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Old 13th April 2017, 10:32   #1
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Default How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

On the auto industry's clock, 5 - 10 years is frankly not a long time. Heck, it takes 5 years on an average to develop a single new car from the ground up. Still, it's fascinating to see how some car manufacturers have evolved in this time span. Just as well, since the Indian car market has also grown in size & maturity over the last 10 years.

Maruti
10 years back, Maruti primarily sold hatchbacks, with one compact sedan making its entry in 2008 (Dzire). Still strong in hatchbacks, Maruti today also sells large volumes of 7-seater MPVs, a compact SUV and a million-rupee sedan. In the 2000s, Maruti offered no technology to speak of (it famously sparred with Suzuki Japan on 'gearbox tech'). The company now offers AMTs, SHVS, Apple CarPlay etc. Make no mistake, Maruti works harder & longer than any of its competitors. How else can you sell the most cars, yet have the highest customer satisfaction levels? Most predicted that Maruti's market share will nosedive after the advent of the global biggies. They couldn't have been any more wrong.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-marutisuzuki.jpg

Mercedes
Only 5 years back, Mercedes was known as the old man's brand. Most of its designs were boring or mature or both. That changed with the W222 S-Class, then the sexy CLA-Class, C-Class etc. Gosh, if looks could kill, this is it. Today, Mercedes has an unparalleled air of desirability around itself. Unsurprisingly, the average age of the Benz customer is dropping - they're getting younger & younger! The brand has undergone quite a transformation in this short time. As a result, Mercedes has emerged the no.1 luxury car brand in India, and it's the same in many markets worldwide (including the USA).
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-mercedesbenz.jpg

Toyota
From the time of its Indian debut, Toyota has predominantly been a UV manufacturer in India. Sadly, the situation hasn't changed . A flawed product strategy of bringing in old, cut-cost models like the Liva & Etios shed water on their mass market plans. No evolution here. Can't understand why Toyota is so s-l-o-w in bringing contemporary hatchbacks, sedans & crossover SUVs from its international portfolio to India.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-toyota1.jpg

Hyundai
You could say that Hyundai hasn't put a foot wrong in the last decade. Just like Maruti, it has strengthened its presence in the mass-market categories. Further, the Koreans have broken all sales records in the 15 lakh segment with the Creta. Overall quality has only improved, as have its designs & road-manners. Just wish Hyundai did more on the technological front as they're in the best position to (brand has the ability to charge higher premiums than Maruti) & that they stop skimping on equipment in some cars.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-hyundai1.jpg

Chevrolet
GM won't admit it, but India is a low priority market for them now (fake $1 billion investment notwithstanding). I honestly won't be surprised if GM were to withdraw from India altogether (link to rumour). This is in stark contrast to the late 2000s & early 2010s when Chevrolet India showed much promise. The Cruze was a strong seller (even leading the D1 segment in some months), while the Spark & Beat regularly sold 3,000+ cars a month. But global developments (USA bankruptcy, strength in China, SAIC-partnership), cheap Chinese products and a lazy Indian management led to GM taking its eye off the ball here. In the most recent financial year, there have been months where Chevrolet sold a measly 1,500 - 1,800 cars! You can't run a company with such pitiful volumes.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-chevrolet_edited1.jpg

Mahindra
In the 2000s, Mahindra was selling decades-old UVs with one 'halfway-there' SUV (the Scorpio). Since, its product development capabilities have grown by leaps & bounds. Case in point = the surprisingly well-rounded XUV500. The market has rewarded Mahindra as the company is a frequent visitor to the podium (link to sales report). Other than UVs though, attempts in other segments have failed (2-wheelers, trucks, electric vehicles, brand SsangYong in India, Verito & Vibe etc.)...all were half-hearted attempts. Its UV business is also under tight pressure from more modern rivals, including the monocoque SUVs & MPVs:
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-mahindra1.jpg

Tata
It's been a yo-yo journey for Tata - party time, bad times & now again signs of recovery. They finally seem to be on the right track. We've seen many innovative products from the company (original Indica, Nano, Indigo CS), but the Pune boys lost their way after the mid-2000s. An ageing line-up, shoddy quality, poor sales & marketing, no important cars in the UV space (making things easy for Mahindra), a damaged reputation...all resulted in market-share dropping from double digits to single. Then, the late Karl Slym initiated an era - the fruits of which Tata is enjoying today. The current generation of Tata cars are darn competitive, as we've experienced with the Hexa, Tiago & Tigor. Good quality, appealing designs, well-equipped, sorted road manners, VFM pricing & powerful marketing (thanks to Mayank Pareek - a genius). And there's more to come (Nexon, AMTs, sporty variants, Racemo etc.). Tata is in the midst of a significant evolution. You could say they're getting their mojo back. The concern now is in the area of consistency...something Maruti & Hyundai are masters of.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-tata.jpg

