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Old 9th March 2015, 20:11   #76
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Default Re: The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge

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Originally Posted by Nissan1180 View Post
If we try to understand why people do not prefer buying cars used as commercial taxis, we need to go back about 2 decades. ... ... ... The negative experience that people associated with the journey in a Taxi made its way into a social stigma against this form of public transport. ... ... ... The problem is, the social stigma is not so easy to remove. ... ... ...
That's looking at it from a different perspective, and a very logical one! Well put, Nissan~! I never thought of it, this way!

And yet, to my mind, it's still more likely the perceived prestige issue - the undesirability of being seen in a "commuter-taxi car" with private plates.

A commuter-taxi, by default, is practical and cheap-to-run, and reasonably comfortable. It has to make economic sense. Hence, the Dzires, Etios(es!), Logans, et al.

Any make of car, overtly associated with practical and cheap-to-run, will cut no ice with the Indian customer, who, predominantly, still looks at a car as a statement of status - the larger, the more expensive, the more powerful, the MORE it will (hopefully) impress the Menons next door!

Here, I make a distinction between a commuter-taxi (say, your airport drop), as against a luxury-taxi service. The latter would not necessarily use economical-to-run cars, as their pricing is different. Hence, to my mind, an Uber-Black using Ventos and Corollas is not going to affect their desirability to the Indian customer.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 13:56   #77
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Default Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

Indian car market and buyers are very difficult to be judged on 'some' parameters. There are many aspects which play their role in making any brand or any car favoured over the other. Reliability, value for money, ease of A.S.S. and brand value are some key factors affecting general car buying decision. We regularly discuss all the above factors in various threads and posts, but today I want to put my thoughts on one angle of brand value up for discussion in front of you all.

Is Being Cabbies' Favoured brand no longer a Taboo anymore?

Brand value depends on many factors of the market and when it comes to Indian car market, one prominent factor is (or used to be) if the brand known for making good taxies?

If yes, then I (a general buyer) don't want to be seen driving a car with the same brand emblem shining on front grill of the car which I am driving. For many, owning a 'Taxiwali car' was a matter of shame. I am sure, as soon as you started reading this, one brand name has already floated up in your mind. Do I need to mention its name?? Really?? It is none other than Tata Motors.

Tata cars always had strong points like spacious cabin, practical boot, frugal engines (especially diesels) and lower maintenance cost or ease of maintenance. The last point might be debatable for many. But number of Tata cabs we have seen on roads is good enough to prove the above points, I guess. But that Yellow Plate badge has plagued TML so badly that it went against them and made many personal buyers turn their backs on them, JUST BECAUSE OF TATA MEANT TAXI for many.

But now ever since the Ola, Uber revolution happened, yellow plates have grown in number and gathered significant importance in the market.

Simultaneously, Tata tried to cure their plague of being ONLY taxi maker and started maintaining a distance from cabbies, which was their bread and butter earning source. I think that is the time when cabbie market really started looking towards other players too and wise-versa. Giants like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai were unable (or unwilling?) to dethrone the Tata from commercial car market till they themselves wished to do so.
Now it has become a common sight when you find many cars which used to rule personal car market, now carry the yellow plates to grab the largest possible share of this market.

Below listed are some popular car models, nowadays, which were initially an offering meant for personal car buyers but now prominently rules commercial car market too.

1. Maruti Suzuki
- Wagon R (CNG)
- Dzire Tour / Swift DZire
- Ritz, now discontinued.
- Ciaz, before moving to Nexa.
- Previous gen Swift (!) with its cramped read seat.
- Ertiga.
- Celerio H2, Company's latest offering for the market.

2. Hyundai
- Santro, now discontinued
- Old i10, can be seen in plenty plying on Mumbai streets as black - yellow cab.
- Grand i10, which now also comes as Prime. Which also is a favourite offering in black-yellow cab market.
- Xcent, also available in Prime variant.

3. Ford
- Figo
- Aspire

4. Mahindra
- KUV 100

5. Datsun
- Go
- Go+

I know many familiar names are missing in the list above, but I have included only those products which initially were launched as private passenger cars and then have evolved as a good taxi alternative.

We see jaw-dropping sales figures of WagonR, Dzire and Celerio each month. But I am sure that majority of that sales chunk would be contributed by cabbies. Like Dzire managed to clock sales figure of around 35,000 recently, which is actually a combined figure of Dzire Tour and all new Dzire. Don't know the exact bifurcation but I think that, out of those 35k cars, around 12-15k would easily be Tour variant only.
Same with WagonR's having average monthly sales figure of 14k units and Grandi10's 10k units. Rest of the products like Aspire, Xcent, Go/Go+ are surviving purely because of cabbies and more than 70-80% of their sales would be coming from yellow plates only.

The whole point in writing this long post is ‘Why we Disowned Tata for being a taxi maker and now happily accept a Dzire with yellow plate standing alongside you on signal, when you yourself are driving one, just with white plate?

Again, re-iterating my question in the end
Is Being Cabbies' Favoured brand no longer a Taboo anymore?

Would definitely love to hear from you all on this.


