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Old 1st November 2009, 13:11   #1
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Default Rudolf Diesel and cars in Semi-Urban/Rural India

It all began with a conversation with my colleague. He had just returned from a visit to his native (a small town in TN) in India.

Colleague: “Have you heard of Swift DZire?”
Me: “Yes I have. (After a brief pause) What about it?”
Colleague: “I heard it gives 28kmpl o highways and 26kmpl in the city!”
Me: “Is it? Who told you?”
Colleague: “A friend of mine runs a travel agency. He told”
Colleague: “He says that it is available for taxi registration only in the Metros!”
Me: “Oh is it!”

Having a Swift D in my family for the past two years, I told him:

Me: “My father has been driving the same car for about two years. He gets about 20 on highways and about 16 in the cities. It’s the same car minus the boot”
Colleague: “(with a disbelief on his face) But I heard that Dzire is a new model!”
Me: “It is relatively newer, but it’s the same car. These days even the Palio, Indica and other cars come with the same engine. It’s a Fiat engine.”

The conversation pretty much ends here. My colleague’s facial expression said it all. What I concluded from his expressions:

01. He wasn’t really buying what I was saying. I guess the travel agent friend is more believable!
02. He didn’t even agree that Swift D and Dzire share the same engine!
03. "...Fiat Engine..." was the last nail in the coffin. He pretty much ignored all words there on!
04. So many different cars with the same engine is hard to believe!

I know what you guys might be thinking. “How come you didn’t explain it better?”, “How come you didn’t mention about the engine manufacturing license from Fiat?” etc.

There was pretty much no point discussing these things with someone who is not interested in cars. He represented a large portion of the Indian consumer coming from the Semi-urban and rural areas. Honestly what difference does it make in knowing that the inventor of Diesel engine was Mr. Diesel!

This conversation highlighted a few point to me:

01. Word of mouth publicity works best for people in these parts of India (“…28kmpl…”)
02. The best image builder for a car is it’s Fuel Efficiency (28 kmpl, though incorrect)
03. People carefully observe the taxi segment in these parts and consult the owners for feedback.
04. Having a taxi image is not a deal breaker.
05. Maruti and Tata are the most trusted brands in these regions.
06. There is a strong desire (Dzire?) to shift to Diesel powered vehicles.
07. The "Numbers" are not important - Power, Weight, Torque, 0-100, 40-80 blaa blaa blaa. FE and price are the primary numbers.

Last edited by sushanthr77 : 1st November 2009 at 13:16. Reason: formatting
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Old 1st November 2009, 13:18   #2
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sushanth, well what you shared is the common man's idea about automobile industry, mouth publicity, group ownership and trust for few brands is huge so is why fiat's engine was not expected to be in a maruti car.Rural india prefers more stable, easy to maintain and better resale value of their cars purchased where maruti is always leading in this reasons, back by tata and then mahindra.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 10:11   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sushanthr77 View Post
01. Word of mouth publicity works best for people in these parts of India (“…28kmpl…”)
02. The best image builder for a car is it’s Fuel Efficiency (28 kmpl, though incorrect)
I cannot stress enough on how these two factors can make or break a brand / car in India. All the publicity & mega-advertising bucks pale in comparison to the word on the street. The lay man's opinion, simply put, is everything.

Quite an interesting discussion there with your colleague

Quote:
03. People carefully observe the taxi segment in these parts and consult the owners for feedback.
04. Having a taxi image is not a deal breaker.
Debatable, but I'm sure it applies to a certain segment.

Quote:
05. Maruti and Tata are the most trusted brands in these regions.
06. There is a strong desire (Dzire?) to shift to Diesel powered vehicles.
True. Home grown Indian brands + well deserved trust. Mahindra also has the strongest following in semi-urban & rural India.

Quote:
The "Numbers" are not important - Power, Weight, Torque, 0-100, 40-80 blaa blaa blaa.
These numbers only count on Team-BHP!
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Old 2nd November 2009, 10:34   #4
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Consumers in Rural India (Bharat) as opposed to Urban India (India) are very clear about the following. They are less swayed by other factors unlike their Urban cousins:

1. Product quality- (intrinsically good product)
2. Price - (has to be reasonable)
3. Value for money - (perceived cost vs benefit ratio has to be very high)
4. FE/ Mileage - has to be good and claim made has to be proven
5. Availability/ Distribution - has to be easily available/ accessible
6. After Sales Service/ Maintenance - has to be easily accessible/ available and relatively inexpensive.

If any manufacturer/ marketeer gets these few things right, he/ she is assured of success in the rural marketplace.

Both Maruti and Mahindra for example, have a complete choke-hold of the marketplace in the rural/ semi-urbanized areas of our country.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 10:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Consumers in Rural India (Bharat) as opposed to Urban India (India) are very clear about the following. They are less swayed by other factors unlike their Urban cousins:

1. Product quality- (intrinsically good product)
2. Price - (has to be reasonable)
3. Value for money - (perceived cost vs benefit ratio has to be very high)
4. FE/ Mileage - has to be good and claim made has to be proven
5. Availability/ Distribution - has to be easily available/ accessible
6. After Sales Service/ Maintenance - has to be easily accessible/ available and relatively inexpensive.

If any manufacturer/ marketeer gets these few things right, he/ she is assured of success in the rural marketplace.

Both Maruti and Mahindra for example, have a complete choke-hold of the marketplace in the rural/ semi-urbanized areas of our country.
Not true here too. In general people who already own a car knows what to expect in a high level but others have no clue. Even people who already own a single car for more than 10 years also fall pray for it. Unless they are looking at above 15L segment.

I have had similar conversations with Software enginners working in all sorts of companies here. Infact thats why adds like 115kmpl* (*under ideal driving cycle) still sells.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 23:27   #6
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I was talking to my friend about punto and how sexy it looks and he suddenly said that he just hates FIAT cars. I asked why and he said that FIAT cars are too heavy and big in size..!
None of my friends are ready to believe even now that Vista,palio.swift,dzire,linea,punto share the same engine and its manufactured by FIAT.
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