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Old 27th August 2015, 12:49   #1
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Lightbulb Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

Friends,

I was wondering considering the amount of traffic we have during peak hours in Metro cities , the time is ripe to have practical micro-cars with all creature-comfort, budget less than 4 Lacs (all inclusive) and safety needs to be launched.
I am aware that in India we have Nano, Reva and similar sized vehicle but those are not true blue micro cars or motorized quadricycles

I feel a lot of us would love to show-off such toys for our regular office commute, I feel guilty every time I take my FIAT GP out for office. For me car pooling is not feasible considering the amount of negativity or phobias around.

I see that there a lot of handsome candidates which can be brought by existing players.

Few list of personal favorites:
1) Aixam
2) Grecav EKE
3) Renault Twizy
4) Honda n-One
5) Suzuki Hustler ‘kei’ SUV
6) Honda Beat / Honda S660
7) Tazzari Zero
8) Smart for 2
9) Honda N360
10) Suzuki Twin (production ceased)
...

The below wiki will throw enough fuel for ideas atleast to begin with.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ntry_of_origin

Waiting to hear more by forum

PS: I have not done extensive research on this topic but I have high interest in this topic to great extent so please keep the discussion child-like and layman

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th August 2015 at 17:05. Reason: Updating to the corrected version of the post... :)
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Old 27th August 2015, 14:32   #2
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Well. We have our own class of vehicles with excise benefits. Under 4m and under 1.2 ltr engine for petrol cars. The nano fits the profile of vehicle you're talking about.

Suzuki is working on new generation turbo charged 600-800 cc petrol engines for India. I'm sure they will plonk one in the alto/celerio and launch another variant.

The next generation alto might as well be a kei car.

The upcoming Renault kwid may also be a contender.

I think this trend will catch on in metros when families need 3 vehicles for husband /wife /kid.

Automotive policies are long term in nature and not easily changed. The industry has finally come out with platforms taking full advantage of the under 4m segment only this year. Almost 5 years after it was announced.
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Old 27th August 2015, 15:42   #3
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Default re: Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

Aah... the Honda S660

Well, we have always been doing it. Our 800 and Alto are just kei cars with bigger engines, so is the WagonR. Though they are small and probably unsafe, the Japanese can bring out more kei cars wit good equipment and features and also safety.

Our Nano, e20 are also good examples, but talking about quadricycles the Baja Re60 is a very good option.
Do hope for such cars/vehicles as many early 20s guys like me who do not take biking cause of safety and doesnt take the car cause of burning pockets will surely be happy to have something like a Renault Twizy instead of taking our great public transports
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Old 27th August 2015, 15:51   #4
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Default re: Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?-2015hondas660midengineroadsterfirstdrivereviewcaranddriverphoto657598soriginal.jpg

This, this, this, oh please give us this Honda
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Old 27th August 2015, 16:30   #5
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Default re: Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

According to our regulations, we only have a max cap (4 meter, 1.2L Petrol / 1.5L Diesel) to qualify for the lowest excise duty benefit. Unless there is an even further drill down of rules for more excise duty benefits (such as 4% excise duty for cars that are less than 3 meter, 0.6 litre petrol / 0.8 litre diesel), manufacturers would not consider coming up with one.
Tata has packed most room into the smallest possible four seater and it still came out to be 3.2 meters in length. It used two cylinder engine with lot of noise which is one of the major reasons for its failure. Adding safety features would result in further increase of car dimensions.
Even then if the engine size is small, and is usable only for city commute, in my opinion, it will not work out in our country as most of us buy our cars for our families and can have only one car (real estate, budget constraints) and that one car cannot have an unrealistic engine, for occasional highway runs.
If you mean a two seater car: I believe a two seater car, has no space in our mass market. For my office drive, max occupants is 2, but mostly I go alone. Still I wouldn't prefer a 2 seater, because during my family trips, always all my seats are full. A two seater car, less than 3 meter, at 600cc, with safety features and light weight, would be a terrific toy, but wouldn't pick up in our country, because all of us buy our cars, for our families, not for individuals.
IMHO, any quadricycle launched will see Nano's fate.
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Old 27th August 2015, 16:57   #6
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Default re: Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

Going by initial steam this thread is picking on a long weekend in Southern part of country, I am convinced that the idea is in everybody's mind. Just needs necessary steriods from industry/governments.