Note to Mods:
This is my first attempt of starting an all new topic on T-BHP.
I have searched the forum for similar topics if posted already, but found none exactly matching with the point which I am trying to put forth.
Can be deleted if you feel the topic to be irrelevant.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 14:53   #78
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

Being a cabbies favoured brand was never taboo. At least not in a practical sense. The only car to truly face any bias for being a taxi was the Indica/go. The myth persisted mainly because there were so many for the lack of options at the time (diesel+cheap), and because they had such poor quality control that they required innumerable trips to the ASC.

Fast forward a bit and acceptability of Tata vehicles as personal vehicles despite being taxis is on the up simply because they don't come preloaded with guaranteed unscheduled visits to the ASC.

Possibly the only other car that did suffer a bit of an image problem was the Logan, but that never sold well as a private car to begin with - and for obvious reasons.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 15:07   #79
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

In Bengaluru, I have seen all sorts of brands being used as Taxi's. Some of which didn't make sense to me at all. Honda BRV to Hyundai i10 (CNG is not popular in Bengaluru, unlike Delhi), Honda City to BMW 5 series (for the fancy expats opting for premium taxis paid by company!).

Although being a Taxi might not be a turn off as much as it used to be before, it still weighs on a person's opinion.


Today, I am genuniely suprised when I see a old and noisy Indica go past with white number plates. Hey.. its not a taxi, is the first thing that comes to my mind.

The same is with Etios (the new Indica of the taxi segment). When I suddenly see a non taxi Etios, it does take me by surprise.

Now, will I go ahead and buy one which is predominantly a Taxi? That depends on which segment I am in.

For example, a sedan under 10L. I probably wouldn't go near Etios. Why? Because there are alternatives which are as good as Etios, if not better.

But, if I were in for a UV, say for 25L. I will consider the Innova Crysta. Even though it is a cabbie's favourite mile muncher, that will not dither me away. Why? What's the alternative? (yes you Tata fan, let's give Hexa some more time) And 2.8Z is generally not a taxi either. Plus, Crysta has so many taxi buyers and private segment buyers, that it does not surprise anybody if you own a Crysta.

The point is, there are some cars which are humongously popular with cabbies. It does weigh in on people's opinion. It is a factor that is on the list of things to consider when buying a car. But it is not a deal breaker anymore.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 15:10   #80
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeluM View Post
The only car to truly face any bias for being a taxi was the Indica/go.


Possibly the only other car that did suffer a bit of an image problem was the Logan, but that never sold well as a private car to begin with - and for obvious reasons.
Add the Etios to the mix. Despite recent 'facelifts' and a new Platinum moniker, the Etios doesn't find much traction among private buyers. Part of it has to do with its dated looks and interiors, and part of it due to the image it carries. A lot of people are conscious of the ride they are seen in, and those would surely avoid the likes of Logan, Etios and other cabbie-favoured cars.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 15:54   #81
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

IMHO, Cabbies would prefer anything that is utilitarian and economical in terms of maintenance and running. The (erstwhile) Indica, Logan and Etios are perfect examples of max. space for the buck besides being pocket friendly to run.

But, the real reason on why many private buyers tend to shy away from these could be due to the bland and dated interiors, exteriors devoid of any bling factors (this is what probably makes them easy to maintain). Innova Crysta could be the only exception to this.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 17:02   #82
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

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Originally Posted by OrangeCar View Post
The point is, there are some cars which are humongously popular with cabbies. It does weigh in on people's opinion. It is a factor that is on the list of things to consider when buying a car. But it is not a deal breaker anymore.
Good point. Thanks for adding that perspective.
But still we can't deny the fact that being a Taxi has caused enough dent to certain brands / cars. The fresh example being Etios, as quoted by you and classic example being Tata Motors as a brand.

Going by the old / out dated design thing you mentioned, don't you feel that the Wagon R is also too old to lure any personal car buyer? Plus, it is ruling the cab market now (Ola Micro / Mini). Still personal buyers queue up for the car outside the showrooms.

I still fail to understand how one car can face denial for being perceived as Taxi and the other being un-affected by the same rule?

I am sure you also have seen many people doing so.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 17:06   #83
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveOnceMore View Post
Again, re-iterating my question in the end
Is Being Cabbies' Favoured brand no longer a Taboo anymore?
Great topic and I sort of agree with you on this. May be not Tata as a company but for sure Indica and indigo have that TAXI badge on them.

I would like to add 2 more cars to this group.
1. Toyota Qualis
2. Gm Tavera

I know drivers still prefer Qualis today and it has got that huge respect among driver community even after a decade since it was phased out.
Company pulled it off the market at its peak, knowing well it was a revenue spinner for Toyota India, to respect their global platform strategy.

-UB

Last edited by UB_007 : 2nd March 2018 at 17:08.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 17:12   #84
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

Innova Crysta is not really a cabbie's favorite as it might seem. It has lost its VFM tag.

