It was a non-routine visit as brakes seemed weak, and I wanted them to check what was wrong and do the needful, along with a water wash.

The service advisor was doing the formalities (inspecting the car, filling up the form etc.) when he asked me why we bought a petrol Indica. I replied that our average usage was too low to warrant a diesel, and I preferred the petrol's lower NVH levels (having previously owned a diesel Indica). He had the effrontery to tell me that we made the wrong choice in buying a petrol Indica, and that one should only go for a diesel when it comes to an Indica!

I'm not exaggerating. That is exactly what he told me! Needless to say, that was the last time our Xeta visited a Tata workshop. Thankfully, neighbourhood mechanics are quite well versed with Indicas and do a much better job than Tata workshops themselves, even on the petrol Xetas.

Last edited by RSR : 2nd March 2015 at 14:53.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 15:12   #52
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

RSR - You are right, I meant the i10.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 16:29   #53
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by vineshpikale View Post
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.
In Kolkata Honda has entered the taxi market. Brand new Amaze as 'No Refusal' taxis. And many Honda City's around as luxury taxi's.

Its a fight for quantity, who can sell more cars. Manufacturers earn more from service and selling spare parts rather than from selling a car. What can be more running than a taxi ?

Last edited by Altocumulus : 2nd March 2015 at 16:35.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 17:45   #54
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by Altocumulus View Post
In Kolkata Honda has entered the taxi market. Brand new Amaze as 'No Refusal' taxis. And many Honda City's around as luxury taxi's.

Its a fight for quantity, who can sell more cars. Manufacturers earn more from service and selling spare parts rather than from selling a car. What can be more running than a taxi ?
That is precisely where they have to be very careful. Our taxi operators would tolerate low-priced spares that last a reasonable time like Maruti, Tata etc or even the high-priced high quality spares that last a really long time like those in Toyota. However, they would not tolerate a high-priced & high-frequency replacement part in their cars. Honda parts have high quality and higher price but if they are not really as long-lasting, this would lead to a really bad review for the brand, especially since they are new to the diesel engines and do not have a proven track record for reliability.

Based on what I hear from my friends who own City and Corolla, the maintenance expense is lower for the older 2007 Corolla than for the newer 2009 and 2010 City. They always end up getting minimum 10-15k bills and they sometimes get this more than once a year. Its okay to have a costly service if it needs to be done only half the times that others need. However, if these high quality parts don't last substantially more than the so-called "low quality" Maruti parts, there is no justification for the premium pricing of the parts.

Honda owners can probably shed more details on the same. I know that the engine is trouble-free but how about the mechanical parts and the regular consumables?
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Old 2nd March 2015, 23:39   #55
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

Well I own the Liva diesel and actually feel owning a car with a taxi badge makes sense especially when it comes to inexpensive hassle free service and finding spares with most of the engines returning good mileage as well. Basic features which still do matter the most than features. Hence us who own these cars which are taxis as well feel better off when we hear about bad service stories and likewise.

The biggest downside is getting sub standard build quality and not fun to drive cars. These beings are specifically for the mind, not for the heart. I hate the instrument panel, its almost as if it's not there. But if long term reliability and cheap ownership are the important criteria, they make for a sound decision. Then you are just buying something because you need a decent sized comfy space on 4 wheels which has good cooling, well tuned suspension and a fairly large boot to tote some bags along. The calling of the heart is definitely missed out. Like for one, I had to cancel the Punto just because of the terrible rear space! I loved the Jazz for its versatility but due to the stiff ride quality and it had to be turned down!
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Old 3rd March 2015, 19:25   #56
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

I owned and operated a petrol Indica in the early days, 2002-2004, and really enjoyed the car especially in context with safety. It was the upper-most model, had all the bells and whistles available in those days, and when it went for service, was usually the only petrol Indica in the garage so I used to rest easy, comfortable in the knowledge that no really expensive engine parts could be swapped with the large number of diesel Indica taxi cabs around.

We are going to be in the market for a new car soon and if the pricing corrects itself, and the gear-box feel matches that of our Swifts, may well go for a Tata Bolt for the size and room it provides inside.

As for cars which become taxi-cabs, maybe some manufacturer will one day launch a model specifically for the taxi market, something tough and long-lasting, and see it move back into the personal car market. Something like the Innova!
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Old 4th March 2015, 09:39   #57
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

To begin with, Tata cars are good, and I honestly don't feel that the taxi image has killed them. The Indica might be a popular taxi choice, but then what about the Manza, the Safari, the Storme, the Nano?
IMO, the biggest problem the Tatas face is service quality and experience. Look at what's happening to Team-BHP COTY Zest? The car undoubtedly is better than its competition but the service that Tata provides makes the difference (compared to Maruti, Hyundai and even Honda).
And apart from the top metros, the cars that are used as taxis are seen as more reliable in mofussil India (I know because I come from a small town). When Sumo gained prominence, every family in my town wanted to buy one. But with terrible service, Tata has been actually spoiling the Taxi image.
To prove myself, I would like to refer to the WagonR and Santro. In Mumbai, these are not only taxis, but that too Yellow and Blacks. So how many WagonRs are selling? We all know the answer - equal to Tata's overall sale. And if Santro wasn't pulled out, it was also in the top 10 despite no updates in 5+ years.
I rest my case with the success of Omni, India's true people mover since the mighty Amby.
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Old 4th March 2015, 19:50   #58
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

I'm disappointed to say this: I saw a yellow plated Zest today :(
I'm one of the persons who voted it Team-BHP COTY. I wish this car a fair chance but it's all about perception. Even if reality is different, it's the perception that sells. If the taxi image hangover of Indica carries over to Zest it will lead to a serious image issue for Zest. I hope people who like this car buy it for its own points and not get deterred by any yellow plates.
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Old 5th March 2015, 00:10   #59
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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I'm disappointed to say this: I saw a yellow plated Zest today :(
I'm one of the persons who voted it Team-BHP COTY. I wish this car a fair chance but it's all about perception. Even if reality is different, it's the perception that sells. If the taxi image hangover of Indica carries over to Zest it will lead to a serious image issue for Zest. I hope people who like this car buy it for its own points and not get deterred by any yellow plates.
Quite unfortunate. Goes on to prove that Tata cannot entirely prevent the car to be registered as a cab. They can make sure they dont sell the car to the fleet operators (as a mass order) but cannot prevent individuals buying and registering it as a cab.

I dont think any one is deterred by seeing a yellow plate Zest but IMO, Tata's old image has not changed bit as indicated by the sales numbers of Zest. If we see the sales of Zest, Tata may be forced to change their decision. I dont think it is selling half of the expected numbers. 2k odd for such a capable car is a shame.
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Old 6th March 2015, 09:11   #60
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

I can't find the link online but saw this item in the Hindu today, where a guy was arrested in chennai for being a serial thief of white board indicas.

He would just get the plates switched to yellow (either fake plate or bribe RTO not sure) and in some cases alter the engine and chassis number. He would then operate it as a taxi for a short time and then sell it off, steal a new one.

Cops once tipped off about him caught him by the simple expedient of calling him and booking a trip, waiting with handcuffs at the pickup location.

That is one risk for owning a popular taxi brand, that I had forgotten about, though a similar thief was arrested a couple of years back from near my father in laws place.

Last edited by hserus : 6th March 2015 at 09:13.
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