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Old 3rd November 2005, 02:24   #1
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Default Does it matter what “we” think?

Does it matter what “we” think?


Let me first clarify that by “we” I am referring to TeamBHP community & all similar communities too also known as Indian Automobile Enthusiast Communities
I have taken all exampled which I feel are appropriate, no offence is ment to anyone in any way

There are lot of members on TeamBHP who think that New Honda City is under powered (I personally love that car) which may be OR may not be true. However if we look around we can clearly see that there is already waiting period for such car.
So my basic question is “in countries like India does it really matter what bunch of automobile enthusiast people think?”

because “we” are a small bunch out of vast market.
Automobile market is consumer driven market, manufacturers have to produce what market wants. Now in our country people spend considerable amount of their income on fuel so it is obvious that in such place cars with better fuel efficiency are preferred. But which means slow, sluggish cars. Being an auto enthusiast “we” might hate such cars. But “we” can not drive the market towards better cars.

Same is the case with Maruti 800. Fairly basic car, low on safety but it is the only car which most people can afford. I personally would like to see M800 being discontinued however then what should the consumers do towards which it is marketed?
So unless and until such consumers are not moving towards better safe, refined cars M800 won't be phased out.

Now such people will go for better cars
1.If consumers are educated & are made aware about benefits of better cars, safety etc
2.Under influence of another person.

I will like to dig into second point as first point has been discussed lots of times till now

Under the influence – I am not aware of any surveys conducted about how much kids (of what age limit) influence on the decision of family buying car.
Lets for example say that 25% of countries teenagers influence their parents to go for performance oriented cars
If that is the case then automobile companies will market their product towards those teenagers than marketing it towards parents

OR

When people will get aware about the different aspects of the cars & seek opinion of knowledgeable person while buying a car e.g. Your neighbor seeking your opinion about safety, reliability and other points while choosing car

If such things starts to happen then automobile companies will start to advertise their products in different ways.
Meaning car ads will not have actors but will show crash tests & its result etc. and car marketing will be done in very different way than it is done currently
Car makers will have to bring out products with better safety systems, better reliability for which consumer will be ready to pay that price.


At the end to answer the question which started it all, what “we” think will matter when “they” will become “one of us”; meaning when Indian consumer will get educated about automobiles & will start to look beyond looks & appeal and will begin respecting security, safety, reliability etc features
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Old 3rd November 2005, 02:28   #2
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Nice write -up Adya ..... but then again as I can easily put it ...
In an economy driven primarily by saving money and cost control it will take a hell lot of time to change the 'THEY' to 'WE'
Cheers

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Old 3rd November 2005, 02:56   #3
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Adya, I partly agree and partly dont to what you have said. Let me tell you one thing,,the younger generation is the future of the industry and what they want cannot be undermined considering several constraints like fuel economy, bad roads etc...as we consumers keep complaining and keep buying whet we want(pretty human actualy)!!! Just for example, we at Tbhp have loads of OHC, Baleno and Skoda fanatics and mind you all these cars are not just power but top of the line fuel economy as well.

The NHC wasnt all that appreciated in here is predominantly coz of its shape and not coz its underpowered. Everyone here knows it damn well that th NHC has a great ride quality(not sure of handling) , great economy and overall practicality but a consumer who can afford that car wouldnt bother 1 or so kmpl lesser in contrast to few bhps more if possible, at the same package cost. Remmember "WE" are enthusiasts, not just drivers or commuters...that gives us the right to ask more, than few companies have to offer in their products. As a matter of fact we are the people who push industries and companies into advancing and improving their products and others would use it being mute at all... There were days when we were at a loss of option and had to settle with what we were offered but today with all the heat building within several companies the game is all about giving the consumer that one thing that they have been deprived of with other products and thats exactly where the companies would need people like us to get them insync with the standard requirement in the industry.

