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Old 26th March 2008, 12:57   #46
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Japanese cars weren't born with this reputation- it has taken them a good 50 years to get here. Koreans are relatively new to the game and will take a long time to reach where the Japs are, but by the time they get there, Japs would have already stepped the game up several levels.
This seems to be the general accepted opinion amongst many automotive and manufacturing journals. All automakers seem to have to go through the learning curve. They can also slip down.
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Old 26th March 2008, 13:03   #47
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This seems to be the general accepted opinion amongst many automotive and manufacturing journals. All automakers seem to have to go through the learning curve. They can also slip down.
Japanese cars were not number 1 in sales when they started. But, I dont think they were bad with respect to technology or reliability (atleast as far as I can tell about Honda with their Accord and Civic). They just did not have the range of vehicles that they now have.
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Old 26th March 2008, 19:59   #48
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Honda screwed it up. But they knew they wouldn't. The sales of the NHC are a testament to that. And the fact is getting a modern consumer to pay for an overpriced product isn't easy- Honda has built the bulletproof reputation over the relatively short time they have been here, inspite of not having a product in the mass-volumes segment (small cars) unlike Maruti and Hyundai which started out with bread and butter small cars.
Their market research was more spot on, maximum people cared for FE and long-term reliability and good after sales, which inturn, keeps resale prices up. Did they just bank on their name? I know they overprice their cars, but people are willing to pay for them, because for max 95% population, they know they will not loose over a fast depreciating asset.

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Japanese cars weren't born with this reputation- it has taken them a good 50 years to get here. Koreans are relatively new to the game and will take a long time to reach where the Japs are,
There's a certain benefit of someone else having learnt something. You can gain knowledge from them without having to go the whole hog (say 50 yrs). Yes you still do take some time, but not as much as the original learner did.

Germans have been building cars since ages, late 80's early 90's they were epitome of relibility and quality, from which the only way they have gone is down, however marketing cars in the same target custmer base, came the japanese with their Fancy Lexus and Infinity's (even Acura) to overtake the Germans on all reliability charts at the same time offering similar levels of character.
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Old 26th March 2008, 20:23   #49
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Koreans are good at imitation. Translates to lesser money spent on R&D. Translates to lower costs. Translates to target market penetration.
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Old 27th March 2008, 10:01   #50
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Originally Posted by scorp 1
Koreans are good at imitation. Translates to lesser money spent on R&D. Translates to lower costs. Translates to target market penetration.
And since an imitation usually does not result in getting the exact quality of the original, it could also translate to an inferior product.
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Old 27th March 2008, 10:33   #51
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Koreans are good at imitation. Translates to lesser money spent on R&D. Translates to lower costs. Translates to target market penetration.
That's exactly right. Some examples:

New Sonata - Honda Accord
i10 - Peugeot 207 , Honda Jazz
Verna - Fiat Linea (My guess)
Santro - Copy of none, and thus, it looked very ugly in earlier days

Their badge - Honda's badge

May be there are more which can be added to this list!
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Old 27th March 2008, 12:04   #52
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@ SB: We'll check during the DRAG!!..whether product is inferior or not: LOL

@ Clevermax: Sir, why dont you try imitating any product of your choice and sell it to atleast 100 people. Then we could talk whether imitation is worth it or not!
But this time New Accord 2008 looks like Sonata Embera

First one New Accord 2008 and other 2 are Sonata Embera.
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Old 27th March 2008, 12:34   #53
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Few decades back it was said that Japanese cars had similiar reputation as of Koreans cars in US. Ultimately Japanese cars made its name. Similiarly I am sure Koreans too will make its reputation. Hyundai has already made its reputation in India as a better Auto Manufacturer than Maruti (some may say MUL is not Japanese). Soon Hyundai will take on Volvo in India by taking on its succesfull luxury bus business.
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Old 27th March 2008, 13:07   #54
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Originally Posted by arunpn View Post
Few decades back it was said that Japanese cars had similiar reputation as of Koreans cars in US. Ultimately Japanese cars made its name. Similiarly I am sure Koreans too will make its reputation. Hyundai has already made its reputation in India as a better Auto Manufacturer than Maruti (some may say MUL is not Japanese). Soon Hyundai will take on Volvo in India by taking on its succesfull luxury bus business.
Japanese cars never had the bad reputation that Korean cars had in U.S. Please enlighten me with facts if you think so.
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Old 27th March 2008, 13:34   #55
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Japanese cars were initially looked down upon in the US because they were so much cheaper. Detroit cars had low quality standards. So, views like "patriotism" were brought into play to sell American cars to the Americans. But as the Japanese proved their quality, they made a place for themselves.

The Koreans are in a similar position, and as they climb the learning curve, their products will prove themselves (I think Koreans are good at body work, and Korean cars are strongly built, compared to Japanese cars; seen from the result of front end collisions- compare a Honda City's damage with an Accent's damage in similar crashes) and in a few years, they will be at par with the average car makers- not a BMW or a Merc, but definitely a Honda or a Toyota.

I would extend this argument to include the Tata's as well. They are new to car manufacture and their products are not given a lot of respect. But give them a few years. Now they have access to Rover and Jaguar, and to some extent, even Fiat. So, they will probably climb the quality charts quicker. In a few years, they shall definitely have a much better reputation than they do now.

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Old 27th March 2008, 13:41   #56
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Do you know that Toyota entered into the US market in 1957 with Toyopet Crown and almost exited not because of a horrible quality product, but because it was not designed for American high speeds. More than that, few Americans knew what a Toyota was, and most of those who knew didn't much care. Toyota withdrew it in 1961 and then had a huge success starting with the Corona in 1965.


