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Old 22nd August 2015, 13:24   #1
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Default Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

The first car of my dad was a Suzuki SS80. Itís close to 31 years old or we may say its 31 years young. It still is a pleasure to drive. After Suzuki SS80, we have owned countless marutis but we can never let go of the car which revolutionized the Indian Auto Scene.

In 2013 when I was able enough to buy a car, my Dad and my elder bro said that first car of an Indian has to be from the Gurgaon Manufacturer. Taking into account my daily usage of 50+ kms, I felt I needed an oil burner. I had shortlisted Swift Zdi, Polo TDI Highline, Punto 90 HP and Hyundai i20 CRDI Asta. Eventually I ended up buying a Swift ZDi thinking itís a good VFM and offers decent safety.

Prior to my decision of buying, I had carefully gone though Global and Asean NCAP videos for the crash tests. I know that Indian Cars and their European counterparts are very different both in terms of safety equipments and build quality. But I was expecting some similarity in the body shell integrity. The videos of a swiftís body shell disintegrating, was a real shocker. The slight bending of the A-Pillar and deformation of the roof forced me to rename my Maruti Swift as a HALDIRAM SWIFT . I request Swift owners not to be offended for this as I am also a ďPROUD OWNERĒ of a Swift.

Polo got a bad rating from NCAP guys due to lack of Airbags in the lower variants. VW fixed that by making airbags a standard feature across variants. What troubles me is what has Maruti done to get rid of that stigma? We got the following from them after the NCAP tests were made public:

1. AMT on Alto (to boost the already boosted sales)
2. Stickers thrown across the body (could be a safety feature as it will ward off oncoming vehicles from the gaudy stickers)
3. Driver Side Airbag in the highest trim of its best selling A segment car (what protection can SRS give when the shell crumbles?)
4. New brake boosters on mid and low variants of Swift diesel which donít have enough bite to stop the car. Because of this, the car feels like having momentum of Jupiter
5. And now we have Alto Onam Special

Links to the Onam Edition Alto for the reading pleasure of fellow BHPians:

http://auto.ndtv.com/news/maruti-alt...unched-1208463
http://m.autocarindia.com/Article.as...7015&type=News
http://www.rushlane.com/maruti-alto-...-12158960.html

Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...-153969.jpg

For the impatient lot, who care less to visit the links, I have summed up the rabbits that maruti has pulled out of its hat:

15 new features including a music system with speakers, reverse parking sensors, designer seat covers, embroidered cushions, Onam graphics and decal, etc. On the outside, the Onam Edition gets unique body graphics to set it apart from the standard car. Other add-ons include mud-flaps and window visors. Inside, the limited-run Alto 800 gets the inclusion of features such as reverse parking sensors, a music system, new dual-tone seat covers and steering cover, door sill guards, embroidered cushions, and ambience light. Also included in this special edition is a 'race boat designí tissue box. Interested customers can avail these additional features by paying a nominal amount of Rs. 17,350 over the ex-showroom price of the selected variant.

Wonít the Race Boat Design tissue box inspire the driver to drive faster and make the car unsafe? Why couldnít the manufacturer offer a model with some stiffened body shell by charging a premium? I am not sure how the logistics would work out for that but I am sure that wasting precious time on coming up with new stickers will never solve the safety problem. The step motherly treatment by Indian Manufacturers has already been discussed on multiple forums. No point in discussing about them.

But the makers of stickers should know that: We also deserve to survive a crash and live another day to write about it on TeamBHP.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd August 2015 at 17:20. Reason: Re-uploading image as attachment
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Old 22nd August 2015, 15:01   #2
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

When I read the title, I thought that Maruti has finally woken up from its trance and offered a safer variant of the highest selling single model 4 wheeler in the country. But as earlier, I was disappointed again to read the post. It took me a while to get to the sarcasm of your post but then it is justified.

I really hope that Maruti does comes up with a safer fleet of cars on offer right from the A segment.

Amen!


Note from Mod: Title updated slightly, to avoid any confusion.

Last edited by Rehaan : 28th August 2015 at 18:12. Reason: Adding small note about the title edit.
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Old 22nd August 2015, 15:06   #3
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sampat.sahoo View Post
... Links to the Onam Edition Alto for the reading pleasure of fellow BHPians:

... Won’t the Race Boat Design tissue box inspire the driver to drive faster and make the car unsafe? Why couldn’t the manufacturer offer a model with some stiffened body shell by charging a premium? I am not sure how the logistics would work out for that but I am sure that wasting precious time on coming up with new stickers will never solve the safety problem. ...
Interesting. Guess we may start seeing a special edition for all festivals, in the respective regions / states. But, pointless, and as expected from Maruti.

Driving faster inspired by a race boat design? Nah, I don't think so. It's all about the maturity of drivers. Don't we see maniac drivers in a car with yellow plates - what inspires them?

