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Old 5th August 2010, 17:26   #1
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Default Are we getting spoilt with choice?

I was scouting for a car below 6 lacs for my friend and was really surprised with the choice available. I always knew that this particular segment is crowded but the actual numbers just shook me!!

< 3 lacs : 10 options
3 - 4 lacs: 35 options (+2 with the launch of Alto K10)
4 - 6 lacs: 45 options

Total: 90 different models to chose from

Well this sure should be good news for the customer but if you really think about it, unless you know EXACTLY what you want, you are in for a long ride before finalising on a model.

Some questions which popped up are:

1. Is the market so really big in this segment?
2. Are the makers creating variants for the same model just to confuse the customer? (The age old marketing mantra is "if you cannot convince, then confuse" )
3. Will it not be easier for the customer if he/she is given just one option per model and all other variants are sold as accessories (no more Lxi, Vxi etc)?

This is just the <6 lacs segment. I wonder how many variants are available on a whole.
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Old 5th August 2010, 18:23   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajman28 View Post
Total: 90 different models to chose from
Yep, Customer is the king and the winner when it comes to war between car/product companies.

Quote:
unless you know EXACTLY what you want, you are in for a long ride before finalising on a model.


Quote:
Some questions which popped up are:

1. Is the market so really big in this segment?
Demand and supply should go and mostly do go hand in hand.

Quote:
2. Are the makers creating variants for the same model just to confuse the customer? (The age old marketing mantra is "if you cannot convince, then confuse" )
Now, this depends on what the competition is offering. Eg. If TATAs launch a sedan with 1.4 ltr mill for 5 lakhs and MUL comes up with a 1.5 Ltr sedan for the same price then the TATAs would like to make up for lag by introducing another variant of the same model with an equivalent engine so that the customer have another option to consider.

In India it is still better, here the competion is so severe that even the car designs of 2 different companies are look alikes sometimes. Eg a particular model from Chrysler and Chevorlet. I will try to give you a visual comparo sometime when I find the pictures.

Quote:
3. Will it not be easier for the customer if he/she is given just one option per model and all other variants are sold as accessories (no more Lxi, Vxi etc)?
I believe thats the point. The variant badging that comes after a particular base model badge eg a Baleno or a Lancer or even a Cedia (Sports, Select..) lets the customer know that there is some difference between the same model.
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This is just the <6 lacs segment. I wonder how many variants are available on a whole.
Many.
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Old 5th August 2010, 18:35   #3
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No we are not.
We just have few options compared to other markets. Ofcourse this is better than a decade ago.

Your numbers give a feeling of lot of choices because it include variants. I feel that is not a very wise thing to do.

The customer usually zeroes in on a model, and then try to find the variant according to his budget. OR. He has a list of features and he selects the models which has all these features and decides between these.

Check out the numbers without the variants, and you will see we are not flooded with choices.
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Old 5th August 2010, 18:36   #4
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Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
In India it is still better, here the competion is so severe that even the car designs of 2 different companies are look alikes sometimes. Eg a particular model from Chrysler and Chevorlet. I will try to give you a visual comparo sometime when I find the pictures.
How severe is the competition outside? Which is the "cramped" segment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
I believe thats the point. The variant badging that comes after a particular base model badge eg a Baleno or a Lancer or even a Cedia (Sports, Select..) lets the customer know that there is some difference between the same model.
The problem we often find here is that an Lxi offers you "a,b,c" accessories and the Vxi offers you "a,b,c,x,y,z" accessories. But a customer requires "a,b,y,z", which is not one of the options available. So very often the customer pays extra for features "c & x" which is not required.

So my point is, we have one model which can be customised. It will definitely increase the delivery period, but I am sure many folks wouldn't mind the wait.
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Old 5th August 2010, 18:37   #5
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I have quite a different opinion on this.

1. I feel the figure of 90 is inflated since variants are stictly not 'car' options. I prefer to omit the variants and strictly look at the number of car models i can choose from. I can always add accessories as i need them (true, some can't be added after market, iam aware).

2. Indian customer is left to hold the short end of the stick due to silly govt. regulations (eg. 1.2 L cap on petrol small car). This makes almost all cars SIMILAR in character - except in looks and fit/finish levels. What i would have truly wanted would be difference in performance / mileage and the customer goes about choosing as per his requirement. Nowadays, almost all new launches (Alto k10 and Swift 1.2 are exceptions) feel basically the same - anaemic and dull to drive. Iam talking petrol cars here. Among Diesel hatches, there is ofcouse a wide range of experiences.

3. Compared to the average Joe abroad, we still face a drought as far as 'true' choices are concerned. They have a buffet to choose from, while for me its still a 'set-meals' with all the items basically being same, just packaged differently

Last edited by WindRide : 5th August 2010 at 18:42.
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Old 5th August 2010, 18:39   #6
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Well I'm sure that the customer will have some preferance iin his mind, say a Maruthi or a TATA. Or maybe it's the model like a Linea that he might have oin his mind. And he would also have a fixed budget. If we don't consider the variants in each model then the 90 number should come down a lot thus making his choice simpler.
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Old 5th August 2010, 18:43   #7
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Nowhere near spoilt for choice! Polo has come, Micra is ariving. What about Yaris? What about Ford Ka? Probably a good few others I can't even think of the manufacturer just now. let alone the models!
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Old 5th August 2010, 18:50   #8
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This is what I am talking about. There are many variants to chose from. Typically there will be 3-4 variants per model per manufacturer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajman28 View Post
How severe is the competition outside? Which is the "cramped" segment?
The small car is the only one which is not cramped at least in the US. UK I have seen more small cars.
But there even it is not cramped exactly. Dubai and ilk the mid size and SUVs rule. But that was
a long time ago. Now the scene must be different.
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Last edited by prince_pervez : 5th August 2010 at 18:53.
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Old 5th August 2010, 19:11   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajman28 View Post
I was scouting for a car below 6 lacs for my friend and was really surprised with the choice available. I always knew that this particular segment is crowded but the actual numbers just shook me!!