Major key points about Toyopet Crown:
Not engineered for the American market. The car was basically a converted Japanese taxicab that was too slow and too heavy for America's highways. Toyota itself was new at building cars. The Toyopet Crown was Toyota's first real passenger car, and it debuted in Japan in 1955. In Japan then, people drove 35-40 mph. But, the US had 55 mph freeways, and people there drove for long times at higher speeds.


After World War II, America was a very hostile market for Japanese products. Most American buyers were World War II veterans with memories of Pearl Harbour and Japanese POW camps.


The Toyopet Crown actually was one of the best of the early imported economy cars, according to four major reviews of the car published in magazines from 1958 to 1960. The most influential automotive journalist of the day, Tom McCahill of Popular Mechanix, tested the Toyopet Crown. His review stated that while Toyopet Crown did not offer the same 0-60 mph performance as an American car, it was able to match the performance of other imported economy cars that were selling well. McCahill found the Toyopet could pass traffic on the Pennsylvania turnpike at 70 mph. He found a lot more to like in the Toyopet Crown, saying it "has a better ride than any other imported car selling for less than $2,500." He also praised the car's high-quality chrome and interior.

Had the Toyopet Crown been British or French or even German, and priced closer to its competitors, such as the Morris Minor, Renault Dauphine and VW Beetle, it might have sold better. The Crown's 0-60 mph cceleration time of 24 seconds was slow, but equal or better than that of other small imported economy cars.


The car struggled to keep up on American highways. As one Toyota executive said `We were driving up those hills at less than 15 miles per hour, and the big trucks would go roaring past, giving us dirty looks.


There also were reliability problems. The motor had three main bearings for a four-cylinder engine, when it should have had five main bearings. So when driven at more than 50 miles per hour on American roads, it would shake like hell. More than that, the engines busted.


In 1960, American car makers launched their competing products with Chevrolet Corvair, Ford Falcon, and Plymouth Valiant. Those cars had bigger engines and better performance. They delivered good fuel economy and sold for the same or less money than the Toyopet Crown.


That doomed the Crown.


About 200 cars were unsold when Crown was pulled out of the market. Toyota's management then decided to ship back all the unsold Crowns to Japan. However, Toyota's Chairman Ishida directed them: 'Throw them away into the Pacific.'

Of course, four years after the Toyopet flop, Toyota launched the Corona, and started the long success of Japanese car makers in the US.
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Old 27th March 2008, 13:52   #57
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Originally Posted by prabuddhadg View Post
Japanese cars were initially looked down upon in the US because they were so much cheaper. Detroit cars had low quality standards. So, views like "patriotism" were brought into play to sell American cars to the Americans. But as the Japanese proved their quality, they made a place for themselves.

The Koreans are in a similar position, and as they climb the learning curve, their products will prove themselves (I think Koreans are good at body work, and Korean cars are strongly built, compared to Japanese cars; seen from the result of front end collisions- compare a Honda City's damage with an Accent's damage in similar crashes) and in a few years, they will be at par with the average car makers- not a BMW or a Merc, but definitely a Honda or a Toyota.

I would extend this argument to include the Tata's as well. They are new to car manufacture and their products are not given a lot of respect. But give them a few years. Now they have access to Rover and Jaguar, and to some extent, even Fiat. So, they will probably climb the quality charts quicker. In a few years, they shall definitely have a much better reputation than they do now.
Excellent Sir, I like the way you've put it across!

I WILL buy the Indica 1.3 Multijet
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Old 27th March 2008, 14:04   #58
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Korean cars had huge problems before. Now they have progressed much ahead in the U.S market. Most of the sales though was pushed with their unmatched warranty packages to the suspecting customers.

So to compare Japanese and say they were similar to Korean is not right. Only the size and power on Japanese cars were lacking not the reliability or quality.
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Old 27th March 2008, 14:25   #59
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Excellent Sir, I like the way you've put it across!

I WILL buy the Indica 1.3 Multijet
Thanks headers, I guess anyone and everyone has to get better with experience.
Of course the Tatas are working on two extreme ends of the spectrum, Nano and Jag, but still, something good has to brush off onto the ones in between. While I personally am not a diesel fan (prefer high revving petrol engines), still I am sure even the Tata petrol engines will only get better with time...
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Old 27th March 2008, 14:26   #60
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Originally Posted by clevermax View Post
That's exactly right. Some examples:

New Sonata - Honda Accord
i10 - Peugeot 207 , Honda Jazz
Verna - Fiat Linea (My guess)
Santro - Copy of none, and thus, it looked very ugly in earlier days

Their badge - Honda's badge

May be there are more which can be added to this list!
the old sonata - Jag Stype and Merc C front end [Told to me by the son of the previous MD of Hyundai India ]
The First gen santro - Complete copy of the old Merc A class!!

And as per the argument of the Japanese companies in the states...Jap cars are considerably cheaper, and have smaller engines when compared to their European or American counterparts. Hence each of the large Japanese companies launched a luxury brand targetted souly at the US market

Toyota - Lexus
Honda - Acura
Nissan - Infinity

Strangely enough even though the underpinnings between both the parent badge and the luxury badge models are generally the same, it is still more prestigious to own a Lexus over a Toyota or Acura over a Honda.

The US market is unique in the sense that they like big engines, and fuel economy is not a big selling factor, so the Koreans with their small engines and lack of brand image really suffer bigtime...
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