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Old 13th April 2012, 17:24   #2071
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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How did the same Mahindra build the competent XUV, or Tata the wonderful Aria? How does Hyundai build a Eon for 3 lakh rupees, with overall fit & finish that is 50X better than the Thar at 50% the cost? How did Tata ever manage to build the wonderfully competent Nano
I think all these had a R&D budget unlike Thar.
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Old 13th April 2012, 17:26   #2072
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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How did the same Mahindra build the competent XUV, or Tata the wonderful Aria? How does Hyundai build a Eon for 3 lakh rupees, with overall fit & finish that is 50X better than the Thar at 50% the cost? How did Tata ever manage to build the wonderfully competent Nano (which, BTW, is also built better than the Thar at 1/3rd the cost) in the nasty corporate world? In each of these, it does appear that product had priority over presentation, no? Don't get me wrong. I was, and remain, a huge fan of the Thar (just recommended it to a cousin yesterday).
Dear Rushabh - you have hit the nail right on the head and thanks for asking this question. When you have 48 months of lead time, crores and crores of rupees as budget and 300 odd engineers working on one project and when you want that vehicle as your mainstay business vehicle, yes, any vehicle can be made. There are instances where even such vehicles have bombed, the only reason being lack of customer focus as to what he wants and what he will buy, managements being in denial mode to accept this brutal ground reality! Market does not give you chances, you are there or you are out!

In Thar case, it was different. We had next to no time (Euro 4 becoming Euro 5 in Europe), chickenfeed as budget, 6 engineers, and it was not considered worthy of mainstay business, it was a brand building exercise. That's why even AC was not there, which was a damn silly decision to take, I was dumbstruck when it was taken but it was taken dammit! .

Now that the vehicle is mainstay (they just cannot make more, otherwise it would sell much more), I hope people would have realized, (now the hard way, after getting the brickbats), that even a chickenfeed business proposition can become mainstay, which, in Thar CRDe case I always knew, but people don't listen to other people naa! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 13th April 2012, 19:10   #2073
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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How did the same Mahindra build the competent XUV, or Tata the wonderful Aria? How does Hyundai build a Eon for 3 lakh rupees, with overall fit & finish that is 50X better than the Thar at 50% the cost? How did Tata ever manage to build the wonderfully competent Nano (which, BTW, is also built better than the Thar at 1/3rd the cost) in the nasty corporate world?

In each of these, it does appear that product had priority over presentation, no? Don't get me wrong. I was, and remain, a huge fan of the Thar (just recommended it to a cousin yesterday).
I agree with Behram. In the corporate world your engineering skill does not help. PR, presentation and may be being the blue eyed boy will. If you read Arthur Hailey's Wheels(Wheels by Arthur Hailey - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists), you will get an insight to the concept-design-build cycle of a large vehicle manufacturer.

All the above were designed with high volume sales in mind, and championed by top bosses. Further they were developed practically from scratch. As Dhabar Behram has alluded, the product has to be supported from the top, so that the product and not presentations rule. On a low volume vehicle - 250/m so 3K/year, you either use the parts available, else convince a vendor to supply you. Again with low volumes your costs go up tremendously.

One may argue that M&M could at least release the Defense versions to us Civilians, but that I believe is not allowed, so we are stuck with what ever comes from the manufacturers facilities, warts and all.

So in a nut shell if the "BOSS" wants it, no matter the development costs, you get it, else as in case of Thar, you have to do with what ever you can "beg borrow or steal" from the top management.
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Old 13th April 2012, 20:35   #2074
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Whatever be the constraints, its really appalling that they plonked such a powerful engine knowing that braking power is barely adequate. Really sad and disappointed as a M&M customer.
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Old 13th April 2012, 20:47   #2075
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
How did the same Mahindra build the competent XUV, or Tata the wonderful Aria? How does Hyundai build a Eon for 3 lakh rupees, with overall fit & finish that is 50X better than the Thar at 50% the cost? How did Tata ever manage to build the wonderfully competent Nano (which, BTW, is also built better than the Thar at 1/3rd the cost) in the nasty corporate world?

In each of these, it does appear that product had priority over presentation, no? Don't get me wrong. I was, and remain, a huge fan of the Thar (just recommended it to a cousin yesterday).

I think the answer remains in volumes of the product. As stated earlier the company did not want to invest a crore rupee worth injection moulding setup for a new dash. So you can well imagine that it won't invest in anything else either which is bound to cost more and the volumes will be as many as a 30 lakh rupee sedan.
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Old 13th April 2012, 20:58   #2076
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

So, let's get this straight.

One must forgive and be thankful to Mahindra for introducing a vehicle in the Passenger segment with a marketing budget greater than development budget, developed by a motley crew with a shoestring budget (5 crores, IIRC) because the project did not seem like it would make money for the company.

So, how much money does a vehicle have to make for it to be safe? Is this the only money making project for Mahindra that all development costs must be borne by itself? Now that it is making money, (250/m surely means more than development cost is being recovered every month. Believe you me, the margins are much more than the fuzzy math used to calculate cost), how much more money does it have to make before it get basic creature comforts and safety?