Honda
No evolution - only confusion. About a decade back, Honda was the no.1 in each segment it had a presence in, with the City, Civic, Accord & CR-V. That was also a time when Hondas boasted of flawless quality and had a sort of 'premium' image around them. In its quest for market-share, Honda's management completely shifted focus to the sub-10 lakh segment. It made many compromises...compromises which were evident in the build quality. Honda even exited premium segments by discontinuing the Civic & Accord. Thus, in 8 - 10 years, it went from being a premium manufacturer to a mass market one. How did that turn out? Two sides to the coin. The City, Amaze & Jazz keep the cash registers ringing, but the Brio & Mobilio flopped, the new BR-V is already gasping and the Accord Hybrid didn't sell anything for 3 straight months. More important is the hit to the "H" brand. It no longer stands for impeccable precision & quality. Market-share is undeniably up, so those annual report submissions to Japan will be looking good & congrats to Honda on the sheer volume increase. But there's no long-term thinking here. Earlier, Honda had a sniper's approach; now, it's more like a machine gun - keep firing at will, hoping that something will stick.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-honda1.jpg

Ford
A mixed bag, the last few years have been for the Americans. Ford's product competence is right up there & I consider cars like the EcoSport & Endeavour to be the segment best. The Aspire is also one heck of an all-rounder. On the other hand, the brand's inability to support multiple products has cost it dearly. Since the 90s, Ford has been a one-trick pony - the management has never been able to sell many cars concurrently. Not much has changed, as the EcoSport brings in a majority of Ford's volumes today, despite being the oldest car. The Figo has flopped, while the Aspire's sales performance is strictly average (relative to its competitors; even the Zest outsells it). Although, it's a relief to see my favourite SUV - the Endeavour - managing good sales in the premium segment (even if they are in the triple digits). Ford India has always gotten great products, thanks to their global R&D efforts & thus have it relatively easy. Where the Chennai team needs to put in hard work is in sales, marketing, branding & distribution.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-ford11.jpg

BMW
Once an aggressive tiger, now a lame duck. It's hard to believe that just 5 years back, BMW was the No.1 luxury car brand in India. The aggression from this new entrant was unreal! Disappointingly, BMW is now in the LAST place. An inconsistent + incompetent top management, a weak sales & marketing push and products that lack the 'wow' factor (in comparison to Mercedes) have relegated Bimmer to the back bench. It has no answer to the CLA-Class & A3 either. I doubt that the weird-looking next generation of cars are going to make any difference to the standings.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-bmw1.jpg

VW
Volkswagen started off its Indian innings with such a bang that even the industry biggies were shaken up. Great cars, fair pricing & crazy advertising (don't miss this thread!). Trouble is, a looooooooong SEVEN years down the line, they're still selling the same generation Polo & Vento. VW India is entirely dependent on VW Germany for new products; this is greatly restricting any growth opportunities. VW India simply isn't getting the level of support from global HQ that its competitors get. To its credit, VW somehow manages to sell 4,000 copies of the Polo & its derivatives (Ameo, Vento) each month. The frequent updates, facelifts & new engines / transmissions have shown miraculous results, while the brand still has pull (emissions scam notwithstanding). But it needs new cars with greater frequency in the Rs. 6 - 15 lakh segments. The fact that discontinued models (Jetta, Passat) haven't seen replacements makes the situation worse.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-vw_edited1.jpg

Renault-Nissan
As recently as 6 - 7 years back, Renault & Nissan were marginal players in India only selling direct-import CBUs. So low was their commitment that Nissan had actually outsourced its dealer recruitment to a 3rd party (the Hover rogues)! Since, the group has launched over a dozen locally-built cars in the mass market & the Kwid alone sells a whopping 8,000 - 10,000 / month. Trouble is, nearly all of the other cars became flops. As of date, the Kwid & Redigo (essentially the same car) are the only ones selling, with the Duster bringing in a sprinkling of customers. Will be interesting to see if Renault can do another success story like the Kwid, but Nissan India is a write-off. I think Renault is indeed capable of launching another high-volume product or two, especially since it's now tasted blood.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-renault.jpg

