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Old 1st December 2010, 20:11   #1
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Default How did the Chevrolet Tavera End up as a Taxi?

The Chevrolet Tavera, a compact MPV based on the Isuzu Panther was introduced in Indonesia and later in India. It is also sold in Vietnam as the Isuzu Highlander.
It had a 2.5 L turbo diesel DI /80 PS/ 186 Nm engine originally, which according to the official GM India website still continues as its power plant. We were reading about the non-compliance of this engine with the new BS IV norms in the media reports. There were reports about the Sonalika Motors’ MPV, Rhino’s engine being considered as the Tavera's power plant, but the company website till today mentions nothing about any new engine. It is however now called as the Tavera NEO/ 2.
Coming to the moot point of this topic, it was a bit of a rough journey to observe the metamorphosis of this chic MPV into a people's carrier. Once considered chic and with a style quotient, being branded a Chevrolet, it was used by many classy people.
Lately, it has assumed the role of a taxi, offering tough competition to the Mahindra Bolero, Tata Sumo/Grande and the Ambassador and is also a suitable replacement for ageing Qualis' in their a taxi owner's fleet that may have clocked kms beyond their expectations.
I had sighted a few Taveras in Sikkim way back in 2006, with the yellow WB 74 ----number plates in the company of Sumos, Savaris and Maxxes. The journey from private ownership to the taxi trade had perhaps begun then.
How did this MPV acquire the TAXI tag? What all are the features and specifications these taxi people look into in any car or SUV/ MPV to make it acceptable to them?
I hope we can have a lively debate on these and other related questions here with our own viewpoints.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 1st December 2010 at 20:17.
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Old 1st December 2010, 20:24   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
The Chevrolet Tavera, a compact MPV based on the Isuzu Panther was introduced in Indonesia and later in India. It is also sold in Vietnam as the Isuzu Highlander.
It had a 2.5 L turbo diesel DI /80 PS/ 186 Nm engine originally, which according to the official GM India website still continues as its power plant. We were reading about the non-compliance of this engine with the new BS IV norms in the media reports. There were reports about the Sonalika Motors’ MPV, Rhino’s engine being considered as the Tavera's power plant, but the company website till today mentions nothing about any new engine. It is however now called as the Tavera NEO/ 2.
Coming to the moot point of this topic, it was a bit of a rough journey to observe the metamorphosis of this chic MPV into a people's carrier. Once considered chic and with a style quotient, being branded a Chevrolet, it was used by many classy people.
Lately, it has assumed the role of a taxi, offering tough competition to the Mahindra Bolero, Tata Sumo/Grande and the Ambassador and is also a suitable replacement for ageing Qualis' in their a taxi owner's fleet that may have clocked kms beyond their expectations.
I had sighted a few Taveras in Sikkim way back in 2006, with the yellow WB 74 ----number plates in the company of Sumos, Savaris and Maxxes. The journey from private ownership to the taxi trade had perhaps begun then.
How did this MPV acquire the TAXI tag? What all are the features and specifications these taxi people look into in any car or SUV/ MPV to make it acceptable to them?
I hope we can have a lively debate on these and other related questions here with our own viewpoints.
I think Tavera ended up just the perfict fit to carry a good no. of people (8) and yet not be very expensive. And this at a time people realized Sumo was too crude and Qualis din't really pick up.

Tavera, being a Chevrolet brand also had that "Class" factor due to which it was considered better than Sumo and Qualis.

Guess it never picked up for private use because it did not have any major luxury offering for people to use as their family vehicle. On the other hand, taxi drivers got a "classy" 8 seater MUV for a relatively cheap price.

So, it went the Logan way.

Since 5 years at least, you see NCR flooded with Taveras with every office cab being the standard white tavera which has gone from classy to an autorickshaw, the way it is maintained.

