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Old 13th June 2008, 01:17   #16
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Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
It exists and its called ARAI. Its their job to certify new cars for safety and emissions.

ARAI simply does not have the facality to get their job done of certifying the cars quickly. They are more concentrated on new CBU import cars and not making crash testing compulsory for all the cars on the market in India. As far as crash testing is concerned, there should not be any exceptions like
CBU, SKD ,etc.

They were able to make headlight adjustment, seatbelts standard, but we need more than that. Even a glance at reports of how Euro NCAP tests and reports is sufficient to give us surprise that our regurlatory bodies are not sufficient to send the Indian R&D into right direction.

There must be a seperate instutite for the safety criteria of cars. Then as per those results, ARAI should make decesions.
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Old 13th June 2008, 04:31   #17
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Regarding points 1 & 2, Autocar India editor Hormazd Sorabjee said something similar in an old issue - something along the lines of - The Ford Escort which ruled the JD Power charts in India is long gone but the Tata Indica (at the bottom of the same charts) has gone from strength to strength...shows that Indians don't want absolute quality but are satisfied with acceptable quality at a VFM price.
To add to that, quality in terms of the customer perception is a highly subjective term. A Tata Indica for example in its segment shows good quality in terms of its reliability, serviceability, space for Indian customers, ride quality on Indian roads, and overall suitability for Indian conditions. That is the quality that many Indian customers are looking for, other things like nice interiors or ergonomics or panel gaps might be nice but not necessarily a high priority for them.

However at the end of the day the statement of the R&D head matters little. Nowadays its a free market and only the market decides what kind of quality a care maker puts out, and if it doesnt make good quality stuff how long the company (or the R&D manager) will survive.

Tata and Mahindra are upping their quality by leaps and bounds and have been forced to do so by more competition in the Indian market and more demanding customers in the home market. As they get onto the international market they will be even more quality consious as they have to satisfy customers in developed countries.

If you take the Mahindra Jeep it was the same bloody crap for about 40 years with cosmetic changes, yet within the last 10 years they have put out the scorpio, m-hawk and what not which are in a different league altogether. Stuff like the Scorpio, Safari and Indica are still not up to the mark by international standards but they were a huge step up in Indian context and they also proved that a locally designed and manufactured model could be successful. You have to walk before you can run. Tata's original Indica plant was an old secondhand Nissan plant disassembled and brought from Australia and it reportedly had about 70 robots and lot of manual assembly as well. The new Indica will be made in a fully automated line with around 300 brand new robots (from Kuka of Germany) similar in design to a Mercedes line, as per an article that recently came out.

So my gut feeling is that Tata and Mahindra can and will only go up from here.
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Old 13th June 2008, 10:00   #18
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According to SIAM (Society of Indian Manufacturers), the standards for automobiles are prepared by BIS (bureau of Indian Standards) and AISC (Autmobiles industry standards committe). ARAI issues certification after testing automobiles.
Reference Regulatory Framework
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Old 16th June 2008, 15:41   #19
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The guy must be from HM!

What percentage of the cars are self v/s driver driven these days? I think the majority is self driven. I think the R&D guy is quoting from the 'vision statement' he got from his CEO 20 years ago, and never updated.

I do agree that VFM scores over quality, but the quality itself is a factor in the value equation. So, the tradeoff will be excellent VFM with acceptable quality.

One thing I have seen is that people confuse between QUALITY and REFINEMENT. They are not the same. Quality by definition is 'fitness for purpose' and 'meeting expectations'. For example, the in-cabin noise specification for an Indica might be 70 dB and that of a Civic be 50dB. If an actual unit Indica measures 71dB and an actual Civic unit measures 55dB, the civic have less QUALITY, while maintaining higher REFINEMENT.

While refinement is more of a class feature, any model (including Amby) can be produced with quality.
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Old 16th June 2008, 18:14   #20
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OT: Are we not buying swift vehicles even though we know that swift has rattling issues. We are doing this just for shear VFM. The Indian consumers care a hoot for the quality if they get the correct VFM.
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Old 17th June 2008, 10:36   #21
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Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
India still goes by cost.
While buying the cars, the main criteria is Cost and even this looks logical but then every other thing goes into thrash.
Nope, what you are talking about is yesterday. The present is all about VALUE, not cost. Lower segments are generally the most cost sensitive, as compared to the D-segment etc. So lets look at the entry point : The fact is, the Alto sells more than the 800. Heck, the 800 is already out of the top 5 selling cars in India and will surely slip out of the top 10 soon.

This proves that even price-sensitive buyers are willing to pay that little bit more premium for a better product. If cost was everything, the 800 would still be a best-seller.

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1. The India Customer is very VFM Concious
True. Value is king.

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2. Quality is Secondary -
Unfortunately, for some segments this is applicable, isnt it? I remember Rajeev from Tata Motors saying in an interview that sure, he could improve the quality of the Indica but that would lead to a price increase of 30,000 bucks. Research indicated that Indica buyers would rather save that thirty grand and live with some rough edges.

