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Old 6th November 2010, 11:46   #1
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Thumbs up Is a man known by the car he drives? Or What's in a Car?

Hi Everyone,

Shakespeare asked 'What's in a name?'
As a Team BHPian I'll ask 'What's in a car?"

As I close in on the Alto K 1000 tomorrow, I am faced with a unique predicament. My budget was up to 5.25 lacs and I went to see all the cars in these segments. I saw many cars but in terms of road view, driving comfort and mileage (70 kms per day) and other parameters I could like only two cars. They are both at the extreme ends of my purchase spectrum.They were Indica Vista Quadrajet and Alto K 1000.

Since Indica Vista Quadrajet suited my budgets and would pay its extra cost in a matter of 2 years it seemed a sensible decision. In Alto K 1000 I will have to retrofit a CNG and stand in queues for 15 minutes every alternate day. I will also have to wait for approval on CNG kit that will take maybe 2 months and pay for the extra spends on petrol till then.

But going through the gems of information in Team BHP threads I realized the following truths about Tata. Please dont mistake me as a Tata baiter/basher. I have immense respect for Ratan Tata. These truths I distilled here are from all the threads I read. They are a jist of them.

>There is a 70:30 per cent chance of getting a perfect car from Tata. Within the 30 per cent can be really bad cars, 70 per cent are the pretty good ones with a few ignorable niggles. Though this is a vast improvement over 30:70 since the time Tata started, it would take another 5 years for Tata to deliver 95 percent good cars. Then it would beat Maruti, for sure in terms of price, features and everything else.

>In this sense buying a Tata car is a bit of a lottery and in their growth without a joint venture (savings, cheaper cars) they are using customers as a guinea pig. Those who have time and can afford repeat visits to service centres (business people, or people who have drivers, or people with an alternate set of cars) would gain from this pricing and extra features for same price. But for a guy like me who is an employee in a private sector, and with only one car and no driver, this is simply out of question.

>Tata is a good car also from the extra features it offers over the competition at the price bands. So people who are feature driven, experimenting and above all generous at heart, patriotic and willing to support an underdog will go any lengths to support the venture and that is why Tata has grown by leaps and bounds

>5 years down the line, Tata till be at par with Maruti in terms of products and service levels, certainly not now

>The staff quality of Tata is comparatively below standard compared to Hyundai, Maruti etc. The attitude 'We are doing a favour to you by selling a cheaper car' shows. When you price something cheap, you dont have to struggle to sell it, it will sell automatically: this is the Tata bottomline. The same truth prevails when it came to service horror stories.

So a Tata product, from my point of view, after a study of all the threads and more, over 5 days was out and on account of A pillar views, proven car, minimum blind spots, fuel efficiency, good service levels and reliability I am stuck with Alto K 1000. It was extremely difficult to let go of the Tata Indica Vista (the heart leaped for it but the brain made it quiet). The difference in their EMIs at 85% finance is merely 2,000 per month (affordable for me) for the convenience (no CNG queues, I have a CNG kit in my Maruti and know what it means) and savings in Diesel.


Seeing my choice my family is a bit disappointed. From a society point of view everyone in the family and my friends feel that my image will take a beating. My son suggests me to watch 'Do duni Chaar' before buying an Alto! They have nothing against the car but they feel that it doesnt go with my image. Which is why this thread.

Every car has a string of characteristics attached to it. So is a driver known by his car? Is it necessary to buy cars from a social standing point of view rather than practicality?

I also would like to contribute to the environment if I can help, but not at the cost of my convenience. All cars are in the market essentially because govts gave permission. But even if I had lots of money driving an SUV that guzzles 1 litre of petrol for every 4 kilometers driven (CRV) would be a burden on my mind. It is my mind, no offense to people who love a Honda CRV. For them status, power and elegance is important and I respect their choice.


So here are my characteristics that come with a car. Do they define the drivers who drive them?

>Budget cars - For the budget conscious (Maruti, Nano, Santro, Alto). Is the driver a miser, from a typical middle middle class? A face in the crowd, a pushover (I am in this one so I am not insulting anyone please!!!!!)

>Proven Cars - For whom after sales service and reliability is essential. Is this guy the logic driven guy who wears black suits and has maths figures in his head.

>Value for Money Cars - Guy who wants more bang per buck spent. Same as above.

>Status cars - For the guy who has lots of money and wants to show his well earned success to the world (BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Safari, Altis, Cruze etc). Is this guy the one who has arrived in the society - A swash buckler, epitome of success?