And, we must forgive and in fact appreciate the Project manager, who in my opinion, has failed miserably, due to lack of persuasion skills and basic engineering ethics, for having created a vehicle for the "Enthusiasts", and have let a death trap loose in the market so that unsuspecting and uninformed buyers can put their families life in danger so that it looks "cool".

So, ALL IS WELL, I suppose.

Thank you Mahindra for fulfilling a dream. (Or is it a nightmare?)

Cheers.
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Old 13th April 2012, 21:47   #2077
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

Behram,

I have to say this : The Classic for its time in 1995 had far better overall quality than the Thar of 2010 (again, relative to the time of launch). The seats, awesome brakes, personality, 12V electrical system et all were something else for a Mahindra from the nineties. And believe me, the damn old school jugaad Jeep has proven reliable & how!!! It's the only vehicle (along with the Honda) that has gone to the garage ONCE in the last 12 months.

The Classic has become a sort of an icon today. I doubt the Thar ever will. I've been offered the equivalent of a Thar in $$$ for my 15 year ol' rusty Jeep . More than once.

I hope we can see some magical product like that from Tata soon.

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As stated earlier the company did not want to invest a crore rupee worth injection moulding setup for a new dash.
I don't buy that. Do you think Mr. Anand Mahindra would be willing to put his family name & 50,000 crore rupee brand on a car with a jugaad dashboard, just because of a 1 crore rupee setup? No ways, that is chump change. I don't know who was responsible for the budgeting & implementation, but it sure wasn't right.

Look at it this way : If the Thar was "more finished" as a product, it would have sold twice as much. That's the easiest ROI I can think of. The Thar needed to be "more carlike" on the inside to appeal to people other than diehard Jeepers like us.
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Old 13th April 2012, 21:57   #2078
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang
One must forgive and be thankful to Mahindra for introducing a vehicle in the Passenger segment with a marketing budget greater than development budget, developed by a motley crew with a shoestring budget (5 crores, IIRC) because the project did not seem like it would make money for the company.

So, how much money does a vehicle have to make for it to be safe?
how much more money does it have to make before it get basic creature comforts and safety?

And, we must forgive and in fact appreciate the Project manager, who in my opinion, has failed miserably, due to lack of persuasion skills and basic engineering ethics, for having created a vehicle for the "Enthusiasts", and have let a death trap loose in the market so that unsuspecting and uninformed buyers can put their families life in danger so that it looks "cool".
Cheers.
Straight from the hip, eh! :-) couldn't agree more.

A lot of us do work in corporate, and work with and against budgets.

So the vehicle was flawed from the start it would seem. Right from the business case itself, which relied on its value, only in branding terms.

Could it not have been positioned also as a strategic investment that could have led to components, designs etc that could have been taken to other vehicles in the future?

What excuse, by the way, exists for not making V2 better than V1? Could not these shortcomings have been addressed now at least?

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Old 14th April 2012, 08:33   #2079
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

Perhaps this is what jugaad is. Compromise on standards, quality, and thoroughness in order to get things done because if you hold out for standards quality and thoroughness, you won't get anything done.

I am not singling out Behram when I say this. I accept that it had to be done cheaply or not at all. One could blame mahindra for not having insisted on certain standards. But then the answer would be that if the thar had to meet standards, mahindra would never have approved it.

So the only way behram could do it was to do it cheaply, and the only way mahindra would allow it, was if it was cheaply done.

Which is how india runs. on low standards, poor quality, lack of thoroughness, and ocean of excuses.

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Old 14th April 2012, 09:10   #2080
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

May be with all these reasons i was not able to buy the Thar as my first car. The day I read about Official Review of Thar in team-bhp i have been a fan boy for this car and really wanted to buy it when i was looking for my first car. But being practical how will I buy a car without an ac and rest basic requirements. After buying the car it would require a lot of money to put into it for the fitment of AC, power windows, music system and hard top as then it did not have the immobilizer. Hence the Thar was ruled out but my next vehicle would surely be it (not even thinking of any other option )

cheers
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Old 14th April 2012, 09:15   #2081
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For a moment it looked like we turned the clock back by almost a year there. So many of these comments are a replay of that time.

For me, the question boils down to whether I'm happy that Thar is in the market or do I prefer a world without it? My answer: I'm very happy about that.

Am I happy about the product? I'm not.

That looks like a contradiction, but it is not. Reason being that the Thar is a means to an end - of market validation that, hopefully, will entice others to come out with better competing products. Without the Thar something like that would not be possible.

As far as the possibilities and probabilities within MM, it's pointless to speculate on that. At the same, time it is not fair to ruthlessly criticize individuals here based on the limited information they can provide on a public forum. I bet most of us won't post so much information under our own names if our current or former employers were being discussed here.

I've learned this the hard way in life: it's very easy to criticize, but doing even a fraction of what's being criticized is so much more difficult. Most of us in Mr Berham's position would have given up saying "not enough budget or resources".

