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Old 2nd October 2009, 21:07   #1
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Default Why do old Car models never phase out in India?

I mean, everyone seems to do this with some exceptions like Qualis...

Sumo Grande came, but Sumo lives on..supposedly positioned at 'economy' segment, as if Grande is Porshce..same goes for old and new safari, old and new Indica...

MM is doing it too, keeping Bolero after launching Xylo..

Of course, Maruti has so many identical looking cars, and is still keeping 800, Alto etc., for decades..

Is it us Indians onlee or some other factor at work...given the ridiculously low volumes (by global standards) and the fact that MM, Tata etc have global ambitions, one would imagine they will quickly kill old models and move on..so it is easy to produce, sell etc.

Even engines dont get retired after new ones come on..
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Old 2nd October 2009, 21:50   #2
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Nice point Traxtor,
I guess it is this way because
a. Indian provide more weightage to VFM than styling. For e.g. there are many who know Alto was replaced by A-star worldwide. But I only think it has resulted in Alto coming in for even less price(as it is no longer the latest model) when all the values viz. features it provides is the same that it was 1 year back.
b. We are more attached to old things (read here as old models) than other countries. For e.g. I love the swift model, I would be surely happy if I am able to buy it for lesser immaterial of what it replaced.

This also explains the discussions we guys had during Figo launch. Ford does this (bringing in freshened old models) because Indians traditionally stick to VFM than recent style and trends.

Correct me if I am wrong in my assumptions.
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Old 2nd October 2009, 21:55   #3
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Because we keep buying them. As long as there is a demand for outdated but cheap products, they'll keep selling it!
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Old 2nd October 2009, 22:15   #4
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errr.. Safari? AFAIK 3ltr was discontinued when 2.2 came in.

I guess the regulations play a part too. As in when the cars are "updated" and newer generation is introduced, its to make the car comply with the latest regulations, so the older non-compliant model HAS to go. But, here in India, I guess, these are rarely updated. So all a manufacturer has to do to introduce a newer avatar of the same car, is to give it a new name and a slightly higher price tag. After all, theres nothing like recovering the initial setup costs(dies etc) and earn some more(a LOT more actually).

Only exceptions I see are Toyota and Honda, even M&M to some extent, Bolero and the Xylo are completely different vehicles IMO.

Would love to know fellow BHPians' views about the scenario at hand.

Last edited by Dry Ice : 2nd October 2009 at 22:19.
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Old 2nd October 2009, 22:25   #5
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There are probably many reasons for this phenomenon, but there is one main one. India is one of the most price sensitive car markets in the world. A new model generally costs more than the previous model. E.g. A star vs. Alto. Does it make sense for Maruti to withdraw a model that clocks 22K a month model and replace it with a 4K a month one?

Honda on the other had replaced the ~5K a month NHC with the ~3K a month and more expensive ANHC. I believe that given a choice they would have liked to sell the NHC alongside the ANHC in India alone. But it would have been impossible for them to do so because the source of components would have dried up as NHC was replaced in all markets.

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Old 2nd October 2009, 22:32   #6
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Any logic behind discontinuing the Qualis when it was going strong? The Innova is much more than what the Qualis was. Essentially, they killed a useful model with no replacement. Was that business acumen? Or was that a case of following a policy for its own sake?

In a country like ours, where most of the population is new to cars and automotive sense is yet to 'evolve' (since evolution necessarily means time exposure), all sorts of cars and models sell including hideous, ugly, or outdated ones (there may be perfectly valid reasons, though - I'm not criticising). There's a market for every damn product. I don't see why it should be necessary for a car maker to kill a model when there are people still wanting to buy it.

Businesses respond to demand. If one wonders why car makers in India do what they do, I think the answer lies in the car buying public. And that's good business acumen. Suits the country, suits logic.

I for one, am strongly against falling for every trick in the book just because it's practiced in the West. Unfortunately, we tend to look for standard templates from abroad.
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Old 2nd October 2009, 23:30   #7
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1) This phenomenon is mostly present only in small car segment.

2) The core reason is that India is not a very powerful economy. Keep the numbers out and come down to reality. Each and every successive generation of cars get more expensive and this is because of various reasons. Its very well understood. But does the Indian customer's budget grow in similar manner ? NO.