< 3 lacs : 10 options
3 - 4 lacs: 35 options (+2 with the launch of Alto K10)
4 - 6 lacs: 45 options

Total: 90 different models to chose from

Some questions which popped up are:

1. Is the market so really big in this segment?
2. Are the makers creating variants for the same model just to confuse the customer? (The age old marketing mantra is "if you cannot convince, then confuse" )
3. Will it not be easier for the customer if he/she is given just one option per model and all other variants are sold as accessories (no more Lxi, Vxi etc)?
The market you are referring to is the market where the volumes exist which are not showing signs of stalling.
Real issue is what we are getting is a bit off what EU customers get. The best example is the 1.2L motors. We end up paying upto Rs. 6 lakh in some cases and are getting 1.2L three cylinder motors. The real VFM deals like Swift Dzire and Manza are very rare to get. Take the case of Micra although the car is present in Indian market, how many dealers are there ? Somebody living in a city like mine dont have the option open.

Take the case of Polo coming with 3 cylinder motors and relatively under-equipped. Yes, the quality is really nice but there is more than a fair compromise.

Overall, IMO, the real VFM deals are becoming less, specially due to 1.2l norms. And the overall product are not as complete as one expects a Rs. 5.5-6 lakh product to be.
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Old 5th August 2010, 23:13   #10
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My view is quite diff compare AJMAN. We have very limited option in Indian Market. Company in India does not phase out the age old model and bring a new one. So the choice is added not replaced. If you forget about the variant then we can count the model for each company.
At present in South Africa while I jus walk in the parking its very rare to find 2 same model of car parking. Every day on the road I found a new car
This calls options...
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Old 5th August 2010, 23:31   #11
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The car buying process in India is different. Hence, you get so many choices.
When a typical Indian goes to buy a car in this segment (i.e <6 lakhs) -
First he decides a budget, then looks at the A.S.S, then the resale value and then chooses the model.
Now after deciding the model come the Features, and he looks at the best possible features in that price tag to obtain a VFM product.
So, Companies do not want to lose customers just because the car is priced low because of less features, or because the car is fully loaded but way out of reach of a customer.
So, they choose to be Diplomatic and try and satisfy the customer with Whatever budget he has got so that the customer gets the variant he likes and stays with their brand.

just my 2 cents.
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Old 6th August 2010, 00:47   #12
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Actually I don't think so. There aren't too many "all-rounder" cars, unlike in the western countries. Most of the cars fail on one aspect or another, or are incredibly pricey. I think we are just getting like 10% the choice we deserve, for the money we plonk on a car.
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Old 6th August 2010, 02:19   #13
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I don't see a lot of options in india but yes the options are increasing day by day.
But on a level I don't think different variants actually means there is more variety. The basic thing still remains you select one car out of a few and then choose a variant of that.

Personally when looking at different variants, am more concerned about if the car is any different mechanically followed by safety features rest all taking a side seat.

Specifically see the hot hatch segment. Lets see what we have in that segment hmm... nothing. No Golf GTi no Mini Cooper S no Civic type R. I think there is a long way to go before we actually feel that we have enough choices. And then for people like me it may never happen .
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Old 6th August 2010, 08:04   #14
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Not at all, we do not have many options. We might have 90 variants but far lessernumber of choice. Some are underpowered, overpriced, have bad a.s.s, have bad resale, bad plastics, bad build etc etc. I'm not at all satisfied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
This is what I am talking about. There are many variants to chose from. Typically there will be 3-4 variants per model per manufacturer.
These cars are such an eyesore on the U.S. roads, the Chevy HHR and the PT Cruiser. I drove the HHR once and its really cramped and handling is bad.

Last edited by blue_pulsar : 6th August 2010 at 08:11.
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Old 6th August 2010, 08:20   #15
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Originally Posted by blue_pulsar View Post
Not at all, we do not have many options. We might have 90 variants but far lessernumber of choice. Some are underpowered, overpriced, have bad a.s.s, have bad resale, bad plastics, bad build etc etc. I'm not at all satisfied.


These cars are such an eyesore on the U.S. roads, the Chevy HHR and the PT Cruiser. I drove the HHR once and its really cramped and handling is bad.
This is what makes a case of the OP thinking about many choices when there aren't many. Ideal case in point, Maruti W/R, Estilo, A* & now the Alto K10 share the same engine, basic kit level, A.$.$,and except the W/R, the others are similar in size too. So what you actually get is the same car with different bits & pieces from the Maruti parts bin. There are currently only compromises/ single contenders available in the Premium Performance hatchback segment, which is expected to rise from the ashes when the Fiesta hatch and/or Polo 1.6 storm the market.
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