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Old 2nd August 2016, 12:54   #61
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

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Originally Posted by NiInJa View Post

Maruti Suzuki: Value for money, but as long as people are lapping it up and the cash registers keep ringing, wont bring in safer cars for the masses. Do note that India is a major contributor to Suzuki's revenues, internationally Suzuki is not doing that great. Their core value of 'value for money' does not work for me as I dont feel they do the right thing selling poor safety rating cars for India only.
This. I always felt this way about Maruti. An 800 was our first car, yes, good on FE, but poor on handling in the highways and build quality. And I feel the same continues even now. Even though it is mandatory for all cars to have airbags starting from 2017 for new launches and for older cars from 2019, I don't expect Maruti to toe the line until the last possible moment. For all the mass market appeal that Maruti has, they can easily be the leader to bring in safety in cars here. People will still lap up their products based on their reputation of 'Kitna Deti hai'.

But I guess they don't want to move away from their core value of FE on which they built their market reputation on.

Ford.

Excellent cars till the Ecosport, including the Ikon, Fiestas, Figos. Then suddenly they dropped Fiesta from their plans, petrol disappearing sooner than the diesel and now stopped completely. Great handling at speed and reliability even though their 'Replace everything' approach to service might driven service prices higher than the usual. But seeing the Maruti's servicing costs in recent times, Ford seems cheaper

Had a chat with a SA at Metro Ford, and he was like Aspire is not doing well at all. Most of their inquiries come for the Ecosport and some for the Figo. They tried to target the Maruti segment with these and are in the process of failing due to inferior build quality. People wanting to buy fords are mostly away from the FE gang and want good machines which the people at Ford seem to have missed. They don't have the market share and buyer confidence like a Maruti to give out dud models and still make up sales with other models.
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Old 2nd August 2016, 14:24   #62
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

Here's my take-

Hyundai
:- "Touch points first"
It is quite apparent that Hyundai had a shift in the design philosophy both in terms of performance and aesthetics. While the Santro, Getz and old gen Verna had those mean looks and peppy drive characteristics, the i20, i10 Grande and new Verna, Creta shifted to the fluidic looks with not so inspiring performance. Needless to say the new philosophy has worked wonders. In India "customer touch points" matter more.
Exception- I would say the Xcent, it deviated from being a premium offering.

Mahindra "Rugged feel and pleasurable drive"
This statement was coined somewhere in 2005-2007 and the company has been serious about it till date. No doubt there has been criticism and some of the products (read Quanto) have been more of a production planning idea than a product development one, but the company has held on to this mantra. XUV500, TUV300 and KUV100 are shining examples.
Exception- Xylo and Verito I would say both are rugged but certainly not pleasurable
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Old 2nd August 2016, 16:05   #63
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

I own 4 cars in all and I think each of them pretty clearly defines the core values of the makers of these cars.

Ritz VDi: 41k kms later and not a single rattle or anything breaking or falling apart. IMHO one of the best built Maruti cars, which clearly is not a core Maruti value. But it clearly stands for everything else that Maruti is famous for. Reliable, efficient, not very entertaining to drive, fuss free ownership experience and does it job pretty well.

Ford Fiesta MK 5 based Figo: Better known as the first gen Figo. Now this is a car I love to drive. its done 40k kms in 4 years vs 5 for my Ritz. It is everything a Ford is known for; a beautiful chassis, almost non existent under steer i.e. the car goes exactly where the steering points to, without complains when almost every other car groans and avoids changing direction as quickly under the same driving conditions, a lovely weighted steering and a commanding view of the road in front without any obstructions to hamper the driver's view. In short a perfect driver's car. But then its far from perfect. Lots of niggles like rattles which btw have been resolved pretty well by my local FASC, little electrical problems like the horn going kaput or the instrument cluster lights having a mind of their own, a hissing AC that keep reminding me of a snake getting angry time and again and so on. But even then its my favorite car and I thought that the original Ford Ikon legacy has been well carried over in all the Mk 5 Fiesta and variants. BTW my love affair with Fords started with my 2003 Ford Ikon.
However I am seeing that Ford is moving away from its DNA and values with their new Figo twins and I am a bit disappointed with that. Hopefully we will see the Fiesta Mk 7 and the Focus launched sometime in the future.