Fiat
Zero evolution. The Italian-Americans are stuck in time! 8 years back, Fiat was selling the Punto & Linea, in addition to supplying that 1.3L MJD engine which saved the company's life (80% of revenues!). Product-wise, Fiat is pretty much in the same place; sales-wise, it's in the doldrums. Maruti is Fiat's biggest customer, not individuals like you & me. As is the case with Chevrolet, I won't be surprised if brand Fiat eventually withdraws from India and the company focuses instead on Jeep, engine supplies etc. The future in India is especially uncertain because no one knows the future of FCA internationally (Sergio is desperate for a merger or takeover). Another challenge to Fiat = Maruti developing its own 4-cylinder diesel.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-fiat1.jpg

Audi
Audi was selling clean, proportionate & timeless designs 5 - 7 years back. They liked it so much that they stuck with the same styling - the layman will be hard-pressed to tell the new A4 from an old one!! That aside, the brand has firmly entrenched itself in the luxury space; the A3, A4, A6 & Q3 make up a bulk of its volumes, while the Q7 sells well for the price. The sales push is very aggressive (discounts too) & volumes have grown with it. Audi was the no.1 luxury car manufacturer in 2013-14 and is in 2nd position now.
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-audi1.jpg

Skoda
Backward evolution - a sorry tale of lost opportunities. 10 years back, Skoda had a lot of brand / aspirational value and its name was one to contend with. Skoda was premium - enough said. The Octavia was a success, as was the Laura. VW bosses were flummoxed that Skoda was placed on a higher pedestal in India (worldwide, it's the other way around). Then, the internet happened. Skoda's after-sales always sucked and its dealers were always rogues; the internet gave owners an opportunity to air their complaints and let the grievances be known (you can buy out car magazines, not the internet). The messy reliability of its cars didn't help matters either & Skoda's reputation collapsed over the years. Sad, because their cars are fantastic...but the ownership experience still isn't. A once promising company is now relegated to the back of the classroom, all due to failures of the management. When Maruti can keep 100,000 new customers / month happy, what excuse does Skoda have to not take care of a paltry 1,500 / month?
How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-skoda1.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 13th April 2017 at 13:05.
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Old 13th April 2017, 11:04   #2
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Found the 2005-2008 sales when I dug into one of the older sales threads. As the table below shows, the market has grown from 1.3 million units in 2006 to almost 3 million units in 2016. Did some math to see how different manufacturers gained or contributed to this almost 3 fold growth.


Yearly sales from 2005 ( could not find the tabulated data for 2009 and 10)

How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-sales200516.jpg

Increase in volume between 2006 and 2016 and how each manufacturer contributed to it.

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  • As the data shows, Maruti has driven 50% of the increase in volume from 2006 to 16. Highly commendable considering the new players that came in and the huge number of models launched in the last 10 years. In line with GTO's analysis on how they have been on the top of their game and quickly reacting to Market dynamics.

  • Hyundai is in distant second place. But as with market share, have managed to contribute 20% to the increase. Together the 2 of them cover 70% of the increase in sales.

  • Mahindra Toyota and Honda have contributed good numbers. As GTO's analysis shows, Mahindra has definitely evolved but maybe not to the extent they would have liked to especially considering the slew of product launches. Honda has the numbers, but again that is more due to the fact that they launched more of the mass market models. Same with Toyota. Unable to evolve beyond the SUV/MUV space.

  • Renault courtesy the Kwid have managed to come in and contribute a major chunk in sales. Only new entrant making a mark that too due to one product.

  • VW's contribution is disappointing. On a downward slide after a big bang launch. Same with Ford. Not able to capitalize on the growth.

  • Tata is the biggest loser, the market has nearly tripled and in spite of that Tata has lost numbers. As GTO's analysis mentioned, the last 10 years have not been good for Tata. Hopefully with the new products we will see a turn around when we do this analysis next time.

  • GM, Skoda and Fiat have all taken a step backward. Especially GM. As the analysis indicates- evolving backwards. Same for Fiat. Skoda is slightly better but had the opportunity to do much much better.

  • The Big Germans have had a good time. Although the numbers are not big, one can see how they have grown and evolved in India from the numbers perspective too.

Overall we can see that brands like Maruti, Hyundai Mahindra and Renault have evolved both from a brand perspective as well as from a numbers perspective. Honda has evolved based on numbers, but has lost some of the USPs associated with it.

Brands like GM, VW, Skoda, Tata, Fiat, Ford and Nissan will rue the fact that they have had to sit and watch the growth from the sidelines without any meaningful contribution. Only Tata has got itself on a path to drop its old baggage and evolve into a new entity.

Note: Some of the numbers may not be exact. Audi numbers are from 2015 and I did not see Force numbers called out.