>New Cars -For the stylistic, young, experimenting, peppy crowd with disposable income and a care a hoot attitude (Figo, Beat, Punto). Does this driver wear earrings, has streaked hair, cargo pants and is continuously changing his appearance? Does this driver will also have tattoos on his body?

>Powerful cars - These people need lots of power to be ahead of everyone (Safari, Fortuner etc.). Does this driver a regular gym goer, tall, macho and maybe a six footer?

>Safe cars - Mercedes, Skoda, SUVs etc. With crores worth of businesses, and empires, the occupants of these cars are very clear about the safety
they want. Are these guys rich tycoons with generations of success behind them

>Eco-friendly cars - Hybrids, ( I dont know if we have them here, Honda might have), fuel efficient cars (Alto, Beat, i10). Are the driver of these cars New Age thinkers who think of earth as their home too and wouldnt mind a bit of a knocking themselves to save earth from all its troubles? The

The fun element apart, seriously and obviously whoever buys these cars there will be bound to be a cross purpose of objectives - A very rich, successful guy might wish to be innovative and may fall in love with say a Figo. A man like Narayan Murti may keep driving a Maruti. These are exceptions rather than the rule. But the moot point is: Do our cars define us? Or it doesnt matter? Are they just four wheels or a mirror to your soul?

So should buying according to your status should be the criteria or your driving passion be the one. I mean should you go according to what you feel is right for you (features, technicalities etc., like I am doing)

If we go by the spirit of Team BHP, perhaps I know the answer. Yet, please understand that being in Forums and driving in the real world are two different things.

Am I doing a sensible thing in choosing an Alto K 1000? What I seek is not an advice on a list of other cars I can possibly, but the fundamental 'rightness' or 'wrongness' of my decision.

This decision is not just mine, it could be yours in the near future.

Please help with your comments.

Happy driving. Belated Happy Diwali!
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Old 6th November 2010, 19:15   #2
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Well, it depends on what purpose you will be using the car for. If it's a family hatchback, the INDICA Vista is the way to go, but if its an individual wanting a zippy, easy to park, easy to maneuver car in which most of the time the backseats are left unused, then the K10 comes into the picture.

Of course an ALTO is an ALTO is a puny car, but you might not get that much of snob value from the INDICA either. Sure, the new design is eye catching, but it is nothing to brag about. What you get in the Indica is oodles of space, a good diesel engine, and the feature list to match.

Well all I can say is that anyone driving a bread & butter hatchback belongs to the Indian middle class, so, exclusivity is something not sought after here. All one requires is a point to point car which is economical to own.

Regarding the central thought of this thread,

"You are your best judge"

No matter what goes with your image or what doesn't. What's important is that you don't regret the choice you make. A car definitely is an extension of one's personality and therefore it is important you make the right choice instead of thinking "Log kya sochenge ? (What will people think?)"
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Old 6th November 2010, 19:32   #3
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Whether a car defines a person, I am not sure about it. A person's choice may be constrained due to budget or availability of car itself.

I would like to call it as: A person is- how s/he treats his/her car. (Similar dialogue was there in "Transporter" movie.
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Old 6th November 2010, 19:45   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive_or_die View Post
Whether a car defines a person, I am not sure about it. A person's choice may be constrained due to budget or availability of car itself.

I would like to call it as: A person is- how s/he treats his/her car. (Similar dialogue was there in "Transporter" movie.
I completely concord the above statement. When I was in the market, my budget was strict 6L, and later we stretched to 7L and bought a Diesel Dzire. Although my initial and only choice was Scorpio (new/used didn't matter),I had to yield to my family's requirement and let go the Scorpio idea.

I think 'A person is how he treats his car' is apt and true
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Old 6th November 2010, 20:11   #5
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Yes , i clearly believe that a person is known by the car he has + the way he maintains her.

A good high end car maintained and kept clean shows that the person is pretty cool and very well behaved and polite.

A normal car which is kept very dirty means that the guy has a very bad personal hygiene first and secondly he is very clumsy and irresponsible.
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Old 6th November 2010, 20:46   #6
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The car definitely defines a person.

But IT IS NOT the price of the cars that defines.
The reasons he chooses one over the others gives an idea about his/her thought process.

And btw, why do you care what others think your choice is good or bad?
If you think it is good for you it is good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
A good high end car maintained and kept clean shows that the person is pretty cool and very well behaved and polite.