The logistics part is simple, all those are add on stuff which could be retrofitted at the dealership. This is a better way of making more money as this is offered as a package in a fancy name called 'special edition. People otherwise would not bother to get most of the useless items, but here they have to buy it. If we dissect further, the total charges may be more than when these items are individually bought.
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Old 22nd August 2015, 16:29   #4
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

Onam- Race boat tissue box,Depawali- cracker inspired Decals, Ramadan- Moon light inspired headlamps and what not. People are going wild to ensure the max this month in Kerala. With few working days and long weekends things are not that good across the state regarding the sales.
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Old 22nd August 2015, 16:51   #5
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Haldiram Swift , you had me in splits man, what a funny name.

Maruti has started working towards safety with the introduction of S Cross but i do not think that they would want to give respectable build or standard safety features to other cars like alto, wagon r or even Swift. Would be great if they can make airbags standard in YRA too.
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Old 22nd August 2015, 18:31   #6
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

If crash test passing were mandatory for cars the first car to go out of sale would be Alto followed by Omni, Eeco and WagonR. I don't think maruti has any ways to make them pass the crash tests due to their poor build quality. All of these are old cash cows maruti is milking as much as possible and they would let these go under strict norms from Government.
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Old 22nd August 2015, 23:00   #7
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sampat.sahoo View Post
Prior to my decision of buying, I had carefully gone though Global and Asean NCAP videos for the crash tests. I know that Indian Cars and their European counterparts are very different both in terms of safety equipments and build quality. But I was expecting some similarity in the body shell integrity. The videos of a swiftís body shell disintegrating, was a real shocker. The slight bending of the A-Pillar and deformation of the roof forced me to rename my Maruti Swift as a HALDIRAM SWIFT . I request Swift owners not to be offended for this as I am also a ďPROUD OWNERĒ of a Swift.
After being well-informed about the build quality of swift even before the purchase, What made you still to go ahead and buy the Swift("HALDIRAM SWIFT") instead of Polo? What was the purpose of your research then?

In my opinion, the norms/crash tests should be made stricter for Manufacturers so that we get safer cars with good build quality and safety features. In the current state, there is no point in blaming the manufacturer as they are not doing anything illegal. End of day, it's a business and they are meeting 50% of the car buyers the requirements. Why will they change their successful formula?!

For people who are really bothered about build quality and not satisfied with Maruti, there are various other options available in market.

It is still good to see that they have put some effort in S-Cross with better build quality.
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Old 22nd August 2015, 23:25   #8
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
After being well-informed about the build quality of swift even before the purchase, What made you still to go ahead and buy the Swift("HALDIRAM SWIFT") instead of Polo? What was the purpose of your research then?
The Swift in India was tested by Global NCAP in late 2014 whereas he purchased in 2013. So, I think he meant that he saw the crash tests for the international versions at the time of his purchase and assumed that the body structure would be similar here, even if some safety equipment would not be available in the Indian Swift. It was only after the NCAP tests in India that the assumption proved to be wrong.

Last edited by JonSnow : 22nd August 2015 at 23:28.
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Old 23rd August 2015, 00:08   #9
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

Well written! Just like saket77, I too had thought that Maruti had woken up at last. But alas.. Maruti being Maruti would not do it so quickly.

But on the other hand, as everyone would know, Maruti is a major trendsetter in the automobile market in India. Be it the AMT that they brought into a A-segment car, the 3-pot diesel into A-segment again or the latest SVHS (did I spell it right??) into Ciaz. Now, my only hope is that Maruti follows their leadership intent in bringing safety feature into their bare-bones cars.

------ A dream from another Alto owner!
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Old 23rd August 2015, 10:32   #10
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

As far as making safe vehicles in the small car segment is concerned, without doubt manufacturers have a long way to go. Given the latest buying trend amongst the prospective customers, nowadays the preference is for compact sedans, which is the main reason that refrains the manufacturers from investing further into the small car segment. Although it's altogether a different issue, that in safety matters, even the mid segment leaves a lot to be desired.

Moreover the low segment customers are also not concerned with the safety features, hence they blindly opt for the cheapest deal. In a country where most of the people believe in destiny than in efforts, it's quite natural for safety to take back seat. This is the main reason for the manufactures to continue with such models and the things will remain the same until a strict order comes into force, mandating the manufactures to incorporate highest safety standards in all the vehicles they make, irrespective of the segment.
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Old 23rd August 2015, 11:06   #11
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

Consumer awareness is the key. When the consumers will start rejecting the non-compliant cars, Car manufacturers will have no choice but to incorporate the safety features even in basic models. That is way too optimistic!
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Old 23rd August 2015, 11:33   #12
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
After being well-informed about the build quality of swift even before the purchase, What made you still to go ahead and buy the Swift("HALDIRAM SWIFT") instead of Polo? What was the purpose of your research then?

