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View Poll Results: When shopping for a new car, which variant do you buy?
The base variant (Eg: LXi) 5 1.09%
The mid variant (Eg: VXi) 124 27.07%
The top variant (Eg: ZXi) 296 64.63%
Don't Know/ Can't Say 33 7.21%
Voters: 458. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 1st May 2017, 09:11   #16
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Even though I picked the top variant in each of our last three buys - Swift ZDi, Astar ZXi, and Fiesta Titanium namely - I opted for the fourth option in this poll.

The main driver for picking the highest variant has always been the availability of the safety kits. But that's changing for good now. For example - a base model Jetta or Ignis is not bad from a safety point of view nowadays. So, I can opt for the base or mid variant of a car from a higher segment without compromising safety. And that's a good thing.

PS: I was trying to quiz myself to pick the most popular variant for each of the car listed and it was amusing to note that I got most of it correct. The % for WagonR VXi, XUV W8 and E class was interesting, I guess there is difference in the choice of variants across the states too.
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Old 1st May 2017, 09:48   #17
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Interesting illustrations. I'm sure manufacturers carry out a lot of analysis when they decide the features vis a vis variants, and more significantly, the supply chain aspect in manufacturing variants.

Coming to this thread: I think I'll vote for "Can't say". Here's why:

- I have an EcoSport and during the purchase, I was sure I wanted an AT. Now, with the EcoSport, the AT comes in only one trim, which is sort of the highest trim

- But with a lot of other manufacturers, the AT trim is often the second highest (to keep costs down, or not cannibalize the top trim)

So, my purchase decision was based on the variant which had AT

This is one aspect. The other is:

- If say AT is available in all trims, I'd rather chose the second highest trim. Because, almost always, the top trim has features that I may not need for the incremental cost. In other words, I'd rather save some cost than get those features by paying much more

All this becomes even more complicated when AT is offered only on one fuel variant: eg. petrol EcoSport, diesel in Jetta and so on.

I think what variant you chose eventually becomes a function of what takes most priority amongst:

a) Fuel
b) Features: safety
c) Gearbox
d) Features: convenience

Last edited by libranof1987 : 1st May 2017 at 09:52.
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Old 1st May 2017, 10:03   #18
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Awesome thread!! I thought about the following when I was going through it.

Entry level car buyers just want a reliable car with power steering and AC that makes the ride easier. They don't particularly look for creature comforts.

Premium hatch buyers who buy the i20 or swift and similar cars buy mostly top end versions to get more premium and luxury out of their "mid-level" cars.

In some car model the top most variant may just be a rip off and the top but one variant would make a lot more sense.
The other end of the spectrum, the Audi, BMW and Mercedes buyers. Most of their entry level cars are loaded with features that will be more than sufficient for the common man. The A3 will have the same number of usable features as that of an A6. But the latter is bigger, more powerful and a lot more prestigious.

Also I think there are two types of buyers out there. Those who don't care about the class of the car but it should be fully loaded. ie. They can get a fully loaded Elite i20 at the price of a basic model Vento. The other set of buyers are the ones who want more car for the money. I honestly bought a basic model Amaze EMT because it had more space as opposed to say a mid/top variant Grand i10. And it had basic features and certain things that can be fitted after market.

And it is also interesting to see that there are certain trends with certain models/companies. Almost all variants of the Toyota fortuner have good sales. The reason for buying a certain variant is completely down to the utility. Many Maruti models sell predominantly their mid variants. I think this is mainly down to their price advantage and their addition of airbag equipped VXi+ variants.
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Old 1st May 2017, 10:03   #19
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

I went with the middle variant in this poll because that is the one i usually end up buying.

My Cruze was top manual variant (LTZ)
Creta is middle 1.6 Diesel Manual variant (SX)
Although it is in line with these statistics as the most popular variant but according to my observation in NCR
The Petrol and 1.4 diesel variants are popular choice in West Delhi
While the 1.6 Diesel manual usually SX+ and SX (o) are more popular in central and south Delhi
In Gurgaon however , it is the Automatic that wins hands down and about 80% cars are auto here.
My particular variant is in minority atleast in NCR.

My Honda City is middle variant too SV Diesel.

My thinking with buying the middle variant is it usually strikes a nice balance between features and price.
I'am very uncomfortable in buying a car which comes near the territory of a car from next segment or overlaps it completely.
To be more clear , i will almost always choose a decently equipped Honda Civic over a fully loaded Honda City if they are priced closely.

Going a little i'am of the opinion that the less variants the better , atleast when it comes to decision making or peace of mind (in the sense that you might come to regret not buying some other car) , there are so many variants which overlap so many other cars from different segments and with the entire space being so crowded it is definitely good for us as the customers but such a pain to reach a decision.
As an example which will explain my point better , i'am in the market to buy a small hatchback as a first car for my younger sister and the small hatchback space is so crowded that i have to choose from Hyundai Grand i10 , Ignis , Tiago (D) but cars from upper segment which are overlapping this are Elite i20 (P) , Baleno , Ford Figo , VW Polo (one might even add the soon to be launched Swift Dzire which will be priced in the same ballpark ,although i had once gone in a temple and while ringing the bells made an oath to never buy a compact sedan ever in my life but dad does'nt hate the new gen completely ) and even test driving them did'nt help clear the confusion much because none of them really disappointed me and totally matched and mostly exceeded my expectations.
They are all so competent and make perfect sense and a very strong case for themselves.