A normal car which is kept very dirty means that the guy has a very bad personal hygiene first and secondly he is very clumsy and irresponsible.
That is a very dumb generalization. A persons car maybe dirty because he may have only time on weekends to clean it. If there are small kids the cars can be dirtier sooner. How does your generalization work then? Guys with kids are clumsy and irresponsible?
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Old 6th November 2010, 21:06   #7
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I am going to cop some serious flak for this post, but hey...I didn't start it!. Views are personal and totally not rooted in rationality! So here goes, my list of cars and the image associated with its owner:

Nano: Solid patriotic good guy who doesn't care much for trappings of "status".
Indica: Hardworking and earnest guy who feels good riding an Indian car.
Vista: Sensible and upwardly mobile guy in his 30s.
Alto/M800: Youngster who got a great deal and wanted to upgrade from a bike. Alternatively, enthusiast who just can't part with his old memory-maker.
i10: Smart & sensible city-dweller. Kinda guy you'd call in a crisis.
Getz: Sensible guy to the point of being boring.Probably a doctor or accountant.
i20: Smart, urbane, flashy dude who's travelled a bit and won't be caught dead wearing unbranded stuff.
Swift: Smart and worldly but not overly flashy. Loves having family and friends over. Has friends in all age groups.
Swift Dzire: Family man with feet firmly planted on the ground.
SX4: Upper-middle class guy, self-employed, big fan of Hindi movies.
Accent: Somewhat shy with the girls. Loves music. Probably writes a bit on the side. Has a boring but steady job.
Verna: Middle-level manager. Doesn't care for flashiness and has feet firmly planted on the ground despite spending time abroad.
Ikon/Fiesta: Understated guy, reasonably successful at work but a down-to-earth guy who secretly dreams of wealth and greatness.
City: Successful professional who feels he has arrived in life. Doesn't sweat the small stuff but knows value when he sees it.
Jazz: Knows quality when he sees it. Has a great-looking girlfriend. Doesn't hide the fact that he gets facials and hair spas done.

Last edited by noopster : 6th November 2010 at 21:09.
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Old 6th November 2010, 21:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive_or_die View Post
Whether a car defines a person, I am not sure about it. A person's choice may be constrained due to budget or availability of car itself.
I don't quite agree with this; within any budget, one can find cars that appeal to or define one's personality.
For example, at 4.5 lakhs, a buyer can choose between the Beat (young, futuristic styling), or the i10/figo/Ritz (typical everyday hatch) etc.
At 6.5 lakhs, between the i20 (feature-rich), the Polo (badge, "German lineage"), the Punto (driver's car) or Dzire/Logan/Manza (three-box car)
At 10 lakhs the City/Vento/Linea (compact family car), the Safari (VFM homegrown SUV), Scorpio (tough guy's car), or the Innova (practical people-mover)
At 30 lakhs the C class (3-pointed star), the 3 Series (driver's car), or the A4 (bling)
Even when it comes to hyper-luxury barges, Bentley is identified with noveau riche and Rolls Royce with old money.

But yes, whatever car one owns, the way it has been maintained does tell upon the owner!
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Old 6th November 2010, 22:08   #9
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if I were in your shoes, I'd take the figo with my eyes closed. Super sensible car - spares arent as expensive as Ikon was. 50000 havent been sold without reason. The aam aadmi has voted with his feet for the Figo. Try it atleast!
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Old 6th November 2010, 22:20   #10
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Come on.

How can a machine on 4 wheels define a person ? Sorry but the thought is childish to say the least.

Not even the greatest of material possessions can define or change a man. Enough said.
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Old 6th November 2010, 22:21   #11
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Quote:
Is a man known by the car he drives? Or What's in a Car?
Depends on your expectations from the car. If we leave the Ego factor apart, Tata Vista is a far superior car compared to the Alto. But since Alto fulfills your requirements, do not regret.

I'd buy a more expensive car not because i want to make my neighbors jealous, just because i love car's. I put my money for a car which fulfills my requirements in best possible way.
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Old 6th November 2010, 23:38   #12
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I have wondered about this subject myself many times.

