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Old 26th June 2015, 09:35   #31
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

I'll go out on a limb here.

I have a friend who knows a friend....well, this kind of a statement never ends well, does it?

Anyway, a friend of a friend (who I know, but not that well) used to work in Bosch's automotive side. She was part of a team that did Quality checks on the airbags and ABS systems that were fitted for cars by OEMs such as Maruti Suzuki.

She apparently confided to my close friend that Bosch charges the OEMs only around Rs.10,000 for the fittings per car.

Now - the premium charged by OEMs for the ABS and Airbags (which come bundled usually) is easily Rs.80,000 to Rs.1 lac per car. Now, that's a hefty premium that the OEMs get to earn - if this is true - by charging 8 to 10 times the cost of safety features.

Can someone please confirm the validity of this assessment? I would hate to be irresponsible and spread any canards, while I do remain eager to share the stuff I know.
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Old 26th June 2015, 10:14   #32
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

Along with the airbags there's the sensors, ECU config, so many other things. What do those cost? Of course there is a hefty profit margin involved but maybe not as high as 80k - 10k = 70k per set of airbags.
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Old 26th June 2015, 10:51   #33
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

Same old topic, fresh discussion, but nevertheless this is one important topic - "safety"

The quickest answer to your question why India gets bare bone cars in terms of safety is simply because of our Government and the lack of safety regulations for automobiles.

When we started off with Maruti, The govt's priority was to get india rolling in the Automobile segment , as time passed and Maruti made money - Indians were already buying thousands of cars without any safety features whatsover and the Govt was sleeping not knowing how Automobile safety was fast growing in the world.

When it comes to business, businessmen are cut throat - why fix something that is not broke, Indians are already buying loads of cars without safety then why offer safety features, increase the price and reduce sales? "c'mon dont be stupid" would have been the answer to the lone guy in the board room whose conscience would have irked.

Oh about "good will" from manufacturers - Good will in safety segment does not bring sales my friend in the mass segment - what brings sales are competitive buying price, hassle free ownership and mileage and that is exactly what Maruti has been following with their eyes closed - now this is not just specific to Maruti but to every Automobile Company that has seem to have figured out India. ( I hope every one remembers Honda's journey in offering safety features)

Everyday thousands of car buyers buy cars for themselves and their loved ones , these cars are priced lower and the ones with airbags/ABS etc are priced higher so the aam aadmi will always go for the cheaper variant, cant blame the manufacturers for that

There are a few ways to fix this problems regarding safety ( not just safe cars), IMHO.

1. Educate everyone on the importance of safe cars - ABS, Airbags, side and rear impact protection, Safe structure, ESP and the likes, show safety videos and crash test videos to children in schools/colleges and to everyone in all offices and establishments ( make screening of these videos mandatory), show these vidoes before every movie in every movie theater in India. The moto should be that Safety is not a "cost" it is an "investment"

2. Simplest and most effective method - Govt bring in regulations and make the manufacturers toe the line.

3. Improve road infrastructure and road design through scientific and social principles, enforce traffic rules on a war footing.

The biggest impediment :

1. Auto lobby , they will do all they can to oppose this for obvious reasons.

2. Badly designed and maintained roads/highways

3. Granting a license to everyone with a few bucks and a photo - It is common knowledge that getting a driving license in India is easier than finding drinking water , change this, tighten this and we can improve the quality of driving on Indian roads.

Finally - we cannot change everyone, instead we can change ourselves - this works even when it comes to "Automobile safety"

Last edited by The Observer : 26th June 2015 at 10:53.
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Old 26th June 2015, 11:05   #34
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Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
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Can someone please confirm the validity of this assessment? I would hate to be irresponsible and spread any canards, while I do remain eager to share the stuff I know.

You are correct.

An approximate price of 10000 from the supplier will cost another 4 to 5 % of VAT or Sales tax. Not sure of exact value. Add the cost of assembly. We have approximately 10% additional. Double it for 2 airbags. This impact is on the vehicle cost which is again taxed to the extent of 20 to 60% depending on the vehicle type. Add the manufacturer margin and dealer margin you get a price closer to a lakh after adding other minor features.