Last edited by GTO : 14th April 2017 at 10:20. Reason: Copying your awesome post to the 1st page. Thanks for sharing :)
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Old 13th April 2017, 11:36   #3
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

In my humble opinion Skoda's tale in these past 5-6 years is more of a Hindered Evolution more than a Backward Evolution.
Lack of new products in their line up has ceased their reach and capped their audience range to those who want a premium German automobile but can't afford the Big Three(Merc,BMW,Audi).

However they have still managed to keep themselves afloat in the competition by updating their products. What keeps the Skoda running is the premium feel of owning something that's "German" and not "Japanese/Korean".
Superb is leading in it's segment and the new Octavia is selling well thanks to the premium feel, solid build quality and the vfm factor.
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Old 13th April 2017, 11:50   #4
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

Great comparo GTO! I was going through the article and struck why automotive industries have changed or had the need to transform over a period of time?

The basic thing is the evolution of the middle class which is the masses of India have grown exponentially financially along-with technology coming in with ease of Internet and generation of smartphones from the basic Nokia 3310 to Iphones / S8s and not to forget literacy and exposure to global world due to opportunities to gain technical knowledge.

The generation has changed. The kids a decade back have evolved and have a different thinking w.r.t the earlier ones. The basic requirements all together have changed. People now are looking at cars more than a necessity now which was not the case earlier.

"It should look the best, should have all the bells and whistles, and should outperform in the segment i buy". If this is the requirement, automotive industries have been pushed to their limits to work closely and survey the market and have feedback from the masses to understand what they want and work towards that goal.

E.g. Hyundai Verna i recall was a big flop before the Fluidic was launched and post the fluidic design; it was the best thing available (Subjective to individual).

This change and the need to change has come from the masses which have asked for the automotive industry to change and raise the bar to such level where they might have not even imagined so swiftly to happen.

The competition is so tough and competitive; Maruti have tapped the opportunity big time and are enjoying the best days of their life in India with the market share.

Honda for instance was a brand looked at differently by the common man where now Honda has been pulled into the segments where a common man overlooks its products for not meeting his requirements.

The transformations and innovations have not only been observed in Automotive industry but others as well e.g. Electronics, E-Commerce, FMCG etc

It is a positive thing that industries are transforming because of the masses and a good thing that people are becoming aware of the products technically they buy to negotiate further.

Cheers,
Amey
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Old 13th April 2017, 11:56   #5
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Tata
It's been a yo-yo journey for Tata - party time, bad times & now again signs of recovery. They finally seem to be on the right track. We've seen many innovative products from the company (original Indica, Nano, Indigo CS), but the Pune boys lost their way after the mid-2000s. An ageing line-up, shoddy quality, poor sales & marketing, no important cars in the UV space (making things easy for Mahindra), a damaged reputation...all resulted in market-share dropping from double digits to single. Then, the late Karl Slym initiated an era - the fruits of which Tata is enjoying today. The current generation of Tata cars are darn competitive, as we've experienced with the Hexa, Tiago & Tigor. Good quality, appealing designs, well-equipped, sorted road manners, VFM pricing & powerful marketing (thanks to Mayank Pareek - a genius). And there's more to come (Nexon, AMTs, sporty variants, Racemo etc.). Tata is in the midst of a significant evolution. You could say they're getting their mojo back. The concern now is in the area of consistency...something Maruti & Hyundai are masters of.
GTO, this work done by you is worth a million dollars. If the folks at these companies sit up and take cognizance of each word mentioned by you, there sales will zoom.

Coming to the Pune Boys, they have seen it all. From being branded Yellow Board car makers to the more premium Tiago, Hexa and now Tigor, the company is absolutely on the right path to increasing their sales and brand visibility.

A friend of mine who works for TATA Motors is all gung-ho about the current line of cars and is expecting further surge in sales numbers once Hexa is on the roads. And yes, TATA have definitely got their mojo back!

Last edited by GTO : 14th April 2017 at 10:10. Reason: Small typo :)
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Old 13th April 2017, 12:08   #6
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