FYI : Around 5 years back, banks in NCR stopped giving loans for Taveras because a large no. of people (read: cab drivers) bought it on loan and defaulted big time.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 19:43   #3
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Thats a Tavera on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway sighted by me - inevitably a taxi ! The number of passengers waiting to gain entry either proves its popularity or shows that there's no other mode of transport available here!!
Speaking of the Tavera's popularity, there's another black Tavera to the left of the A pillar of my Bolero.
How did the Chevrolet Tavera End up as a Taxi?-tavera.jpg

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Old 2nd December 2010, 20:04   #4
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I had talked to a few Tavera taxiwallahs off and on, and this is what I gather about why it went into the taxi trade:
  1. The demise of the Qualis,with the Innova not easily available off the shelf, led them to look for a spacious alternative. The Sumo and Tavera both shared the Qualis' pie;
  2. Fuel efficiency: The Tavera is a fair bit more frugal than the other MPVs - against the Innova's 11km/l it returns about 14-15km/l;
  3. Customers' perception of the Chevrolet brand being a high end one in comparison to the Sumo/M&M Maxx's;
  4. More comfortable ride in the rear than the Sumo etc.;
  5. Good discounts offered by GM to boost sales;
  6. The Innova over the years has clawed back some of that market share, but the Tavera still beats the Innova on FE;
  7. Engine quite robust - can last even 300,000+km - though tends to smoke at the tailpipe under load and has difficulty in passing the PUC tests - but then taxiwallahs have their ways of getting a PUC certificate without actually testing the vehicle.
Downsides:
  1. Front suspension issues, requiring frequent changes/repairs (not sure what component tends to fail);
  2. Expensive to service at GM dealer outlets - taxiwallahs hardly bother going there after the warranty period is over.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 20:23   #5
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One of the companies I worked had 2 Taveras. Both owned (white boards). One of them, a 8 seater, had logged 2,25,000+ KMs in about 3.5 years, all inside Bangalore city. It was used on everyday on all those years. Only when it was not used was when it had a minor accident and the front was repainted. Only problem was there was absolutely no pickup with AC on. With AC off it was ok. But it couldn't hit more than 80KM/hr. Other one was 7 seater, relatively new (75K Km in 1 year) and had no issues.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 20:36   #6
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The Tavera is a common cab in our company too. The drivers say that it is easier to drive than the standard Sumo. It is also as rugged as teh Sumo and has that 'go anywhere' capability. The Tavera is also not as bouncy as the Sumo. Maintainance is also not a major issue with teh Tavera.
In fact one driver told me that the Tavera is so smooth that once he actually drove a good 15 minutes before someone indicated he had a flat tyre!
These cabs are quick. The drivers love to drive the Tavera for its pick up, good handling at higher speeds and ease of turning. Also it has less body roll compared to Sumo.

Regards,
Rohan
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Old 2nd December 2010, 20:39   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
I think Tavera ended up just the perfict fit to carry a good no. of people (8) and yet not be very expensive. And this at a time people realized Sumo was too crude and Qualis din't really pick up.
Excuse me,, ""Qualis din't really pick up""?? Pick up where? Qualis was the undisputed leader in the segment (of taxi) for the entire period Qualis was in the market. It is widely believed that Qualis was killed by Toyota only to stop the brand being equated to the taxi segment.

There was a time when 5 out of 6 MPVs on the road would be a Qualis - and I am not joking in this. When we had gone to TD the Qualis at a dealership in Mumbai, the SA made the same statement, and we just walked outside the showroom (Which was besides a major highway) and stood counting MPVs - he was right! 5 out 6 were Qualis!

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Tavera, being a Chevrolet brand also had that "Class" factor due to which it was considered better than Sumo and Qualis.
Again - Tavera entered the TAXI segment not because of any "class" factor. If one checks trends, the sales of Tavera picked up only after Qualis was stopped. For Taxi operators, Tavera was the ideal replacement for the Qualis for them. Sumo was always considered a crude vehicle - which can take any kind of abuse, but does not represent sophistication.

Sumo always had an issue with instability at high speeds - any taxi driver will vouch for this. Qualis on the other hand was much stable compared to a Sumo, and was hence a hit. Tavera resembled Qualis is many aspects, and hence a natural choice.

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
The Innova over the years has clawed back some of that market share, but the Tavera still beats the Innova on FE;
Innova sells in a different segment - Innova is tagged as a "premium" taxi, while the Tavera runs in the mass-mover segment. I've often noticed that the rentals for the Innova is always higher than a Tavera/Sumo.