Yes manufacturers tend to have higher margins on variants with low volume. Once people shift their priorities the price of a fully loaded variant might come down.
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Old 26th June 2015, 11:49   #35
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

Well I think the OP has a point here regarding all the features and not just safety features that we miss out on from a global car when it gets launched in India. We have a separate thread for ABS and airbags so I think we should confine ourselves to the topic here. It's not just safety features that we miss out, even the basic quality control things like quality of plastic on dashboard, tyre size, alloy design, headlamps, DRLs, LED tail lamps, paint quality, rubber beading, sound insulation etc. are some of the things that differ between an Indian version and a global version of a same car. Moreover, sometimes we pay more for these barebone cars than the buyers abroad.

I think one way this can be solved is by letting the customer choose what he wants in his/her car as optional packages. For e.g. say a manufacturer will build the basic car and then each and every accessories or whatever you call it (like engine option,safety features,ICE,tyre,alloy,leather seats,sun-roof etc. etc.) can be added by order at the time of booking at their respective extra cost. This way one can opt for safety kits but can skip leather seats,expensive audio,sunroof or the things he doesn't need to save cost. This sort of customizations are there for high end cars but asking this for a mass market car is a pipe dream and will take longer waiting period. We will have to either accept the step motherly attitude or buy higher and more expensive models. Since not all can spend extra in order to claim himself a global customer, this trend will not change in near future.
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Old 26th June 2015, 14:41   #36
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

Car manufacturers will always aim for the maximum return on investment in any market.


In markets which have attained higher maturity where Government regulations are strict on mandatory safety features enforcement, higher customer awareness on safety features and demand for feature rich cars, manufacturers have no choice but to adhere to the regulations/norms and features that meet the customer demand that will ultimately drive higher sales.

Manufactuers will always go with what will be a compelling buy for the "majority" of the customers. They will do anything to retain the loyalty of the majority customer base.


In India, competition is cut throat in the A, B and C segments especially.
The Govenment still classifies cars as a luxury item. The Tax component on cars is huge when compared to most developed countries.

The tax component over the manufacturing pricing of a car is anywhere between 50 to 70 percent in India.
The manufacturer margin in the total cost of the car is getting squeezed.

This puts a huge pressure on the manufacturers which makes them resorting to cutting down on costlier features ie., anything that can be removed that would not negatively affect sales and still accepted by a majority of the customer base and without violating any law.

What we end up in the mass car market is compromised structural integrity (removing a member or beam here and there for Indian versions), making the frame as light as possible and using wafer thin sheet metal to increase fuel efficiency (at the cost of structural strength)
Our country is yet to framer tighter mandatory norms for mandatory safety equipment and until that time, manufactuers can continue with these safety compromises.

Government regulations on mandatory safety aspects and customer awareness about the concept of safety cage, ABS, seat belts is getting better and we are now seeing atleast some manufacturers offering essential safety features as standard. It will get better progressively.

Our car market is still evolving, it is just over 2 decades post liberalization. Consumers here have moved on from the "Buland Bharat ki buland tasveer" all family on a Bajaj chetak days to cars and for majority of the customers here, cars are still aspirational.

The mass market will still go for the maximum perceived value for money, lower maintenance, maximum fuel efficiency. Manufactuers fill in this customer need by introducing so many trims with different level of features for every model, so that their car can meet the maximum spectrum of buyer budget. They also make every effort to get the maximum number of features on a car (to match or exceed a competitor's feature list) at the expense of quality. So quality takes a backseat and we are seeing more and more cars with a huge list of features but lacking quality.

Ultimately everything comes down to cost, what the customer is willing to pay and what the manufacturer can reap as profit. The value of the car is actually much smaller than what the customer pays for it (after taking off the huge tax component).

There is a sudden boom of car sales in India especially in the last 10 years. Awareness is slowly building up among Indian consumers and things will change for the better definately in terms of parity of features and safety equipment with their international versions.

Last edited by for_cars1 : 26th June 2015 at 14:54.
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Old 26th June 2015, 14:59   #37
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

Everyone might have said it before so nothing new here from me. But few things I observed and makes me upset.