Excellent thread giving a good perspective of then and now in the past 10 year period.
I'm also terribly disappointed at Toyota's and Honda's performance in our market.
They have great cars in their line up but somehow they seem to develop cold feet when it comes to India.
IMO it should have been the Japanese trio at one, two and three today.
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Old 13th April 2017, 12:57   #7
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Excellent thread.
The comparison pictures of THEN and NOW simply exposes Honda.
They might be doing much better if the THEN and NOW we're interchanged( except for the latest Honda City).
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Old 13th April 2017, 13:04   #8
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Excellent thread giving a good perspective of then and now in the past 10 year period.
I'm also terribly disappointed at Toyota's and Honda's performance in our market.
They have great cars in their line up but somehow they seem to develop cold feet when it comes to India.
IMO it should have been the Japanese trio at one, two and three today.
Toyota i can still understand. If people are lining up to buy their 2 models as if they sell for free, why should they be in a particular hurry to get the latest out here? For example is Royal Enfield in any hurry to produce a modern bike? Especially when their ww2 vintage sells nicely.
Honda's strategy on the other hand is puzzling. No sense of direction for their future path. Selling the same c segment sedan and a sprinkling of the compact and entry level muv seems to be their current goal. Also I wonder why do they even keep that CRV in their portfolio? The last time it sold in any numbers was in era 2007!!
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Old 13th April 2017, 13:16   #9
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Its disappointing to see the lack of evolution of Honda, Toyota and VW/Skoda.
As said, Honda's cars were segment leaders then, but they failed to keep up and took customers for granted.
Toyota could have learnt from their own Innova's success that a good product will be lapped up by the people even if it is pricey as long people see value in it. People expect Toyota quality (corolla, innova) even in Toyota products.
VW/Skoda, Good products let down by poor sales and service and initially poor choice of weak engines in Polo, Fabia. Also lack of adequate differentiation between VW and Skoda and they seem to be competing for the same set of buyers. I wish VW positions itself by providing cars which are 90% Audi at 50% price! :-)
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Old 13th April 2017, 13:17   #10
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
On the auto industry's clock, 5 - 10 years is frankly not a long time. Heck, it takes 5 years on an average to develop a single new car from the ground up. Still, it's fascinating to see how some car manufacturers have evolved in this time span. Just as well, since the Indian car market has also grown in size & maturity over the last 10 years.
Maruti
If there is one thing that's striking about Maruti, it's the onslaught of launches across the year. One after the another, Maruti seems to be launching successful cars. Now, under 15 lakhs, they have cars for various kinds of buyers like Well Built S-Cross, All rounded Baleno, Quirky Ignis, Elegant Ciaz, Family Car Dzire, Tall & Practical WagonR, Compact SUV Brezza, etc.

They just don't know how to put a wrong step. Kudos to Maruti for being most sort after brand in India. Their customer care aspect is just invaluable.

I see them becoming the king under 20 lakhs segment in future.

Mercedes

Easily the Most Recognized & Well Respected Luxury Brand in India. Their First Move before Audi & BMW has helped them immensely in achieving this feat. Their cars just spell out Luxury. With well styled C Class to Epitome of Luxury 'MayBach', they have it all. If there's one criticism, it's the A Class based cars that haven't been as successful as others. The CLA isn't practical, GLA doesn't look like Crossover, B Class isn't great looking (MPV Shape), and A Class being cramped. But other cars are very competitive & are bringing good numbers for Mercedes.

Toyota
Surviving just on 2 products (Fortuner & Innova) & some extent Corolla. Toyota has to blame themselves here. They have as many as 10 cars in their lineup & 8 of them haven't set sales chart on fire. Yes, the Camry is doing well (110 units/month) but those numbers are from Metro's only. In other cities, it remains a dud. Going forward, Toyota needs to make sure any car they develop needs to be/feel like a Global Toyota. Only then they will start to see the numbers.

Hyundai
Brilliantly designed cars, very well equipped & good priced. These are the things that come to my mind when I see/hear Hyundai. All their cars are competent & are doing well (Except Santa Fe). They do lack some things. Some of their cars aren't spacious (Compared to competition) and their Driving Dynamics are no where pleasing. Those are the areas where Hyundai needs to concentrate & rectify in their future lineup.

Going forward, The New Verna will be coming hard again just like it did in 2011 & the New Ioniq Hybrid will give Hyundai presence in the Green Car Segment. Also with no serious rivals present, Hyundai can surely taste success if they price it well.

Chevrolet
Rather then being in India, just depart from here & concentrate on other markets where you are good at (US/Europe). Surely from once having great products (Optra/Astra/Corsa/Vectra/Cruze) to ordinary Chinese Derivatives (Sail Twins/Enjoy), Chevrolet has to be given Award for downgrading their strategy for Indian Market when everyone was changing for good. With no exciting products, next 5 years will be difficult for GM India. I see no future for them, feel bad for Dealers.

Mahindra
They have been successful in UV Segment right from start. It's that thing they need to think going forward. The Verito Twins were hardly selling. But their bread & butter models (Bolero/Scorpio/XUV 5OO) are doing good even though they haven't changed much since launch. If there's one car that didn't do good, it's the Xylo. Mahindra has realized that & it's replacement will be a MPV like Innova. But with Innova upping the competition, it will be hard to defeat the king. So, Mahindra needs to do something special here to attract buyers.