Toyota Etios 1.5 Petrol: Only driven this car for about 5k kms but it clearly demonstrates the core Toyota values. Its too early to evaluate reliability but everything seems well fitted and that petrol engine is a gem. Servicing so far has been fuss free but I think Maruti clearly has an edge here in my limited interaction so far. Car is comfy and does it job well but that is about it. Its hardly exciting to drive and is at best a commuter car that has done a good job so far.

Chevy Spark LS: My least reliable car by far and it clearly demonstrates that GM cars are not really reliable in the long run and cost a lot to maintain. It has already seen work in almost all areas except the engine which is easily the best among all my cars as far as low end driveability is concerned. It has a very decent chassis and handling for a small car but that is about it. Things keep failing and need frequent repairs. I surely won't ever buy a GM car again.

Last edited by SPARKled : 2nd August 2016 at 16:13.
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Old 7th August 2016, 11:09   #64
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

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Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post

Lastly, perceptions are created overtime. Customers do give every company a fair chance to establish themselves. They are even willing to forget their past mistakes and are generally enthusiastic about new launches by all companies. But when they find that nothing has changed apart form the model, they give up.
This is so true. I had for a small stint of time owned a Sunny in Dubai, and boy, did I love that car. I became a die hard Nissan fan when I landed back in India in 2012 and promptly went to buy a Nissan Sunny petrol. And today I will not even try to cross from the across a Nissan showroom. In their endeavor to make a cheap sedan in India, they have compromised on quality a tad too much. The keys break with regular usage, the break shoes/drums/pads don't last 20k km at a stretch, everything rattles, the window panes look as if they will crumble in your hands, the plastic parts will come out in your hands if you pat them a little lovingly, etc etc. Its a flimsy car, and Nissan appears to have taken all the wrong steps in India, as if they are in a hurry to get out.
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Old 7th August 2016, 12:26   #65
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

Thinking the other way:

- Has any one succeeded going away from its core; realising mistake and coming back to take the cake? Very small a chance I think.
- Another aspect: start some where; and find your goal on the way and then chart towards it.
- I guess Hyundai is one such company which successfully transitioned from making "so called cheaper" products to good quality value for money (and actually value for many!)
- I will not count customer trust part here. Because that is above all.
- As regards to case of Ford, I think its a case of brand positioning. Before the advent of premium brands, Ford was "supposedly" perceived like a premium brand sitting over Maruti.
- Once with advent of premium hatches and Maruti/Hyundai finding a way to crack the premium segment, Ford I think has lost its plot in terms of where to attack? Premium or the mass. And in the process, they have fallen in between.
- Even if they return to core values, I doubt if it would push the sales.
- Coming back to : "Giving what customer wants" I think thats what sits above all. Even the core values. The core value part definitely plays its parts in giving what the customer wants.
- Crysta sales is a live example. Even when priced high, a superb a no non-sense reliable luxury product. Which is what a customer wants and Toyota has built up that trust over the years.
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Old 11th August 2016, 02:25   #66
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

I don’t believe in this core value concept at all. At least not the way it is being discussed here. When I look at the various arguments and comments I think we are taking a too limited view. Limited in terms of geography, market and time line.

These days the auto industry is, with few exceptions, a truly global market.

What was a company core value one year, might be outdated today it seems.

Volkswagen used to have air cooled rear mounted engines, rear wheel drive. That changed with the introduction of the K70 and until recently VW did very well to ditch this core value of air cooled, rear mounted, rear wheel driven.

Skoda used to be a cheap alternative to VW in most of Europe. Now some consider them better quality then VW. Same story with Lada

Mercedes, up to the W123 used to do all the design, including components in house. Again, commercially Mercedes, globally has been doing extremely well over the last decades since they outsourced large parts of their engineering and design staff.

Jaguar used to be the epitome of everything British. But since they have become owned by Tata they have done extremely well. Although rarely advertised in the public domain is; one of the things they ditched after the Tata take over, is to stop listening to (English) Jaguar owners on what they wanted/liked in car.

At long last somebody realised if you ask old farts (e.g. like me) what they like in a car, you get, amazingly, an old farts car. Stop asking old gits like me what you want, think for yourself and think about a new target audience and you end up with a stonking great car such as the F-type.

Porsche is a bit of same story as VW (of course for some like me, Porsche are still regarded as overpriced VWs). For decades it had to be air cooled engines. They ditched that and global sales went through the roof ever since.