1. Indian in general do not understand RISK. example many of my educated colleague buys ULIP to save tax instead simple term insurance for themselves.

2. Refuse to wear seat-belt unless it is a mandate by law. Back seat passengers yet to buckle-up.

3. Most DO NOT buys child seat , and seats with infant in the front seat. and the child continue to grow up seating in the front seat thinking it is OK to do so.

4. And the list goes on. And to make things worst the same public buys screen guard and cover for mobile phone but do not wear proper hamlet.

Now coming to car I personally not surprised here.

Only consolation as many do not drive in high speed within city limit life threatening accidents are significantly low compared to normal small accidents with denting.
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Old 27th June 2015, 10:38   #38
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

Most of focus on ABS & Airbags when we think of safety but do we know what corner's the manufacturer's are cutting to widen their profit margin in the construction of the car? We don't know what steel is used, if crumple zone's are as good as in international variants for example.

I ask this because I am not sure if a poorly built car will save its occupants even if it has ABS & Airbags. We all know how badly the Datsun Go's body shell fared in the NCAP tests. Comparatively, the Polo without airbags had a much more intact body shell. How many of our car's use high strength steel and in how many areas of their body shell? No magazine or forum tells us these things probably because manufacturer's don't share this data. When Ford launched the Fiesta they spoke about the car having used boron steel. Is this same as high strength steel? I don't remember any car magazine focusing on this in their review. Even Ford didn't talk about this much. I read about VW using a imported dashboard in the Polo because Indian supplier's couldn't comply with VOC vapour's standards of VW. Did we appreciate this gesture of VW? Instead we flamed them for not giving ACC or touch screen unit & so on. Buyer's everywhere, even in the more educated west, will go for tangible features. Humans go by touch, sight, smell. It's up to manufacturer's & auto experts to tell us about the intangible features which make their car's 'buyable'.

ABS & airbags are visible safety measures. We can take informed decisions based on that but what about the construction of the cars? How can we take informed decisions if there is no information available to us?
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Old 27th June 2015, 11:35   #39
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Default Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

All cars sold in India are certified by ARAI and if we lack any features compared to models abroad it's the regulation needs to be amended. This is long over due. Hope it gets amended soon.

After so much deliberations ABS is made mandatory in CV's only from this year. Similar reforms should happen to passenger segments to force safer vehicles to the customer.

Since most of the manufacturers have interests in selling vehicles abroad also, the basic design caters to the most stringent of the requirement. Except for few who has great volumes domestically and similar volumes abroad.

The aesthetic features and and other gizmos are driven by the local market conditions.

Last edited by varunanb : 27th June 2015 at 11:41.
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Old 27th June 2015, 19:59   #40
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

The Government needs to pass a rule enforcing these safety features on all variants. Period.

If consumers vote with their wallets by buying only the top spec variant which has ABS and Airbags the only thing that car manufacturers will take from that is that "Hey people are willing to pay 7 lakhs instead of 5 lakhs per car, lets increase prices and profit !!"
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Old 28th June 2015, 06:18   #41
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

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Originally Posted by Mortis View Post
The Government needs to pass a rule enforcing these safety features on all variants. Period.

If consumers vote with their wallets by buying only the top spec variant which has ABS and Airbags the only thing that car manufacturers will take from that is that "Hey people are willing to pay 7 lakhs instead of 5 lakhs per car, lets increase prices and profit !!"

Im so happy for a friend/ family connection of mine- a scientist living in Hyderabad. He is the quintessential Indian "Family Man" with a wife and two kids. He had a tough budget to hold with since he has big responsibilities on a limited income at the moment.
Yet, based upon several discussions with me, he chose to buy a Top Spec Petrol Etios with all the safety kit in it. He didn't, like many people, succumb to the lure of the cheaper fuel and the lower variant of a higher segment just to "show" that he has arrived in life. He chose wisely and he chose well by buying the Top Spec fully loaded Petrol Etios, which has ABS, EBD, Airbags and the rest of it.
I was advising him to buy the Top Spec Petrol Hyundai Elite or Hyundai Elite Active because it is a super hatch. However, for him, the 1.2 litre petrol engine felt distinctly under-powered and kept getting breathless. He therefore chose the 1.4 Toyota engine which is much more powerful in feel.

