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Old 13th December 2007, 16:55   #1
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I have always wondered why the following types of cars never seem to work in this country:
1) The 2 door car - The Maruti Zen 2 door was a superb car; small, stylish and very up market, but it caught the fancy of a very few buyers. End result - Failure

2) The Convertibles - Only the San Storm has tried to venture into this arena albeit with disastrous results. Result - Very slim success.

3) The Estates - Another arena where many have come and gone. Premier Padmini (as far as I remember) were the 1st to venture, them was the Tata Estate. Later the Baleno Altura, Octavia Combi, Indigo Marina. However all of them never did too well & went out of production sooner than one could have imagined.

4) 'Classic Models' - Here too the trend started with Zen Classic (although I have a faint memory of a Dukkar Fiat with a 'Classic Badge' on it), which had a very hideous shape, and was thus destined to fail. The Ambassador classic too tried out its luck, but met with the same fate as the Zen Classic. Guess after that, none of the manufacturers have dared to venture into this.
Guys - I would be really glad if some one has answers to why these types of cars never succeeded, especially the Estates. Thinking of it, Estates tend to do pretty well in International Markets and every major manufacturer has a model based on the same platform as its famous sedan. None of the major importers in India (Mercedes CBU, Audi, BMW, VW and Volvo) have dared to offer their estate versions here.
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Old 13th December 2007, 23:59   #2
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1) IMO, the Zen 2-door is really meant for the high-heeled youngster. In India, at that time, Zen was considered a family car by most people. Very few youngsters had the money to buy a car, unlike nowadays(due to IT/BPO rush). So, I think people couldn't afford this car, rather than not liking it.

2) Convertibles are really not practical in India due to the climate. People get sun burns

3) Most people who don't know much about cars (aam junta) would mistake a estate for a hatchback. 3-box in India has always been a sense of dignity and esteem, even though things are changing now due to B+ segment. But don't know why Mercs, Beemers and Audis don't get it here.


4) I don't think many people like the classic models. The Zen classic was really bad IMO.
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Old 14th December 2007, 00:32   #3
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2 door cars have great potential but someone needs to take the bold step forward.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-door-car.html (Would you buy a 2 door car ?)

Convertibles are a tough sell although SLKs are doing well, you have to come up with a decent package at a good price to make it work. The segment will be much smaller than 2 door.

Classics...forget it, in a country where the Mumbai taxis are still the classic fiats and ambassadors are still sold, nobody wants to a retro car.
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Old 14th December 2007, 00:39   #4
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A set of questions I have always had in my mind.
1) 2 door cars are actually pretty good. For youngster/small families,its a good thing to have. Along with a good engine & mid-level accessories,it could be a good buy.
2) Estates have limited utility. The Tata Estate was one huge vehicle,and not many people ventured into a territory that had a bulky car like the Estate. Elsewhere, people use these vehicles are part of outdoor recreational activities..most often snowboarding/surfing/cycling.
3) The Zen classic looked sick. The chrome bits & pieces didn't blend with the rest of the car. Not surprising that it was a big flop.
Do the same to something like the Safari,and the results might be different. Too much chrome isn't good, but the right amounts in the right places would make a big difference.
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Old 14th December 2007, 03:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick1977 View Post
I have always wondered why the following types of cars never seem to work in this country:
1) The 2 door car - The Maruti Zen 2 door was a superb car; small, stylish and very up market, but it caught the fancy of a very few buyers. End result - Failure

2) The Convertibles - Only the San Storm has tried to venture into this arena albeit with disastrous results. Result - Very slim success.

3) The Estates - Another arena where many have come and gone. Premier Padmini (as far as I remember) were the 1st to venture, them was the Tata Estate. Later the Baleno Altura, Octavia Combi, Indigo Marina. However all of them never did too well & went out of production sooner than one could have imagined.

4) 'Classic Models' - Here too the trend started with Zen Classic (although I have a faint memory of a Dukkar Fiat with a 'Classic Badge' on it), which had a very hideous shape, and was thus destined to fail. The Ambassador classic too tried out its luck, but met with the same fate as the Zen Classic. Guess after that, none of the manufacturers have dared to venture into this.
Guys - I would be really glad if some one has answers to why these types of cars never succeeded, especially the Estates. Thinking of it, Estates tend to do pretty well in International Markets and every major manufacturer has a model based on the same platform as its famous sedan. None of the major importers in India (Mercedes CBU, Audi, BMW, VW and Volvo) have dared to offer their estate versions here.
2 door cars :- They dont work because if you look at the profile of people. Car buying is basically an investment after buying a house. We would like to carry us our parents grand parents around. Moreover we are more social in our nature so most of our ativities involve more than just a couple. In which cases we would like to fit most people in one car. Accesibility in 2 door cars being the issue here for older people. Now, there are a big chunk of well to do families with multiple cars, but then would the buy a 2 door if it is a Zen? 2 doors offer better handling and image, but then there are other cars (maybe in a higher bracket) that provides better handling even with the 4 doors and definitely better image. Had Honda launched the Civic coupe, I am sure few of them would have been sold.

Convertible :- Very impractical in Indian climes. You take the pollution head on. You take the heat. Moreover Would you buy the San Storm if it was a 4-door hatch?

Estates:- Do they offer much more interms of value over their sedan counterparts apart from the lifestyle image. If you load the luggage area till the roof, it gets unsafe as you cant see the rear window. So filling to the rear seat height, offers the same luggage space as a sedan. Moreover the AC has more volume to cool. Given this information, when you see that the car makers almost always charged a premium on the estates over the sedan counterparts, it does not ring any bells. Case in point the Indigo Marina, it isn't selling like hotcakes either, but its still the all time best selling estate in the country because it is priced at the sedan levels.

Classic :- by this I think you mean retro looking vehicles, in a country where the Amby still rolls off the production line, there is no need of nostalgia driven sales. Moreover we also have countless Marshalls and Pickups that fill our daily dose of "yesterday"

For us none of these cars worked. But the real reason was actually always far away from the incompetence of these type of cars themselves.

Last edited by 1100D : 14th December 2007 at 03:47.
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Old 14th December 2007, 08:51   #6
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Its basically very simple. WE are just in the initial stages of the car market. How long has it been since so many options have come up. We are yet to get a real segmentation of the market. WE still see cars as just a mode of transport and we add some ego satisfaction and play safe aspects to it. Thats why most prefer sedans and most prefer maruti's. We are yet to evolve into really understainding something like a weekend or an adventure or even an altura. another factor that contributes to this is that we dont have a lifestyle where we find the need to such a station wagon. To us the convertibles or classics or station wagons are just different variants of the same car. THus we think its best to go for something that has a boot and has a roof over you and also looks new. Probably we would evolve as a mature market in some 15-20 years from now.
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