However, this was a statement made about a decade back. The level of competitiveness as well as the flurry of activity in the B segment is making top class quality a must. Or will soon. Just look at how the i10 has been received by the masses; it feels so well-built and reeks of quality...better than even the Marutis. Its only a matter of time before Honda, Toyota and other world class players join the hatchback brigade.

Also, this R&D lecturer must realise that to accept second-rate quality is akin to being the cause of cancer within your company. It will have a detrimental effect on your employees and suppliers, not to mention what it will do to your brand.

Last edited by GTO : 17th June 2008 at 10:38.
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Old 17th June 2008, 10:53   #22
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Nope, what you are talking about is yesterday. The present is all about VALUE, not cost. Lower segments are generally the most cost sensitive, as compared to the D-segment etc. So lets look at the entry point : The fact is, the Alto sells more than the 800. Heck, the 800 is already out of the top 5 selling cars in India and will surely slip out of the top 10 soon.



This proves that even price-sensitive buyers are willing to pay that little bit more premium for a better product. If cost was everything, the 800 would still be a best-seller.



True. Value is king.
Yes, looks like its more value oriented. Maruti 800 got out of top five. Zen Etilo no longer is in top ten.


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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Unfortunately, for some segments this is applicable, isnt it? I remember Rajeev from Tata Motors saying in an interview that sure, he could improve the quality of the Indica but that would lead to a price increase of 30,000 bucks. Research indicated that Indica buyers would rather save that thirty grand and live with some rough edges.

However, this was a statement made about a decade back. The level of competitiveness as well as the flurry of activity in the B segment is making top class quality a must. Or will soon. Just look at how the i10 has been received by the masses; it feels so well-built and reeks of quality...better than even the Marutis. Its only a matter of time before Honda, Toyota and other world class players join the hatchback brigade.

Also, this R&D lecturer must realise that to accept second-rate quality is akin to being the cause of cancer within your company. It will have a detrimental effect on your employees and suppliers, not to mention what it will do to your brand.
Yes quality is improving and people are now more inclined towards quality in B segment. Within months of launch, i10 took over from Santro as highest selling car from Hyundai. Its one of the better built hatches and certainly more better than Maruti.
If any manufacturer overlooks quality, it will soon have to look or else it wont survive. This indicates that customers are moving in right direction.

But when it comes to safety equipment, we are yet to make a well deserved improvement. No crash testing is not acceptable now, ABS should be atleast made optional. All the five passenger should have access to three point belts than lap belts offered in some cases. The customer is now ready to spend more for quality and safety, but the manufacturers are not able to deliver IMO. Earlier, quite ahead of its time, FIAT provided ABS, but IIRC, its not available. Maruti is yet to solve Swift problems.

I hope, considering the changing view of customer, the companies will now wake up.
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Old 17th June 2008, 11:17   #23
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Have we ever seen any company who manufactures in India did a recall? In US Ford almost shelled out billions of dollars when they recalled all the bridgestone tires on their trucks due to poor quality threading! I have read many threads where people have to take their new cars for repairs and even some inherent problems were written in auto magazine the manufactures are not even paying heed to it. Why? because we got tuned to this and accepted that poor quality is part of our life and people choose to wear helmets and drive cars rather than demanding air bags in cars.
well as far as i know the 3 major players in the C-segment market Maruti, Honda and Hyundai. have all recalled their car in particular batches, and in India the manufacturer does not have to specify the recall out in the public, the delear would just call you and inform you that they have to do a preliminary check, which effectially a recall.
Maruti - Swift, SX4 for clutch problems from CKD clutches.
Hyundai - on the 1st gen getz for clutch, 2ed gen for suspension. accent for intermittent problems.
Honda - NHC and CRV.
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Old 17th June 2008, 15:59   #24
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Maruti has been doing recalls on a regular basis with ads in almost every newspaper. I remember checking one such ad for the Omni - it happened to be the batch after mine. They would ask you to bring the car over to the workshop for a check. Tata usually does this checking & replacing when your car is in the workshop. Either way, Indian manufacturers do recall maybe not as loudly as in the US.
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Old 17th June 2008, 16:10   #25
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Honda - NHC and CRV.
Add the previous gen Honda Accord to your list. Fuel pump problems could cause a breakdown.
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Old 18th June 2008, 13:59   #26
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Dear GTO - ref your post no 21 above, the Maruti 800 slipped on sales because the car slipped on specifications as well (it was made to slip). Today's 800 does not have a 5 speed gearbox, it does not have 4 valves per cylinder, it does not have coil spring rear suspension. Maruti knowingly downgraded the 800 as it wanted to move to the Alto. I would still buy an 800 for wifey's daily runabout, but not the Alto. The peppy nature of the 800 is missing in the staid Alto (increased weight, thick C pillar et al). Some Maruti 800s sold with 5 speed gearboxes in around 2001/02 are still sought after. So it's all economies of scale for the manufacturers where the CUSTOMER MAY NOT REMAIN THE FOCAL POINT, which is sad, but true.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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