The greatest learning here is that even the regular simple man has realised the value of Safety Kit in the car. India is changing and Indians are most certainly getting more savvy and discerning.

Therefore, it is only a matter of time, till we evolve into appreciating the need for safety features and are willing to spend what it takes to acquire a car with all this stuff in it. And Yes! It will help a lot if the Govt. makes it absolutely mandatory for all variants of all cars, irrespective of segment, to come with ABS and Airbags.
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Old 9th August 2016, 17:21   #42
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Smile Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

On a lighter note, here's comedian Daniel Fernandes' take on lack of safety features on Indian cars, Coffins on Wheels (refers NCAP, int'l versions etc. ).

Watch sections 0:0 to 6:20 and 10:44 till the end.

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Old 10th August 2016, 11:48   #43
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

My take on this is similar to the views echoed earlier in this thread.
I feel car makers have certain notions (one could call it preconceived) about the Indian market and buyer behaviour. It is almost as if one is in those colonial ages where the smart trader shark exchanges worthless little trinkets, even some booze, for valuable stuff like diamonds from the native population. India is still seen as a pure third world market where they can, if not peddle previous gen vehicles like they used to earlier, at least strip, chip, chop and cut to the bone wherever possible, taking advantage of the lax laws and enforcement, weak consumer protection - and finally use as a fig leaf, that broad opacity called taxes/levies/duties/tariffs. I don't think there is any kind of study or statistic available to us to find out whether the nett realisation of an automaker is X% less in India than say Brazil or Malaysia or UK etc for the same car model, with the same structural safety and same feature list at the same end consumer price.

Given all these, what happens?

In the current scenario, in the below 10 lac space, they tend to load vehicles with as many shiny little toys as they possible can while stripping them of many structural and safety features (under the surface - invisible to the naked eye and untutored mind) to ruthlessly cut costs - in any case the consumer awareness about these is abysmal and consumer protection, toothless.

In the 10 to 20 lac area, they become a bit more careful, adding some (not all) of those important features apart from the frills.

It is only in the above 20 lac area that things even out further, bringing these vehicles virtually on par with those sold internationally.

And the stratosphere beyond that is truly on par.

I also feel there will be a more positive change in the coming years for the Indian customer who will be treated with a bit more respect even at the lower end of the spectrum.
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Old 10th August 2016, 13:27   #44
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit View Post
0We don't know what steel is used, if crumple zone's are as good as in international variants for example.
[...]
I don't remember any car magazine focusing on this in their review. Even Ford didn't talk about this much. I read about VW using a imported dashboard in the Polo because Indian supplier's couldn't comply with VOC vapour's standards of VW.
VW and Ford are about the only manufacturers that bundle safety features to some extent even into entry level car models.

As for body shell - for some cars that don't advertise it, sometimes the proof is photos of an accident that could have been fatal but wasn't. A vyapam whistleblower's manza was hit by a truck, dragged for 40 feet and still survived body shell intact, passengers escaped with minor injuries.

http://m.news18.com/news/madhya-prad...es-730829.html
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Old 10th August 2016, 14:05   #45
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Default Re: Why do Indian cars lack features / safety kit (vis a vis their int'l versions)?

This is a multi-faceted problem.

1. Manufacturers say, we follow the safety regulations laid by Government, a fantastic loophole is exploited over here. Maruti responded with safety features as option in their cars but with no priority to customers opting for it, try booking a O variant and see the response of dealer. Even after GNCAP, very few responded with standard safety kits on lower variants. VW, FORD, TOYOTA being the examples.

2. None of the Sales Advisor advertise the safety features in car, they are more concerned in talking about infotainment systems and gimmicky features. Ask them about airbags/ABS and pat comes the reply, we don't need them as average speeds are less and is expensive during airbags deployment. No one highlights the fact that, insured amount for passengers (2 lacs per person if I am correct) in Car insurance is very less when compared to life that airbag or ABS can save in that crucial moment.

3. Our society is going through a phase what WEST has gone through in 90s. Our Government has examples of WEST to follow the suit but choose to remain reactive rather than proactive.


Just my 2 bits.
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