Going forward, they will be launching new cars based on XUV(Premium), TUV(Utility), KUV (Budget) Platforms. Definitely a good future for Mahindra considering our SUV Crazy Market.

Tata
Tata has witnessed change in their thinking. They have started to develop attractive products. The Tiago showed how Good Car can bring good numbers & change in attitude of people towards Tata Cars. The Tigor has just launched & is making people go wow due to it's Styling & packaging. Nexon will up the game by offering distinctive Styling & Class Leading Interiors. Like these 3 cars, Tata needs to have a car in each segment they want to be. A Premium SUV (5 & 7 Seater), a Premium Sedan (City Rival) & a Premium Hatch (i20/ Baleno Rival) is what Tata needs at the moment. These Segments are where both numbers & Profits lie.

Next few years will be very interesting for Tata.


Honda
Don't know how on earth they started to cut costs when they weren't known to do that. From Premium CR-V to Exceptional Jazz, Honda had 5 brilliant cars in their lineup. In 2011, Honda added Brio to their lineup. It did well, especially for someone looking for city runabout, but the Amaze/Mobilio destroyed their image. They tried to correct Mobilio's shortcomings with BR-V, but Indian's were sharp enough to decline the changes.

Apart from City, the other cars are managing average numbers. (Jazz 3k compared to i20 & Baleno doing >10k). They need to up their thinking & launch cars accordingly. Going forward, Honda needs to develop just new Brio & Amaze. They should forget Mobilio, BR-V will do well if price is reduced. Jazz can do well if more equipment is offered to match high price. WR-V with 1.5 Petrol will definitely be default choice in its segment.

In quest to up its image & desirability factor, Honda needs to bring in their successful Civic & HR-V sooner. So that, both premium & volume brands are covered.

A slight change in their attitude can do wonders for them IMO.

Ford
This brand knows how to make Driver Centric Affordable cars. Having owned 2 cars before (Figo & Ikon), surely their cars were very good in terms of driving experience. They have various cars in global lineup, but they don't seem to be thinking of bringing them. The Focus can give tough fight for Corolla & Elantra, the Mondeo Hybrid will be a threat for Camry Hybrid. Kuga & Edge will attract buyers looking for 5 Seater Medium Sized SUVs.

Only top Management of Ford India can tell us why they are relying on just Figo & Aspire, Ecosport for volumes.


BMW
Just like Mercedes Benz, BMW has been known for making one of the finest Driver Centric cars. Their cars make even a non enthusiast to smile. But once a segment leader, now they are last. The Products have remained the same, but the other part (Customer Relationship) has dipped quite a lot. Add to that, last few MD's weren't that energetic to promote their cars.

Also, some of their cars have lost that oomph factor a bit, like the Boring 1 Series, slightly controversial design of 7 Series. Next 5 years will be interesting as we will see new 3/5/X3/X5 & even X4/X2 if BMW India launches them.

VW
Despite being No.1 brand in world & having numerous models across various price range, Volkswagen India is just too much dependent on Polo & Vento. Can't believe that these 7 year old cars are still having same metal & shape. In fact, low sales could be because of their age. New one will do well if launched quickly. I read that VW will be launching New Polo/Vento in 2018 based on modified existing platform. That apart, I hope VW India designs them as well as some of their international models.

They are going Premium way, their new launch for this year will be Passat & Tiguan. But, it's sad that their most well sorted car Jetta has been laid to rest. There won't be car of that kind. Volkswagen should also think of Golf. We know how successful it is Globally in all avatars (Gasoline/Hybrid/Electric/R-Sport/GTI/Plug In hybrid).


Renault-Nissan
Another company which has various products but they are hardly selling. More then Renault, Nissan is in trouble here. With dated Micra, Expensive Terrano, Not so attractive Sunny, Nissan are having hard time selling their cars. The Datsun brand isn't doing what it was meant for.

Tough times for Nissan.

While Renault will be happy that Kwid is doing them great. It's slightly different looks & choice of multiple engines & Gearbox has helped them. Renault needs to bring in Premium products it has Globally. The Megane Sedan & Talisman will give them the presence in Premium Sedan Segment. The New Koleos will be an interesting SUV especially as a Soft Roader.

Fiat
One brand which needs to go to Coaching Classes to correct their mistakes. Frankly speaking, Fiat hasn't appealed to Common Man since it's arrival. They make great cars, but in other aspects they are much behind. Now, they seem to be relying on Jeep Compass & Renegade. Those will be their volume & profit making products going forward.

With Compass launching in June/July, let's wait & watch the fortunes of FCA.