This is perhaps a reason why Innova sells more in "G" and "V", than in "E". On the other hand, Qualis used to sell the most in "FS" - "GS" was an average seller, while the "RS" was a rare seller.

However, Tavera is no where near a Qualis if compared on equal terms - the Qualis was a legend in itself. Tavera takes ages to pick up speed, especially if the AC is on.

Last edited by binaiks : 2nd December 2010 at 20:42.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 20:44   #8
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I call it the "curse of affordable Indian MPV". Any MPV that
  1. is affordable
  2. can seat 6-8 people
  3. offers a diesel option
can and will be turned into a taxi in India. You can't fight it. Tata Sumo designers should learn and embrace this fact and get done with their faux-neo-urbane fugly design fetish.

If you want your MPV to be classy - price it high and beyond the reach of your normal taxi-wallah.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 20:47   #9
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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
I've often noticed that the rentals for the Innova is always higher than a Tavera/Sumo.
Pune to Mumbai Intl Airport rates for Tavera start at about 1700+ - about the same as Indigo. Innova stands at about 2500+ on a good day which is in the same ballpark as Scorpio.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 20:50   #10
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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
Excuse me,, ""Qualis din't really pick up""?? Pick up where? Qualis was the undisputed leader in the segment (of taxi) for the entire period Qualis was in the market. It is widely believed that Qualis was killed by Toyota only to stop the brand being equated to the taxi segment.

There was a time when 5 out of 6 MPVs on the road would be a Qualis - and I am not joking in this. When we had gone to TD the Qualis at a dealership in Mumbai, the SA made the same statement, and we just walked outside the showroom (Which was besides a major highway) and stood counting MPVs - he was right! 5 out 6 were Qualis!
Probably you misunderstood, when I said Qualis din't pick up, I din't mean it din't sell. I meant it din't remain in production for long. It did sell and that was why Toyota took it out; as you said, because they did not want it to be equated as a taxi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
Again - Tavera entered the TAXI segment not because of any "class" factor. If one checks trends, the sales of Tavera picked up only after Qualis was stopped. For Taxi operators, Tavera was the ideal replacement for the Qualis for them. Sumo was always considered a crude vehicle - which can take any kind of abuse, but does not represent sophistication.

Sumo always had an issue with instability at high speeds - any taxi driver will vouch for this. Qualis on the other hand was much stable compared to a Sumo, and was hence a hit. Tavera resembled Qualis is many aspects, and hence a natural choice.
Again, I din't say Tavera had the "class" factor; it was just classier than Sumo. Again, I was saying the same thing as you : Sumo was always a crude vehicle.

We are saying the similar things!
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Old 3rd December 2010, 01:05   #11
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Pune to Mumbai Intl Airport rates for Tavera start at about 1700+ - about the same as Indigo. Innova stands at about 2500+ on a good day which is in the same ballpark as Scorpio.
I think 1700 is quite cheap price for Tavera. Last time I utilized KK's special car service, they charged me 2700 one way which was the standard back then with all other services.

If you go per seat with KK, they used to charge 650 per person if you are willing to share the taxi with other folks.

As KK caps Tavera to four occupants only so basically they give you 100 bucks discount if you book a special taxi.
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Old 13th April 2013, 01:55   #12
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Default Re: How did the Chevrolet Tavera End up as a Taxi?

In Chennai the long distance taxis/ cabs charge Rs.10/km for the Tavera and Rs.13/km for the Innova.

Have been on the Innova (and other vehicles) several times and wanted to try a 600+ round trip on the Tavera recently. After promising the Tavera, due to 'non-availabilty' I was given an Innova - at a one-time 'special' rate of Rs.11/km since they were not able to keep their promise of providing a Tavera!
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Old 13th April 2013, 07:21   #13
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Default Re: How did the Chevrolet Tavera End up as a Taxi?

The Tavera is also quite economical to operate, from the taxi operator's point of view, even today after so many changes in the scene with newer additions like the Xylo into this class.
An operator was telling me that the Tavera can carry classes and masses whereas the Innova is only for classes (higher rent). The economics works in favour of the Tavera and the investment and running costs translates into a reasonable rent for hiring it as a taxi.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 13th April 2013 at 07:23.
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