Last edited by Rocketscience : 1st May 2017 at 10:13.
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Old 1st May 2017, 11:11   #20
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

When I buy a car, there are many factors that decide the variant:

When I bought the 1st gen i20, it was purchased with the purpose of a self driven daily urban commuter and the occasional trips on highways and mountains. So, it had to be a diesel and the feature list of the Asta variant was too good. However, due to on the spot unavailability, I could not get my hands on the Asta (O) variant, which offered AVN (Touchscreen ICE) leather upholstery and side airbags over and above the features offered in the Asta trim. The Sportz variant, although seemed like a good value proposition, since it offered a lot of the features from Asta, but skipped on ABS in the 1st Gen car. Hence, it was not considered.

When it was time to buy a car for my Mom and Sister, which was essentially going to be a chauffeur driven urban commuter at least 80% of the time, I zeroed in on the mid variant of Dzire, that is VXi. Since features like keyless entry and go, Automatic Climate Control, alloy wheels and steering mounted controls on the ZXi were costing upwards of 1.25 lakhs more than the VXi, it did not seem like a good idea.

When I was looking for a pre-owned Innova, which was to be a beater car for company use (Chauffeur driven 100%, as an urban commuter for myself and clients occasionally, and for those airport runs) it was decided to search for a G variant, which offered the best value and feature set for our requirements. However, top variants do not command much more premium over mid variants in the used car market and we could have bought a V variant also if we chanced upon the perfect car. But there was still some difference and the G variant was the most widely available in the pre owned space. Hence, a G it was.

More recently, when I booked the new Endeavour, it had to be a top of the line 3.2 Titanium variant. Since it was going to be 100% self driven, with a lot of highway driving and off roading, I could not miss out on any of the features that are offered in this mighty car.
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Old 1st May 2017, 11:27   #21
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Fantastic Thread, Smartcat !!

My 2 cents on which variant to pick depends on these things -

1) Price Diff between the Lowest and Mid Variant.
2) Feature Diff between the above stated.

Usually in today's market, the lowest variants carry all the safety features (might not have ABS, EBD et all) so why not pick it up, the engine is the same !

I would never pick the top variants as the depreciating hit is maximum on these.
More if you go for brands which have poor resale value.
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Old 1st May 2017, 11:35   #22
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Commendable effort. Especially calculating the impact of such an exercise on your relationship. Lol!

Like you mention, there are problems with this approach, another one being, same car might be listed more than once. But that said, numbers may not be accurate but the trends that you have outlined will probably hold true most certainly. This is easy to corroborate on the roads.

Never anticipated the Duster AWD would be this popular. It is quite a rare variant to spot on the road. Outside of TBHP, I have spotted just 1 on the road.
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Old 1st May 2017, 12:01   #23
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

I typically prefer Topend -1 variant.

Reason being, the difference between "most" top end versions and Topend -1 versions are usually leather seats and other cosmetic changes. I personally dont think our harsh summers are made for leather seats, more so with the ban on Sun films. Also, another important consideration - Safety features is the same between Topend and Topend - 1 versions.
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Old 1st May 2017, 12:16   #24
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

All our buys till date have been the top end variant. Though I have been the final decision maker only recently, neither does my dad think otherwise. When he brought his SX4, he didnt look once at the VXi variant. There are many reasons for this:
  • Earlier, safety features were only available with the top of the line variants in Maruti. The situation now has changed with most manufacturers.
  • When you compare cost difference and feature addition, the top end variant somehow makes a lot of sense. You get more features which you might feel isn't needed but once you start using them, you wont regret paying the extra bucks.
  • Sometime earlier, stuff like audio system, remote keyless systems were all a luxury and these were not available in the mid variants too. Though aftermarket options are present, we hate our cars being ripped panel by panel at an accessory shop or even the dealership. Factory fit is Factory fit and so is the quality.

With my Celerio, the VXi was not having even the basic stuff except power windows. Hence I didnt want that though there was a safety option.

Next, a car is always showcased as a package with a lot of attractions which is not present in the lower variants. Hence, I always prefer to buy a fully loaded smaller car than the base version of a bigger car. It's like buying just the body of the car and the engine.

However with cars getting more and more loaded, I was also considering the Figo titanium as a daily beater compared to the titanium + option. It had all I wanted and the extras on the + weren't really necessary for my scenario.
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Old 1st May 2017, 12:24   #25
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

For me engine and looks of the car are primary driver for purchase. So when I made my last purchase, I took time in deciding Diesel EcoSport among the list of following

- Brezza
- Duster
- S-cross (1.3) - there were no discounts on 1.6 and was thus out of my budget
- EcoSport

Dropped Brezza & S-Cross (Same engine as my Punto, nothing wrong but wanted something different)
Duster (few acquaintances complained of rusting near lower steering arm, black smoke on hard acceleration etc)
EcoSport (increased power to 100 bhp, the interiors were good to look at)

So finally EcoSport; Why top trim, its simple because I did the test drive on top trim, it had all the bells and whistles (6 air bags, Sync, DRL etc.) and when I stop next to another EcoSport on the road, I know that I am at par or better compared to the car next to me and that gives a sense of joy and satisfaction on the purchase decision that the car is still relevant !