The salaried class is still emerging and till we become a good strong economy, things will remain like this. Remember maruti's statement " We will continue to build and sell M800 as long as there is demand for it ". The demand is there because of low cost. Its nothing but the price that keeps older cars in demand and if there is demand, why the manufacturer will not produce the model ?
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Old 2nd October 2009, 23:35   #8
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well i really admire Toyota kirloskar for what they did in india.
They could have very well sold the innova and Qualis side by side making very good profits but stuck with their principles and treated the indian market with respect unlike what company's like maruthi and skoda are doing by selling same models of the car of different generation side by side at different prices !!!
well this is my opinion.
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Old 2nd October 2009, 23:38   #9
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I'm not a major Honda fan, but this is one thing for which I always give credit to Honda. Constantly upgrading their model line-up. With replacements and not selling old stuff parallel with their new offerings.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 01:25   #10
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Add Pajero to the list too. The definite reason for it not getting discontinued is that it still competes with it's capabilities at the tagged price with other similar SUVs. (Debatable, but let's not. hah).
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Old 3rd October 2009, 01:42   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinaydas View Post
well i really admire Toyota kirloskar for what they did in india.
They could have very well sold the innova and Qualis side by side making very good profits but stuck with their principles and treated the indian market with respect unlike what company's like maruthi and skoda are doing by selling same models of the car of different generation side by side at different prices !!!
well this is my opinion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspur View Post
I'm not a major Honda fan, but this is one thing for which I always give credit to Honda. Constantly upgrading their model line-up. With replacements and not selling old stuff parallel with their new offerings.
This is where Toyota and Honda succeed and Maruti Suzuki fails. Honda, Toyota are more brand conscious. The only reason why the Qualis was killed, Toyota didn't want to be known as a company which sells outdated products. Its the brand where Maruti Suzuki takes a beating and fails to sell its luxury models. Although, it is not the only factor, but a prominent one.

Also to blame is the average indian consumer, which will grab anything thrown at it, if its cheap.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 07:15   #12
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Interesting perspectives....thanks and please do not take any remarks in negative sense...just something interesting to talk about..

One possibility is also that, while globally new models sell for roughly same price as old (and any price increase generally follow inflation trend, if not by now Corolla or Accord will be priced more than Rolls) here we are forced to pay more for the so-called new features which are just routine incremental change that happens in any product. How to make us pay more - just keep the old one selling for same/slightly less to make the new one appear 'premium'..

I do admire Toyota for boldly killing ugly Qualis because it did not fit in with the kind of image they want to have for themselves, not just in India, but elsewhere too..the logic that India is different is true but can only guide policy, provided Tata/MM have no global ambition and want global audience to remember them as producers of trucks and Sumos. These days all news is global.

Is Xylo different from Bolero? Yes, it is, it looks different. So do successive models of Sonata or Cefiro..But MM already has jeep types at low end, Scorpio at so-called high and Xylo in between. So where do they fit Bolero in? Yes, it still sells, because this is India. But MM could have priced Xylo a bit less, killed Bolero and built lots of image and perhaps made up the loss over time. They could have also killed their tractor engine once for all and fit the new engine in all models (with different tuning) so that the impression of a low-tech copy-cat company essentially producing 50s and 60s stuff for nostalgia buffs is also gradually worn off...

Maruti is free to call Alto as A-Star, Wagon-R as Estilo and Estilo as something else and keep selling them for decades but as someone rightly pointed out, they are having big trouble moving into premium league (where the real $$$ is). But to be fair, they are also not famous for premium vehicles in Japan and elsewhere where they do not sell old stuff. So there are other factors at work..

Now let us await Indigo Manga to be sold alongside old Indigo until the dies get worn out..
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Old 3rd October 2009, 10:56   #13
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Another reason why cos don't want to kill a product is because they don't want to be branded as one who will also kill the resale value since resale is one of most important factor that decides the vehicle purchases in India alongside FE !

Last edited by mithun : 3rd October 2009 at 10:57.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 11:04   #14
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I agree with Ashutosh, they make them cause we buy them. Some of the best selling low budget cars are brands by themselves. This may be another reason.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 11:12   #15
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IMO we always want to play safe bet. We really don't want to try something new,always look others before taking any new decision. Yes along with this resale value and total ownership experience also plays vital role.
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