Yes the Honda S660 will be a rage.
I will so will be the Smart/ Twizy (considering the fandom they carry around them)
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Old 27th August 2015, 18:25   #7
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Default re: Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

An excellent idea. In my opinion it will appeal for those couples who need/use separate vehicles for their office commute and have less parking space restraints. A two seater, 3m car is good enough for commuting. But then they will need a third vehicle for family outings - we are looking at scenarios similar to US, where families have multiple cars for multiple uses.

From manufacturer's point of view, how many will sell? Not many, as this vehicle is a specialty commute only device. Even if all those who pay Income Tax buy one, sales would be quite low and if multiple manufacturer's come up with a model, even fewer.
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Old 27th August 2015, 18:42   #8
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Default re: Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

Ajoy - Thanks for your comments and I agree to most it.

However this ideas will only appeal to people requiring second/third car for local errands (all no highway trips). Would serve as no heartburn commuters. May or may not sell in numbers now but I am seeing this segment will heat up like sun in a decade from now
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Old 27th August 2015, 20:31   #9
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Default re: Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

Its all nice and cool to dream about zig-zagging cars. Its also funny that we think that traffic situation is bad!

Now look at the stats:

Population: +1 billion
Average Car ownership today: About ~10 in 1000 people (about ~13% of the total population).

Everyone wants economy to grow, so imagine even if car ownership becomes 500 in 1000.

What are you going to do? May be some kind nuclear holocaust could balance the ecosystem!

Threads after threads the focus of this community has been how to beat the system rather than how to solve the root cause of the problems. For example- making airbags and all safety features mandatory or dreaming of micro cars/quadricycles/KeiSUVs. Therefore, I believe better road designs/better driving/better enforcement can solve the problem.

Even if you do get your dream micro car or whatever, the system wont allow you to drive peacefully, let alone have some fun!
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Old 27th August 2015, 23:11   #10
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Default re: Feasibility of Micro cars / quadricycles / Kei cars for India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajesh.palaria View Post
Friends,
I was wondering considering the amount of traffic we have during peak hours in Metro cities , the time is ripe to have practical micro-cars with all creature-comfort, budget less than 4 Lacs (all inclusive) and safety needs to be launched.
I agree with this sentiment. A Kei Jidosha would be very practical as an everyday commute, say upto 50km a day. Its small, compact, efficient and can squeeze through the smallest of gaps. Its highly practical as well.

There are a couple of points that does act against the whole practicality concept.

1. Taxation: Without a change in the control structure for road tax, emission norms, I dont think a Kei car would be the solution to ease congustion in the metro roads. People should be encouraged to buy the Kei car and drive them around rather than the 3-ers, XUV500s and Innovas and concessions should given to a 4/5 seater Kei Car as opposed to a 2 seater. You will be surprised to find the amount of 4/5 seater Kei cars that are in the market. In other words, gas guzzlers and polluters would have to be taxed higher than a Kei car.

2. Safety: As a safety simulation engineer, this is the one that I am most concerned about. Gone are the days when I used to look at the 800, Omni and the Alto as a car. If we are to introduce the Kei cars, then the Indian equivalent of the Euro-NCAP should be strictly enforced. Added to that, standard features should include the driver and passenger Airbag, ABS, day light headlamps and other important features. Car OEMs should tighten their belts and offer the Indian public what they would offer the "world". As an added point to this, is the regulations like mandatory seatbelts, minimum tire profile depth and an insurance structure based on periodic maintanence.

But on the whole, its definitely a segment that could kickstart the 3rd Indian automobile revolution.
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