If you look at this furum alone closely, you might find a caliedoscope of likes and dislikes...but at the end of all the friction and commotion, we as mature consumers endup verdicting on whats good, whats better and whats best and though few of them would continue contradicting, the majority is convinced in their minds...Now, the end result that we derive out all the brianstorming is I think invaluable to a developing company!!!

To sum it up, there wouldnt be forums like this one if there wasnt a critical output, as most of us know what we are talking and I reckon every bit of it is worth paying a closer attention...

Indian Automobile companies "Are you listening"????"Are you considering"????

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Old 3rd November 2005, 03:53   #4
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My two cents...

As in any opportunity. The Supply is geared to meet up the Demand in the market. Less than 15 years ago, predominantly, the market consisted of Amby's and 800s and the people were buying them in hordes.

Adya's point is well taken about people buying cars predominantly on FE. But, the other side of the coin is that the masses are getting exposed to newer technology which while being performance driven doesn't necessarily comprise on FE. The Indian Auto companies will only give the people what they think the people will pay for happily. Few years ago, we were thinking whether a 10 Lac Rs/- car would sell in India and today they happily co-exist with the 800s and Santros.

The point here is that.. "They" refers to the market as it exists today while "We" ( The Auto forums) refers to the market that should be and as you can understand from the 15 year transition, both are required to take the market to the next level.

" 'They' to sustain it, 'We' to drive the next generation".

Thanks and regards,
Sumit
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Old 3rd November 2005, 08:38   #5
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Adya

I beg to differ - there is no "US" and "THEM" in the market. There are many more enthusiasts out there who are not yet part of the forum. Even the so called 'common buyer' does his own research before buying a car, because a majority of buyers today are buying with borrowed funds and not necessarily their own. You will be surprised at the amount of research, testing and reading that an A-Segment car buyer does before finally going in for his 800 or Alto, because these are usually the first cars in his life and he has to choose between these or 2nd hand cars that are also available for the same price.

Let us not generalise that the older generation is not in favour of performance. There are many old boy-racers I know of who are extremely well read about automobiles, know their engines inside out, and yet drive a NHC or a Corolla - cars that dont seem to fall within what you call "our" choice of vehicles.

While many of us love 'performance oriented' vehicles, it remains to be seen how many of us actually buy these machines when it comes to making that all-important decision in your life. And I'm not speaking here about spending Daddy's money or grandfather's money - I am talking about people who are spending their own hard earned cash. Put yourselves in that position and you will realise that BHP alone is not what matters - you have family to carry around so you need comfort and space, you have 50 kms to commute so you definitely need economy, you dont have time to spend in the workshop so reliability is important, you're already paying through your nose for the car so you need reasonably priced spares and good service backup, you need good ride quality and not sharp handling, you need power but that is if all the above permit....

Dont you think these are enough reasons why the C-Segment, which is not as volume driven like the A/B segments, has a sales chart that reads like this(Source Autocar India) for September 2005:

1. Hyundai Accent

2. Tata Indigo/Marina

3. NHC

Instead of lamenting why 'they' cant be more like 'us', we should probably analyze why these cars which are invariably NEVER recommended or discussed on the forum are setting the sales charts ablaze. What makes them tick is what the market wants. Enthusiasts can pick other cars and customise them - the numbers dont matter.

The question is not whether THEY can become like us. The question is whether WE are in touch with reality, which is where THEY come from.
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Old 3rd November 2005, 10:20   #6
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Gotta realize that India is a country where young people mostly drive motorcycles. There are very few who can afford cars (although that number is growing rapidly) but thats still a drop in a bucket compared to developed countries.

That is why we dont have sports cars or sporty cars, where as in the bike market we have sporty models like the Zma and the Pulsar.
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Old 3rd November 2005, 10:25   #7
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Given a choice any Indian consumer would go for a car that provides him / her the most bang for the buck... the only difference here the bang typically means lower total cost of ownership (including fuel and maintenance costs). I really do not know if safety is such a critical feature in the buyers minds here as most of the small segment cars fall poorly short of it. I still personally know people who would prefer cars without airbags as it costs a bomb to get them replaced once they have been inflated.