Now they are adding turbo’s much to the disgust if not horror of those that like to see themselves as hard core Porsche enthusiast. Time will tell, but I think they will even sell more.

Ford changes it core values more often then I can remember. Hasn’t stopped them from selling tonnes of car over many decades. Who wants the core value of a T-Ford these days? Fords are always fun to drive? My foot! There have been some truly awful models over the years.

Let’s take the Mini. Not only did the “ownership" of Mini change, but you can hardly compare the original mini to the current one, in terms of what it stands for.
Both were/are very successful, each in its own rights. Each targeting a very different market/segment.

If there is such a thing as core value, I don’t think it can be expressed in the sort of things/explanations I see in the various posts in this thread.They are too limited. Or at leas they change with the times, sometimes due to technology, legislation etc.

Take Ferrari, again a prime case of a company that has changed some of it’s core values several times over the decades. V8-V12 NA, turbo’s, no electrics, masses of electronics. They have done it all!

But nobody would deny that Ferrari has something that few others can rival.

Audi’s from the 70’s onwards were cars for young and senior executives. Now they have a range from the very tiny to the very large and target anything from a slick sales rep in his first job to the CEO of a large company. And it shows in their line up. And they are by and large very successful moving away from those 70’s core values!

I don’t believe sticking to core values (whatever they might be/are) is a recipe for a company success per se Understanding your market/customers and giving them something that appeals to them is what matters. You go with the times, or in time you will go as they say.

What matters is, as we discussed in many threads, very different. For some it could be cheapness, for others superior engineering, for others exclusivity etc.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 11th August 2016 at 02:27.
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Old 18th August 2016, 12:48   #67
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

Change is the ONLY constant and everything else spins around it. The fate of the old and obsolete Car Makers in India- Standard Motors, Hindustan Motors, FIAT / Premier, Rover Montego are cases to look at. While these car makers brought in what they thought the BEST from the other side of the world and tinkered around the Indian needs, they failed to read through the minds of the mass market which was looking for the vehicles from the western movies and TV serials which would ride reliably on Indian roads.

The Indian customer was coming of age and the manufacturers were stitching dresses for their infant stages and thats how the ill-fitting attire couldn't go through. The models flopped as the perception was now spreading faster through the advent of communication that rode on globalization. Suddenly the customer wasn't from a third world country anymore. He could fly, tour the western shores and was decorated with the degrees that the western world offered. They saw the cars, lived those bikes and the western AUTOMOTIVE JOURNALS began influencing the Indian scene. At least I was one and was glued to the monthly reviews and it altered my perception which I passed on to the others.

The roads improved, the earning capacity, the affordability factors and the travel bug bit our Indian tribe big time when the Software boom had its epicenter at Bangalore and spread through the metros. FIATs/ Premiers/ Ambassadors and Contessas were now replaced with the reliable Marutis and the latest in line Fords, Daewoos, GMs and Hyundais. The American brands had to play it safe when it came to the entry level that was ruled by the Maruti Suzuki and introduced those Escorts, Astras, Mondeos and Vectras and parked them beneath the Merc. People aspired for more but were cost conscious. They were happy to upgrade from the 800 to 1000 and then to the Esteem or the Cielo. If they could afford more, they had the Escort, Nexia or the Sun roofed Astra Turbo.

The CORE VALUE that each of these car companies should have had was to " Evolve with the customer" which Maruti did and is the DNA for their success story. The other brands, save Hyundai, had a knee jerk reaction to what the customer wanted and they were little late in reacting by setting up newer assembly lines.

Change: What?
Shape, size, speed, price, colour, service and the image of the offering. This enhances the brand image

Maruti's consistent growth is so because the growing customer sees it grow like he/she does- consistently and alongside, like a pal who changes progressively like they are doing. That mantra is the core value. Let the other manufacturers not move away from this core value!!!
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Old 18th August 2016, 13:59   #68
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

Just had occasion to drive a colleague's Ford Aspire Diesel for a fair while in town (my car being away for service). I can now understand why the erstwhile Ford enthusiasts are disappointed with the vehicle. I can also see how the Indian market terrain is proving to be quite a quagmire for auto companies.
The car has just 6000 kms on the odo and there are a few rattles already - mainly from the dashboard.
This colleague had the old Ford Figo and I had driven it a fair bit - decent build Q and a good vehicle overall. This new Ford feels much lighter (flimsier perhaps?). While I'm a novice in these matters, the engine felt good though - decent drivability.
However - the new offering from Ford has definitely moved away from what one would normally expect from them. So far it has not served the company well. With the price cuts they may just about notch some numbers.