Audi
Not as Luxurious as Mercedes Benz nor as Thrilling to drive as BMW, Audi have found a nice space in-between to secure the place for offering Nice Design & High Quality Cabins. They need to continue what they are good at. The A3 wasn't successful but apart from that, all other cars are very good in their Respective Segments.

Skoda
Good products, Poor After sales are best words to describe Skoda. They are changing, but the lost respect will be hard to comeback. Despite having limited products globally, they are doing well. New Rapid will help them immensely going forward.

They just need to improve their service aspect & that will give them the numbers.

Last edited by Rehaan : 14th April 2017 at 17:01. Reason: "Their" spelled wrong 24 times! Simple way to remember how to spell it correctly, start by writing "THE" then add the "IR" ;)
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Old 13th April 2017, 13:27   #11
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

Not only in terms of exterior and interior design, but the evolution of leading car makers in offering class-leading features across their models is also phenomenal. The desirability factor in mass-market cars has gone up several notches due to this factor alone. 5-6 years back, stuff such as DRLs, touchscreen Head Units, automatic climate control, sunroofs, projector headlamps, etc., were restricted either to high-end luxury cars, or to a select few such as Hyundais (i20 onwards).

Maruti-Suzuki was always playing catch-up with Hyundai back then, but today most of Maruti's cars are well-loaded in features - some models offering more than equivalent Hyundais, even!

Today, even the 3-lakh rupee Kwid comes with a touchscreen ICE, reverse sensors + reversing camera has become a standard norm in most 6-lakh rupee cars, DRLs are also a big part of most mass-market offerings, and projectors & ACC are standard equipment in most cars starting from 8 lakh rupees onwards.

It's all about changing with the times. The one who recognises the winds of change, incorporates them into it's company's DNA, and thus meets the expectations and demands of the ever-evolving customer, gets the most sales and makes the most profits.

A big shutout to Maruti-Suzuki specially, who has gone from strength to strength in spite of the ever-increasing competition, and today 1 out of every 2 cars sold in India is a Maruti-Suzuki. A fact, which both critics and detractors alike, cannot deny.

Last edited by RavenAvi : 13th April 2017 at 13:29.
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Old 13th April 2017, 13:40   #12
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

Somehow I liked Ford's then and now the most.
I want to own each of their cars.
Would really like a garage comprising Aspire, Ecosport, Endeavour and Mustang. All my automotive needs would be covered.

In the same vein, I would add, I hate Honda's transition. Thumbs down to them.

No matter how big a fan I am of Etios, I think a product portfolio comprising: Corolla, Innova, Fortuner and Camry looks winning. Etios is the odd one out.

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Old 13th April 2017, 14:01   #13
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

The very fact that "Maruti can sell anything with their badge pasted" tells us how well run the company is. They understand the psyche of Indian customers at the back of their hand. Flawless sales, distribution and service departments are now very ably supported by product development team. I am very sure they will be successful in breaking through to the premium segment soon. And they have been the trend setter in product placement. Never shying from launching overlapping products at overlapping price points and overlapping segments.

Toyota is greedy in India, not their fault though. They are dealing with customers who are willing to pour in money on just 2 cars (both very profitable). They have the muscle, products, brand image and everything else to challenge Maruti in India - but that would require a lot of hard work. Right now, they don't feel the need for that.

Honda is a victim of their own design . They sold so much of their Brand imagery (rather than the products) surrounded around quality (same as Tata - they did it around affordability though) that the image grew above the actual product quality. people started expecting moon from them. And they commited the cardinal sin of going backwards on that front too, launching lwo quality mass market products and trying to sell them on the Halo of the H

Skoda make stunning cars, clean, opulent and good performers. But that is Skoda global to be thanked. The Indian management has done nothing to please the customers. Till date, it remains - Skoda cars are among the best to drive, but not to be bought.

I have a soft corner for Tata and everything they sell. I really want them to be among the top 3 car sellers in India (to be honest, globally too). As I said earlier, they are the victims of their own "affordability" image. Toyota can sell Hexa at 25 lakhs easily, but people do not consider tata badged hexa at 18 lakhs. People actually look for a rattling sound, any uneven panel gaps, any loose nut or any shoddily placed part in tata cars, which they believe has to be there if it is a Tata car.

Hyundai is the show-stopper. They know how to make a car worth much more than it actually is. They have played a significant role in modernizing the Indian car industry.They pretty much forced other players to bring in their best products to India. A well deserved no 2 player.
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Old 13th April 2017, 14:04   #14
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

It would be interesting to see how brands have evolved over time, in conjunction with their sales performance and market share -

How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-1.-manufacturer-charts.jpg

and also the manufacturers' brand perception. There seems to be some link between how brands have evolved (for the good) and this infographic by JD Power -

How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't-j.d.powerbrandinfluencestudy.jpg

Maruti & Hyundai: No debate here. Brands have evolved for the better, and it shows up in annual sales performance, market share and brand perception.