One of the key reasons for the lack of choice/awareness is the hefty prices of the cars in India as compared to the worldwide pricing. As for the survey the result almost always turns out to be skewed, on great example I personally found when I was researching in 1995 about the dismal sales of the Bullet, I found most of the market ( 18- 25) wanted to own one, however in a follow up a month later about purchase decisions found that they still dreamed of owning one but the costs turned out to be too high for a purchase decision.

Personally I too love building fast and reliable cars however I drive a conti as I my current income does not permit me to look at a new vehicle for quite some time to come, and yes my purchase decision for the next car is still not towards FE or maintainability, on the other hand my brother is on the lookout to replace his esteem and FE means the world to him, as for my dad he still thinks that his premier padmini was the best car he ever owned as his total cost of ownership for the car never crossed 1.2 lakhs in the 14 years he owned it( he only did 30,000km in 14 years), his obvious choice for a car still happens to be a M800.
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Old 3rd November 2005, 10:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho
other hand my brother is on the lookout to replace his esteem and FE means the world to him, as for my dad he still thinks that his premier padmini was the best car he ever owned as his total cost of ownership for the car never crossed 1.2 lakhs in the 14 years he owned it( he only did 30,000km in 14 years), his obvious choice for a car still happens to be a M800.

What people do not realise is that depreciation is the real killer, you might spend Rs 500,000 to save Rs 10000 per annum overall. Can understand moving from a 5km/ltr car to a 12km/ltr car but from 10 to 12 - well one is spending to split hairs

Sometimes, it is just an excuse to change - my cousin had a lovely E300 D w124 with 60000km on the clock - he wanted to change it as it might give trouble - we know the answer to that - it can run to 200k without a problem !!! He just wanted a new car !!
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Old 3rd November 2005, 11:59   #9
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Let me put another angle to it. Forget others choosing what "we think". Lets talk about "us" choosing what we would like to.
We may want a high powered car with ABS. EBD. Airbags and 3+ NCAP rating, but when we come to make the purchase we choose what fits out budget the best. When actual purchase decision is to be made we would look more towards VFM rather than the complete bang. Well most of us anyways.

3 years ago I bought the Tata Indica, which has just the opposite of what I want in a car. The budget took precedence. This is not just my story. We all hang on to VFM. Thats why you have so many Hyundais, Marutis and Tatas on this forum. Accent crdi is a great drivers car with a lovely engine, but when it would come to making the purchase, the purses would be loosened more easily for the Indigo.
Mods : A couple of months ago I had made a list of all the cars sold in india since past 5 years or so. I still have it. We we could make a mega poll out of it we will actually get to know how enthusiast we really are
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Old 3rd November 2005, 12:16   #10
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The indian car market has definitely evolved and does see a good future, but we still seem to be paying much more for what we need to pay. Be it the 800 or the Merc, definitely needs to be re-priced to it's acutal value. Today the indian consumer has the money to afford any kind of car, but what is the point and why should we be paying almost double the money.

Why is that we need to smuggle cars into india?

The recent VAT and FBT rules do have a point ...but why is the govt not able to understand that with all this, the salaried class where most of the tax comes from is being Hit. If someone buys a car, there are a whole lot of sectors including the Govt that benifit....

Somehow feel that there is a feeling "anyway he's paying 10 L, he can pay another 10K More"...

This is when i feel i should Honk more...but who really cares !!
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Old 3rd November 2005, 13:16   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979
3 years ago I bought the Tata Indica, which has just the opposite of what I want in a car. The budget took precedence. This is not just my story. We all hang on to VFM.
Very true IMO too. The upfront cost of the car (not necessarily cost of ownership over a period of time - don't think too many people calculate that) does have a major influence in the 4-wheeler purchase decision for a large chunk of the market.