My conclusion is that- we all are part of a society and behave as the society expects us to. Well, but then you also need to pay the price - and that's where the confusion starts.
Strong men do what they think is right and break the rule. Others just follow the rule - just my opinion !!!
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Old 6th November 2010, 23:41   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
I am going to cop some serious flak for this post, but hey...I didn't start it!. Views are personal and totally not rooted in rationality! So here goes, my list of cars and the image associated with its owner:

Nano: Solid patriotic good guy who doesn't care much for trappings of "status".
Indica: Hardworking and earnest guy who feels good riding an Indian car.
Vista: Sensible and upwardly mobile guy in his 30s.
Alto/M800: Youngster who got a great deal and wanted to upgrade from a bike. Alternatively, enthusiast who just can't part with his old memory-maker.
i10: Smart & sensible city-dweller. Kinda guy you'd call in a crisis.
Getz: Sensible guy to the point of being boring.Probably a doctor or accountant.
i20: Smart, urbane, flashy dude who's travelled a bit and won't be caught dead wearing unbranded stuff.
Swift: Smart and worldly but not overly flashy. Loves having family and friends over. Has friends in all age groups.
Swift Dzire: Family man with feet firmly planted on the ground.
SX4: Upper-middle class guy, self-employed, big fan of Hindi movies.
Accent: Somewhat shy with the girls. Loves music. Probably writes a bit on the side. Has a boring but steady job.
Verna: Middle-level manager. Doesn't care for flashiness and has feet firmly planted on the ground despite spending time abroad.
Ikon/Fiesta: Understated guy, reasonably successful at work but a down-to-earth guy who secretly dreams of wealth and greatness.
City: Successful professional who feels he has arrived in life. Doesn't sweat the small stuff but knows value when he sees it.
Jazz: Knows quality when he sees it. Has a great-looking girlfriend. Doesn't hide the fact that he gets facials and hair spas done.
I love this response. Fantastic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Depends on your expectations from the car. If we leave the Ego factor apart, Tata Vista is a far superior car compared to the Alto. But since Alto fulfills your requirements, do not regret.

I'd buy a more expensive car not because i want to make my neighbors jealous, just because i love car's. I put my money for a car which fulfills my requirements in best possible way.
Thanks. Your views are extremely balanced. No wonder you are a moderator!

Last edited by .anshuman : 7th November 2010 at 00:26. Reason: Please avoid back to back posts. Use edit button if posting within 20mins.
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Old 7th November 2010, 00:08   #14
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Very interesting thread!

Well.. I'd like to put it this way. A person who buys, let's say, a Santro because of budget constraints might be content with his purchase, but would have liked to drive something else. A person who buys a Santro because it's value for money even though he can afford something more expensive, I'd say he's content either way and wouldn't want more. On the other hand, a person who buys an i20 because he wanted to and loves it, well, he's the sort of guy who would've been OK driving a Santro but he didn't mind spending that little extra so that he could drive the car of his dreams.

Whether or not it suits him is all in the mind. But that's what matters, right?

See, I'm a student and I drive a Santro. It isn't my kind of car but I don't have much of a choice since I'm not earning yet. I'd be better off with a car like a Jazz (which we as a family own) or a Laura. Ideally, I'd love to own a Porsche 911 Carrera someday. And I believe that all these dream cars suit me to the tee. Others might think otherwise, for their own reasons.

I believe that if you love a car, then it makes you who you are.

I respect my Santro for it's ability to weave through traffic and provide me with comforts that several people in India (and all over the World) crave for. But I most certainly don't love it. And hence, it doesn't make me who I am!

EDIT: P.S. The perfect car for you IMO, a Ford Figo!

Last edited by suhaas307 : 7th November 2010 at 00:14.
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Old 7th November 2010, 00:24   #15
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syravi, I can identify with a part of your experiences. Simply put, a lot of people in today's scenario look at what you are driving. They, similarly, look at what you are wearing and where you are staying. It's part of our social set-up. I hate it, but that's the way it is.

Personally, I would go for a car I can afford to buy and maintain comfortably. Obviously, that's the first criterion. Depending upon what kind of an enthusiast (assuming you are one, since you are on TBHP), you can choose whatever fits your requirements in terms of safety, space, fuel economy, driveability, reliability and an overall "feel" of the car.

TBHP is full of people who have bought Palios (like me) instead of Swifts, Lancer Cedias instead of Citys and Vernas, Outlanders instead of CR-Vs, Gurkhas instead of Safaris / Scorpios etc etc. They have basically followed their hearts and made choices which are unpopular from the layman's and even some enthusiast's points of view. The beauty of this forum is that we still respect their choices as well as congratulate them heartily on the initial ownership reports.

I, for one, would never buy a bigger, flashier and thirsty car just for image. I am not an FE freak, but if I can get 18 kpl on a diesel hatchback and manage, I don't see why I need an SUV which does 12 kpl and also occupy more road and parking space unless I am transporting a family of seven?

Just make your own informed choices and to hell with the image.

Last edited by architect : 7th November 2010 at 00:26.
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