The outcome may be sub par and disappointing, but please don't rubbish the entire effort gone into it.
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Old 14th April 2012, 09:59   #2082
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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The outcome may be sub par and disappointing, but please don't rubbish the entire effort gone into it.
And what good is the entire effort if the outcome is sub par and disappointing?

There can be no excuse for bad design and quality. It does not matter if the bean counters are responsible for it or the engineering team.
It is the THAR which is under the scanner, not the individuals and their efforts. And the fact stands that it is a shoddily put together vehicle.

M&M is lucky to enjoy a monopoly (almost) in this niche market.
They should pray Hyundai/Suzuki don't wake up, smell the coffee and decide to do a lifestyle diesel powered sub-8 lakh rupee lifestyle vehicle.
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Old 14th April 2012, 11:50   #2083
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotzuk

And what good is the entire effort if the outcome is sub par and disappointing?

There can be no excuse for bad design and quality. It does not matter if the bean counters are responsible for it or the engineering team.
It is the THAR which is under the scanner, not the individuals and their efforts. And the fact stands that it is a shoddily put together vehicle.

M&M is lucky to enjoy a monopoly (almost) in this niche market.
They should pray Hyundai/Suzuki don't wake up, smell the coffee and decide to do a lifestyle diesel powered sub-8 lakh rupee lifestyle vehicle.
No doubt it is a shabbily put together product, we expect and deserve much better. I think everyone, including DB, has admitted as much, if I'm not wrong.

That said, there are reasons why it turned out that way and if the option was between this or nothing, which one would you pick?

There's a reason why Hyundai/MSIL won't build a sub 8-L vehicle in this niche. The Gypsy is an example of this That reason applies for M&M too, still this got done in whatever form due to the persistence of a few. I'm appreciating that spirit while being critical of the product.

At a 8L level we will get an ecosport soon, no live axles, no lockers. Will that satisfy us any better than a Thar? I don't think so.

For me the hope is that the Thar will convince a Tata to build a similar product, but a better one, which may not be a possibility without the Thar proving that there's enough of a market for this.
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Old 14th April 2012, 12:28   #2084
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Most of us in Mr Berham's position would have given up saying "not enough budget or resources".
Dear Shyam - thanks for your comments. I was not the first person to attempt this project. Others had attempted to do it "conventionally" and they came to a point where they had no alternative but to give up because this is not a "conventional" product. You need to "think alternatively" to do it. You need to put your job on the line to do it. You need to be a little crazy to do it. Knowing the corporate ropes, they were playing safe. In my case, it was different. It was my passion. It was my dream. Therefore, come what may, I realized it. This was a stellar example of "Accepting No Limits", one of the three pillars of "RISE", where we won the first prize in this category. I am attaching the picture of Dr.Goenka handing over the award to us for your ready reference. I am third in line from the left. Vinod is second from the left.

Dear all - it is very easy to call a product sub-standard. The manufacturer will say "I have a CMVR certificate", period. The issue is much more than that. Is the product, at whatever dress level that it is offered with, occupying the "mindspace" of the customer? I think in case of Thar CRDe, this product has occupied that mindspace, otherwise you would not have given me the comments that you are giving now. There is a large population of "Jeepers" out there who have this product as the top of their brand recall. There are guys out there who want to use it as their daily driver. This product can compete with mainstream passenger cars "in the top of mind recall space" of the customer. That is what we have achieved and that is what really matters.

Of course, improvement is a continuous process which can be done as time progresses. I wish more improvements would have come in recently. Please introspect the product specifications against ground realities, which will enable you to look at the whole thing in prespective.

As many people have asked for it, I will shortly give a complete writeup on brakes upgradation. Like brakes, driveline upgradation is also possible. . ENJOY GUYS, ENJOY!

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 14th April 2012, 17:56   #2085
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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M&M is lucky to enjoy a monopoly (almost) in this niche market.
They should pray Hyundai/Suzuki don't wake up, smell the coffee and decide to do a lifestyle diesel powered sub-8 lakh rupee lifestyle vehicle.
That is the reason for monopoly. It may not be practical to design and build a "Thar" or its equivalent with the fit & finish as well as the equipment level of a "Wrangler". Had it been so, every one would jump in and produce an alternative.

In fact if you look in the International Space, there is practically no competition for a "Thar" type of vehicle upto twice the price (and I am talking of International not bloated up Indian prices, which means that there is no competitor at less than $15K). Just the fact that Pajero, Fortuner, X Trail etc are in the 20L+ range, means that it is not possible to get it less than say 18L for a Thar at that level of fit, finish and equipment. Mind you short wheel base vehicle is only marginally cheaper than a long wheel base vehicle, so if we get a SWB Fortuner or Pajero it will not be lower than 18L.

In that light you are getting the Thar for 8-9L. Now add up the addons:
1. Hard Top : 1L
2. Brake system upgrade, (including all disks etc) : 1L
3. Interiors : 1L
4. Roll Cage : 1L

So you spend at the most 5L and get an equivalent of an 18L in 14L. Not bad, I would say. But look at the other side. There are individuals who will save & scrape just enough money to buy the Thar as it is, and it satisfies their requirement. This group will be out of circuit at 14 or 15L, at least we are catering to them.
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