IMO, for the majority of purchasers, these are what matters
Cost of car
The upfront cost, discounts (oooo don't we love it), depreciation benefits for those buying in their companies name.

F.E.
It would matter somewhat if the usage is high, but again IMO people go by perceived FE/word of mouth, not necessarily from people who measure FE diligently and accurately. Also subsequent to the purchase, how many actually calculate their FE properly ? It's more peace of mind, believing that your car must be giving more FE than your neighbours.

Image/Looks/Status etc
This is very personal. It would be car (within a price range) that would give a person maximum pride/social acceptance.

Good AC
And then they keep it switched off to save fuel.

Features
Differs from person to person, but there are lots of people who fall prey to marketing gimmicks.

A/S/S and Maintenance costs
And then they don't bother to service the car properly on schedule, oblivious to the fact that in the long run, it will increase the cost of ownership.
I know a person who has logged 20K kms in 1 yr (100% city driving) and is yet to have any sort of servicing done (after the first free service) - Alto LX

Resale


This is a country where you can get your lunch from Rs. 10 to Rs. god-knows-what. There are options available across the board. One has the lunch one can afford.
Regarding over pricing. It's probably partly government policy and partly what one pays for image. A Skoda RS will charge a premium here since it falls in the premium segment. It does not in europe, so people wont pay a premium there.
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Old 4th November 2005, 21:17   #12
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@Steeroid : I think you got my point wrong
I am not whining about lack of performance cars or taking a cheap shot at older generation
rather I am trying to figure out that whether in young automobile market like India how much role does a bunch of auto enthusiasts play in driving market?
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Old 5th November 2005, 00:40   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adya33
@Steeroid : I think you got my point wrong
I am not whining about lack of performance cars or taking a cheap shot at older generation
rather I am trying to figure out that whether in young automobile market like India how much role does a bunch of auto enthusiasts play in driving market?
Well we seem to be making an impact on those who are online and tend to check up on the site, so do the auto mags tv serials when they feature / test cars, and so does the Finance ministry who draws up the taxes that affect our bottomlines. All the factors do add up and yes our demand for better equipped vehicles have newer players and models being released each day. 10 years ago one would never hear an AC as a standard fitment on a car, nor power steering and now one would never look at a car without these.

Cmon all we can do is keep asking for more and and we shall get it eventually. Otherwise we end up paying a premium to own it anyway.
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Old 11th December 2006, 17:49   #14
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Nice thread and some recent posts on team-bhp made me feel like renewing this thread:

The definition of a good car at team-bhp does not seem to be in line with what the average folks want.At present when the whole world[even the americans] are looking more for VFM cars we[team-bhpians but there are plenty of exceptions] just seem to be wanting a rocket on four wheels.Is an automobile enthusiast defined as the guy who drives muscle cars.We also seem to be very partial towards some brands.

Top speeds and 0-100 figures are being given most priority in team-bhp posts [Even though these top speeds are dangerously above speed limits,arent we folks advocating safety first approach here,BTW speed limits are 80-100kmph on our highways]

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Old 12th December 2006, 14:19   #15
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Default don't agree

[quote=adya33;136935]
Does it matter what “we” think?


Now such people will go for better cars
1.If consumers are educated & are made aware about benefits of better cars, safety etc
2.Under influence of another person.


I fall in first category, have driven cars in US for fairly long term and aware of all the benefits of better, safety etc and I choose to buy 5 speed m800. (period)

All the passive & active safetly system will not work if a drunk trunk driver overruns your car ... it doesn't matter if you have zero or six air bags.

It was a well though decision and I have got maximum ROI and maximum bang for the bucks I spent on this. Risks are always there, no matter how safe your car is certified to be. So how can you phase out m800 ? when the well educated, highly aware folks using all their abilities decide that m800 is the best bet.
Now you can extrapolate this reasoning to any car in any category.

From my own experience I have found out that at times many customers know more about our products than what our engineers know who built them ;-)
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