Toyota & Honda: Considering that its first product was Qualis, I don't think Etios/Liva was a mistake. While they have attempted to address the sub-10 Lac market, they have not ignored the customers who have a fatter bank balance.

I think Brio platform was a good idea (from brand evolution and sales point of view), because Honda's core USP of reliability was not compromised. Build quality and NVH characteristics took a hit, yes, but this is not high priority for customers in this price bracket. Not bringing in a Civic replacement or consider localization /diesel variant of CRV was a huge mistake though. Honda CRV has been in the market since year 2002! This drove "mainstream premium" customers towards VW/Skoda and Toyota

Tata & Mahindra: Top marks for Mahindra in the last decade. They not only made XUV500 on a monocoque chassis, but is now attempting to crack the hatchback segment.

Tata "evolved" big time between 1997 and 2007. Now the evolution has slowed down a bit . They tried to evolve into a manufacturer of premium cars (Eg: Aria), but that backfired big time. Tata has been a manufacturer on the move (Rs.3 Lacs Nano to Rs. 20 Lakhs Hexa), but success has eluded them.

VW & Skoda: No change in strategy in the past 5 or 10 years. VW Ameo was a surprise (because it means VW Group spent some R&D Euros on an India specific model)

Ford & Chevrolet: I don't think Ford has evolved much (bringing in products from Asia & Europe) but Chevrolet has. GM India has brought in products in Japan (Forrester), Europe (Opel), Korea (Daewoo) and China (SAIC). GM India's evolution is like that of Homo Sapiens evolving into a Chimp!

Renault/Datsun/Nissan: As group, they first tried to tap into the premium segment (Teana, X-trail). Stepped down the ladder and tasted some success with Duster/Terrano. Finally, they found sweet success with Kwid/Redigo at much lower price point. Like GM India, they have stepped down the ladder though.

Last edited by smartcat : 13th April 2017 at 14:15.
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Old 13th April 2017, 15:14   #15
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Default Re: How some car manufacturers have evolved in just 5 - 10 years...and some haven't

Great thread GTO!

Apart from the evolution of exterior designs, a lot of evolution has also gone into what is inside the hood, beneath the sheet metal and the general consumer trend.

1) Introduction of Turbochargers.

I believe it was the Hyundai accent that brought in the CRDi technology to the mainstream in India. Nowadays we are also now seeing a lot of Turbos being added to mainstream petrol vehicles. It was the Ecoboost from Ford that made us take notice of how a Turbo can work wonders on a puny engine. Some say its cross-section is no bigger than an A4 paper.

It is in the same respect that only some brands have introduced Turbos in their Petrol offerings while some, like Hyundai are yet to introduce their GDi line of engines here even though they had early mover advantage in Diesels.

2) Advances in Structures

Manufacturers are also coming up with advances in the type of structures used in their vehicles to make them light yet rigid. Hondas ACE structure is a good example. It is surprising to note that a premium hatchback like the Baleno weighs less than 900KGs. Whether its a good or bad thing is altogether another matter.

3) Evolution of Segments

10 years ago, the hierarchy of Indian automobiles was pretty simple. We had a hatch, then a sedan then a full sized sedan and then luxury sedans and some UVs thrown in between. Nowadays, the plethora of segments that are available are mind-blowing. We have a hatch, a premium hatch, a CS based on a hatch, another CS based on a premium hatch, sedans based on hatch, UVs based on hatch, UVs based on sedans. The list is as endless as it is confusing.

4) Penetration

Nowadays we have car companies opening up dealers in lots of Tier 2 cities and even towns all over India. Thus it is now easy to spot almost all cars at almost all the places. 10 years ago, there was a rare chance of seeing anything other than Mahindra, Maruti or Hyundai in small towns and villages.

5) Consumer Maturity

From what we saw 10 years ago, the consumer has matured at a faster rate than most of the automobile companies. We now have wonderful resources like our own Team-BHP where people can come in and get all the required knowledge, right from purchasing a car to doing complex DIYs on their machines. We have come a long way to being a consumer who actually demands much more from their car companies.

6) Product Launches much closer to Global unveils

This is another aspect of our Indian automobile industry that makes me really proud. We were once playing field for manufacturers to bring in decades old designs and technologies since we were low on pt.5 above. Nowadays, the timeframe between a global launch and Indian launch are miniscule. In some cases, we have exclusive India launches, before launches around the globe.

Last edited by racer_ash : 13th April 2017 at 15:19. Reason: added additional point
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