Not anymore though because now I see 7 inch color screens !

But my decision will never change, top trim it has to be !

Last edited by i74js : 1st May 2017 at 12:31.
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Old 1st May 2017, 12:26   #26
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Interesting thread. I usually prefer the base variant of the "next" segment rather than the top variant of the "current". For example if i am in the market for a top end city i would rather buy base or next to base variant of an Elantra. My logic is simple. I care much more about core mechanicals rather than "features." Car of the higher segment likely to have better engines, structural integrity, brakes etc. Moreover base variants of cars C+ segment on-wards are pretty well kitted and have the basics covered.
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Old 1st May 2017, 13:19   #27
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Voted for the mid variant although it varies from one car to the other. I still think our Jetta comfortline manual is a better proposition over the corresponding highline variant barring the convenience of that superb DSG gearbox ofcourse. Same goes with the Vento and Polo as well.

-Manufacturers these days are looking to increase top end variant sales by offering the AMT only on top end variants. Volkswagen's Jetta is an example. However, I think manufacturers should offer ATs atleast on the mid and top end variants and give customers a choice. Mahindra and Honda ars doing a good job when it comes to this.

-Tata is a bit lazy here. The Hexa is a classic case in point. I have seen so many customers wanting to go for the automatic, but neglecting it due to lack of ESP and choosing the XUV 500 too. Tata needs to act fast and atleast offer ESP and traction control if not a 4x4 AMT. That will make the hexa a much stronger contender.

-The Japanese have succeeded to a point when it comes to variant and AT combos. Both the Innova and Altis offer AT on the mid variants which is good VFM. Same with the Honda city too although the Jazz should seriously have a top end automatic.

-Hyundai is always confused on what to do. Not only when it comes to AT distribution across variants but also equipment levels across variants. No auto locking in the Creta!!! The Creta also doesn't have a top end auto. Missed opportunity I say.

- Maruti is doing well but the Ignis IMHO deserves a top end auto although the atrocious pricing will keep customers at bay.

All in all I think India has come a long way when it comes to this. Considering that the cheapest AT in India only 7-8 years back was the Verna VGT at 10.75 lakhs we have indeed come a long way

Regards and thanks for the thread sir,
Vishy

Last edited by vishy76 : 1st May 2017 at 13:22.
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Old 1st May 2017, 13:58   #28
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deetjohn View Post
PS: I was trying to quiz myself to pick the most popular variant for each of the car listed and it was amusing to note that I got most of it correct. The % for WagonR VXi, XUV W8 and E class was interesting, I guess there is difference in the choice of variants across the states too.
That means like me, you too check the variant badge of other cars while waiting at traffic lights.

What do you think is the top selling variant of (important) cars I have left out?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
Like you mention, there are problems with this approach, another one being, same car might be listed more than once.
One more issue - cars that are used as taxi cabs (usually base/mid variants) are likely to enter classifieds earlier than privately owned vehicles, thereby influencing the variant percentages. That's because they clock 150,000 kms in 2 years and the cab owner might want to get rid of it because of maintenance issues. Also cab owners might sell their vehicles earlier because of business issues.

Quote:
Never anticipated the Duster AWD would be this popular. It is quite a rare variant to spot on the road. Outside of TBHP, I have spotted just 1 on the road.
Remember that what you see on the road is based on cumulative sales of Duster since launch. Duster FWD was launched in 2012 (3,000 to 4,000 units/month sales). AWD was launched in 2014 and AMT in 2016. Nowadays Duster is clocking around 1,500 units month. I have attempted to capture the current sales trends.

Last edited by smartcat : 1st May 2017 at 14:12.
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Old 1st May 2017, 15:01   #29
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

I was thinking of starting this exact same poll myself, but wasn't sure if it already had been done. I was always curious about the topic myself - so thanks for this!

I voted for ZXi, since I always go by the rule of buying the high even version, even if it means going down a segment. I usually prefer keeping my car stock and don't add too many aftermarket instalments as I don't have the patience and inclination and I feel it doesn't add much to the resale value. This is why I do a LOT of research about what I want in a car before making the purchase.
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Old 1st May 2017, 18:29   #30
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHANKY11 View Post
However, top variants do not command much more premium over mid variants in the used car market.
Very true. The difference between the top & mid variant is substantially less in the used car market. In short if it's a used car the most VFM would be the top variants.
Eg: Hyundai Verna 1.6 SX(O) that used to cost upwards of 12-13L four years ago, now gets sold for nearly half the price. In addition, one gets a whole lot of gizmo and safety features. The difference between the base Verna and top-end would not be more than 60-70k in the used car market, while the difference is significant & seeps into the next segment for the new cars.
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