I made the purchase in 2013. I was aware that the international variants had all the safety related bells and whistles which we in India didnít have. I assumed that the manufacturers here at least used similar body structures across markets. However, the Indian NCAP videos released in 2014 revealed something else. Regarding me not buying a PoloÖ I wanted a diesel engine and I didnít like the 3 cylinder TDI. GT TDI was launched 3-4 months after I purchased my swift. And why I didnít opt for other cars? There were many factors involved which made me buy a swift at that point of time. And if I were in the market today to buy a hatchback, my list to choose from would still have remained the same but maybe I would have gone for a different car.

I completely agree with you when it comes to safety. It has to be pushed down the throat of manufacturers. No manufacturer is here for charity. For them, we the customers are just an entry in their Balance Sheet. But it really makes a difference how they treat us, whether like an Asset or a Liability. Yes Maruti is a trend setter. It has introduced many First In Class Segment features. But their attitude towards safety is a bit laidback. S Cross is a step forward in that aspect. Maruti is trying to position its offerings from Nexa as a niche product. What about the products being offered from their regular Showrooms? Donít the Regular Showroom Customers deserve safety?

Please correct me if I am wrong. I think Maruti is the only manufacturer here with an active Sticker Research Department. You name an occasion and we have apt stickers for that. May it be Wind Song, Anniversary Edition, Limited Edition, RS and what not. I am not trying to belittle anyone or trying to comment on anyoneís taste. Demand for the so called Special Editions can also be the reason why the manufacturer puts safety on the backburner. Once I was at the service station for getting some minor niggles fixed. I could see a decorated Swift with loads of people around it. I asked the salesman whatís the fuss all about. He said: Sir, itís a limited edition Swift that dealer has come up with. Itís a VXi within but we have made it a ZXi!! (This he said with a sense of accomplishment) I asked him sarcastically: So you guys were able to get hold of aftermarket ABS and Airbags???? To that he replied saying, they are required only if one travels at 100+ speeds most of the times. Steering mounted controls and alloy wheels are the things in vogue. I was stunned listening to him.

I donít say that strong body structure, Airbags and ABS are all one needs to be safe. These combined with sane driving can make a huge difference and reduce road fatalities. Top two manufacturers here have enough volumes to achieve economies of scales to include these across their product offerings. If players who have minimal footprint in India can offer basic safety across their trim levels, then why canít the top two do the same? It reminds me of the classic Ford Pinto case study (https://users.wfu.edu/palmitar/Law&V...ett-pinto.html). My intent of the post was to highlight what has been done by Maruti after the NCAP videos were made public. In my honest opinion (being a Maruti owner), there hasnít been any substantial corrective action. The least Maruti could have done is given a choice of safety features in itís A segment cars. Let the customers decide what they want. I am eagerly waiting for the days when safety is a STANDARD and not an OPTION.
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Old 24th August 2015, 17:28   #13
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

http://indianexpress.com/article/bus...-maruti-chief/

Given Mr. Bhargava's stance , I don't think safety is a very high priority at MS.

He goes on to state that a mild upward change in prices due to adding features like airbag and ABS would discourage people from buying a car, he needs to be told that people keeping using petrol and LPG inspite of frequent upward changes in their prices. What has clearly gone unnoticed is that the shell is so weak that airbags and abs may not be of any use eventually.

In fact the outer shell of modern day marutis seems to be made of aluminium foil
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Old 24th August 2015, 19:11   #14
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

When will most manufacturers realize , that in a hatchback , they must provide a rear defogger and a rear wash wipe as standard across all variants . I say this from driving a M800 for eight years and an Alto lxi for another nine .

If they do not do this in the future , our government must make it mandatory .
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Old 24th August 2015, 19:23   #15
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Default re: Marutiís response to NCAP Tests: Alto Onam Edition? Nope...

I'm not commenting on any one brand per se, but these special editions have to stop whether its the Swift Onam Edition, Vento/Polo "Breeze" edition or Hyundai "Limited" Edition. The add-ons are just plain silly, be it decals i.e cheap stickers, cushions, red inset stitching or a touchscreen mount that looks like an afterthought. The stock cars are much better than such gimmickry, of course we all know that this is done to exhaust stocks of certain variants since its proven that the Indian customer responds to colours, usage of words like special/limited/deal (aka pulling a Flipkart) and of course ads with fireworks in the background.

I hope no one plans to release a limited Holi Edition car next year with the body splattered with pink, green & yellow colours. If they do want to release a special edition how about some truly useful stuff like front-centre armrest or maybe projector lamps & such.

As far as safety features go, let me be one of the few to say that the Indian car scene is just coming out of its infancy.. and there has been a fair bit of progress with most cars upwards of 5L coming with 2 airbags & ABS at least in the highest variant, people have to choose to buy such variants or buy brands where it is sold across the range like VW. However below the 5 lakh OTR price in today's time it will only change in due course because the companies have to catch up with the shift in safety requirements.. just 4-5 years back the scene was completely different (which is why segment first 6-airbag models of i20/Verna sold in mere dozens then). Hopefully the Indian drivers will in time also learn to drive safe apart from buying cars with safety assists. It has to be a paradigm shift like prevention of jaywalking, careful riding, careful driving, obeyance of rules and of course buying safe vehicles.
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