Quote:
Interestingly, however, we observed that fleet or institutional buyers accounted for just 3-4 percent of the sales, down significantly from about 15-18 percent for the old Innova, while demand from the personal segment has surged.
says N Raja, Deputy MD, Toyota India in his interview to ACI. He also goes on to say Etios is not successful because of its dated interiors, especially the Dashboard. Etios' 1.5 Petrol has its strengths and if were to have better dash and interiors, it would be doing far better numbers.

https://www.autocarindia.com/car-new...a-india-407574

Moderator's Note: Please don't create duplicate posts. Wait for your previous post to get approved.

Your duplicate post has been deleted.

Last edited by Zappo : 2nd March 2018 at 17:46.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 20:30   #85
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

I would go against the tide and say that I, in fact, prefer cars used by cabbies. Why? Simply because of the fact that a cabbie will not go anywhere near a car that is not reliable, since it is his source of livelihood. A successful cabbie car is my yardstick of a car being "proven" in the market, and I can be pretty much sure that it will serve me well in the long run.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 22:22   #86
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Default re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

My 2 cents

In my personal opinion, cars which are predominantly taxis on road (and thus have a very strong "Taxi" image) are a strict no-no e.g.
1. Tata Indica (including Vista) and Indigo
2. Mahindra Verito / Logan
3. Toyota Etios / Liva
4. To a lesser extent, but almost there - Tata Bolt / Zest

There are cars which are cab favorites, but have a sizeable ownership of individual owners and are thus not necessarily tagged as "taxi-specific" e.g Toyota Innova, Maruti Ritz, Maruti DZire or Hyundai Xcent are still okay. They still have brand value. This is purely based on my sampling of cars in Bangalore. The cars used as cabs in other cities could be very different (e.g. you will hardly find an i10 taxi here, but seems it is pretty common in Bombay).

I own a Toyota Innova (Gen 2) currently and am looking for a pre-owned Ritz as my second car.

Further it is not just the car brand/model but also the color that plays a role, so when we got the Toyota Innova, wifey made it clear that it should not be white or silver. Guessing this would apply to the Ritz too.

Last edited by sachinayak : 2nd March 2018 at 22:24.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 09:28   #87
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Default Re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

Well, the brand/model that you see more of as taxis is a symbol of VFM and reliability (not talking of high end taxis - BMWs, Mercedes and the like). If I were to buy a car for 'rough' use, I would go for one which is more in the form of taxis. But I was very much in for a surprise once when I had booked a 'mini' OLA and I found a Cruze coming my way. It is unusual to find a Cruze as a taxi.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 13:24   #88
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Default Re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

Tata Indica, Toyota Qualis and GM Tavera were the first victims of Taxi tag. After that, the thin line between the taxi and private car kept becoming thinner.

I purchased my first own car, a Santro Zip drives GLS back in 2003. After that, when I visited Mumbai, Santro was all around on the road as the black & yellow taxi. The same thing happened, with MS Dzire. Nowadays, I don't think that thin line exists anymore.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 19:01   #89
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Default Re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by srinath.s View Post
I would go against the tide and say that I, in fact, prefer cars used by cabbies. Why? Simply because of the fact that a cabbie will not go anywhere near a car that is not reliable, since it is his source of livelihood. A successful cabbie car is my yardstick of a car being "proven" in the market, and I can be pretty much sure that it will serve me well in the long run.
This logic would place crown on the Indica as, "The most reliable car in India". However, different people have different perceptions on the same.

Nonetheless, cabbies usually complete high running of say 2 lakh kilometers within a span of 2 to 3 years before they are phased out. I have seen cabs which have completed 30,000 Kms of running within three to four months of delivery. I have also seen few cabs that have ever visited the service centre for scheduled servicing. They visit a local garage when a problem crops up. With such high running the owner of the fleet, would be more interested in recovering their investments and generating profits. One of the most elementary ways to achieve that is by lowering the initial investments. Earlier, the choices available for taxi segment were limited only to certain car makers and thus few cars became default choice for the cabbies. On the other hand manufacturers usually prefer selling their cars to the private buyers and resort to shifting into taxi segments only when the demand in the market for a private buyer fades in.
With increasing buying capacity of an average Indian and proportionate increase in choices available, an individual is likely to upgrade his ride more frequently than ever before. This brings plenty of used cars into the market irrespective of how many kilometers one has actually covered. It is now easy to find a well maintained and less run car that is available at a low price, in the used car market which can be picked up and used as a cab. The emergence of I10, Santro, Wagon R, Alto, Eeco etc., as cabs explains this shift in preference.

This however does not mean that a particular car that is sold as a taxi is better than the rest. For Cars one has to make choice based on their individual requirements and evaluating as which product suits them the best. The preferences of majority cabbies cannot be held as a yard stick for making buying decisions either by a private buyer or by a cabbie himself.
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Old 5th March 2018, 09:33   #90
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Default Re: Is being a cabbies' favoured brand no longer taboo?

As a gist of all your comments, it seems that majority of you find that value for money (higher ROI) is preferred more than reliability and being Cab doesn't necessarily mean reliable car.

Also cab image only hampers selective brands like Tata and Maruti / Hyundai can do anything and people won't be bothered a bit.

What a strange market we have!
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