Last edited by wilful : 18th August 2016 at 14:00. Reason: typo
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Old 19th August 2016, 12:48   #69
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Related Thread (Perception, Price and Looks : The factors that sell a car)

When I was going through some flops on the June sales thread (link), my mind just went "how can some companies abandon what they stand for?".

Every brand stands for something and they shouldn't move away from that. If they do, it should be an exception rather than the rule (say, with an experimental car). But when companies make it a habit & destroy their core values - what they stand for - it ends up badly for them.

What other brands & misses can BHPians think of?
Really interesting thread and completely agree.

I can't think of a parallel but on a converse point, its interesting to note that sometimes manufacturers fail even when they stick to their core values. Case in point are the higher end cars from Hyundai like Elantra, Sonata and Santa Fe (latest gen).

All of these models continued to offer Hyundai's core values in spades but still didn't shake the market and could arguably be called flops. This is despite these vehicles (Santa Fe aside perhaps) not being totally off the mark on pricing. Perhaps part of the problem though is not in the product offering but simply the fact that the D segment has gotten complicated with comparable big german or SUV alternatives.
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Old 19th August 2016, 14:28   #70
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

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I can't think of a parallel but on a converse point, its interesting to note that sometimes manufacturers fail even when they stick to their core values. Case in point are the higher end cars from Hyundai like Elantra, Sonata and Santa Fe (latest gen).
In India, Hyundai's core value is quality products under 10L. Anything beyond that is not their forte here.
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Old 19th August 2016, 15:15   #71
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

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In India, Hyundai's core value is quality products under 10L. Anything beyond that is not their forte here.
Aren't they selling huge numbers of Creta in India? I believe that's quite a quality product above 10 lakhs.
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Old 19th August 2016, 15:32   #72
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

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In India, Hyundai's core value is quality products under 10L. Anything beyond that is not their forte here.
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Aren't they selling huge numbers of Creta in India? I believe that's quite a quality product above 10 lakhs.
We cant really put a price tag on their success or failure. The Creta does good at even 15L due to no real competition. The Verna is not doing so well in its segment since the competition has caught up with it. Same can be said about the Santa Fe where it had to compete with the Fortuner and Toyota's brand following and also was priced higher than the Fortuner.

Hyundai has still managed to break the 10L above luxury segment with Creta, Elantra and to some extent Santa Fe which hasn't really been a sales dud either. I think Maruti is rather the company which hasn't been able to really break into the 10L+ segments yet with both Vitara and S cross not selling.
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Old 3rd November 2016, 14:37   #73
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

Completely agree with GTO!! And Honda is a classic example of moving away from its core values - Quality and Reliability.

There's a world of difference between the 2nd Gen Jazz and the new one.. Ditto for the City [3rd and 4th Gens].

And their other products - Brio, Amaze, Mobilio and BR-V - none of them match up to the old Honda standards in terms of design, styling, finishing and build quality!

Thanks and Regards,
Rakesh
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Old 10th November 2016, 01:47   #74
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Default Re: Why car companies shouldn't move away from their core values

Very interesting thread. I wasn't able to make my mind till the very last. But now that I have, here is my take.

I too think that a company cannot stick to one character when their market is the globe. Some examples from my observation.

SUVification of the Super luxury segment with Bentley and Rolls Royce. Well, I am pretty sure a decade ago, it would have been a joke to think of these makers doing SUVs. Apart from being called "Sports Utility Vehicle" these massive barges are surely a deviation from the purist strategy. But atleast for Bentley and RR these are bigger and commanding on the road which is their trademark. But thinking of Lamborghini making SUVs nails the coffin. Porsche has for all its track hugging, tail wagging sports car generates its most cash from its SUV/Crossover line up.

It is also when companies are engulfed into countable number of conglomerates, the company becomes more generic and attributes the character to individual vehicles.The best example is VW group.

And with the advent of autonomous cars, am sure pure driving pleasure will not be boasted for long. By having to forgo one's traditional values, companies have made a lot of money and the bosses wouldn't care as long as they "Make more profits".

Speaking of the bosses, hardly any mass market automaker is headed by an Engineer nor a driving fanatic. So, it seems logical the brands don't strongly portray one remarkable character throughout its line-up.
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