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Old 14th April 2012, 19:00   #2086
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
...
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! .
...
However it looks like this reality has been lost to the top brass owing to the success of other new launches. They do not have to resort to "lucky draw" to decide who the lucky owners would be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
...
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.
Anand Mahindra personally used to review each of the models being released to the market. So did he not review the final version of the Thar CRDe? Or was he too naive to be misled about the market for the Thar CRDe? If he did review this, how did he approve this for its projected market (life style vehicle) with the kind of interiors that it had and at the price at which they launched it?

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
..
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.
You bet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
...
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.
...
I am still wondering how you "managed" to get this project approved and even got a "few engineers" to work for you. It was perhaps their way of saying thanks to a "passionate jeeper and employee" and may have even been certain that it would fail just like others in the past. But you proved them wrong.

I only hope better sense prevails where it should.
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Old 15th April 2012, 13:06   #2087
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by Aroy View Post
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.
You misread my post.

My sole point was that there can be no excuse for shoddy quality.
And that the Jap/Koreans do much better quality at a lesser price point.

The Wrangler is a unique high visibility product across the globe and M&M are lucky to have a product from the same linage. Different manufacturers have their own take at lifestyle vehicles and I don't really think they all have to be Jeep clones to qualify as lifestyle vehicles. It is true that manufacturers across the board have moved on to bigger heavier vehicles with impressive equipment list and gizmos. If you want a cheap, reliable, no frills, hard working 4x4, you don't have choices. But that is another tangent altogether.

Which brings us back to the real point of contention - poor quality!
Unless you mean to imply that at ~6.8 Lakhs (Ex-Showroom Delhi) it is not economically practical to have good fit and finish.
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Old 15th April 2012, 19:58   #2088
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by gotzuk View Post
You misread my post.

My sole point was that there can be no excuse for shoddy quality.
And that the Jap/Koreans do much better quality at a lesser price point.
......

Which brings us back to the real point of contention - poor quality!
Unless you mean to imply that at ~6.8 Lakhs (Ex-Showroom Delhi) it is not economically practical to have good fit and finish.
What I wanted to say is

1. Yes better fit and finish is possible, but at a cost. This may be due to better workmanship, better material, better design or all three.

2. The fact is that the "Manufacturer" rarely manufactures most of the things and assembles them after acquiring the sub assemblies from the vendors. Now if there are low volumes, the vendors may either refuse or quote extremely high prices. So you are stuck with what you have ready access to.

3. That rugged SWB 4x4, like Thar are slowly being replaced by Soft Roaders, primarily due to the customer preferences. Hence numbers are low, which in turn makes the price high.

4. The low demand is the reason no one has jumped into this sector. That is why I had commented on "No Competition" from established large global players. What they have to offer is LWB versions with high end gizmos for civilians - LR Discovery SWB/LWB, Pajero SWB/LWB or the Toyota Landrover 7x series, all of them in the Fortuner+ price category. Or else they manufacture purely for the Military, which is not available to Civilians. This is the reason why the venerable G Wagen from Mercedes is no longer a no frills rugged machine, but a playboy's 4x4 dream come true, priced in the S Class territory.

In my opinion, in the Indian context, product like Thar is a low volume, but sustainable game. What M&M can do is :
. Produce a bare bones 4x4 for enthusiasts and those who are on a budget
. Provide a series of reasonable factory upgrades/accessories for those who can afford (or require) them
- AC
- HT
- Roll Cage
- Better Brake system
- Better Dashboard
- Customizable seats
- . . . .

The only problem, is that today the Road Tax and a host of other taxes are tagged to the ex-show room price (whether that is justified is another thing altogether), hence factory fitted accessories may bloat the price up dis proportionally. In that case a saner version of "Mahindra Customization" should be available, with all associated warranties attached.
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Old 15th April 2012, 21:07   #2089
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by Aroy View Post
What I wanted to say is
The low demand is the reason no one has jumped into this sector. That is why I had commented on "No Competition" from established large global players. What they have to offer is LWB versions with high end gizmos for civilians - LR Discovery SWB/LWB, Pajero SWB/LWB or the Toyota Landrover 7x series, all of them in the Fortuner+ price category. Or else they manufacture purely for the Military, which is not available to Civilians. This is the reason why the venerable G Wagen from Mercedes is no longer a no frills rugged machine, but a playboy's 4x4 dream come true, priced in the S Class territory.
Dont know what your source for this information is, but it is not correct. There are a lot of low-cost 4x4 available in the global market. There are stripped down versions of LC, Prado, Hilux, Pajero, Montero Sport, LC300, Patrol, Navarro, etc., etc., easily available for less than $20,000. These are widely used in ME, AP, Australia, S.America, etc., etc. Even in the US, it is not hard to get a decent 4x4 for less than $20,000. The G Wagen has a "Professional" version still available in SWB and LWB without any luxury bells and whistles purely as a workhorse.

Just because our wonderful government and its protectionist laws dont allow free import and allow companies like Mahindra to thrive so that they can take the profits and buy foreign companies, we are not seeing any of those vehicles, and paying almost the same for decades old crap.

All our justification on T Bhp is not going to change a damn thing. As long as companies like Mahindra exist, for whom profit comes before human life, and as long as there is a fan base for crap, such death traps will continue to ply our roads. This is nothing compared to the commercial vehicles on the road, right? As long as there is something worse, we are doing good.

Cheers.
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Old 15th April 2012, 23:05   #2090
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

All that many/most if not all of us are asking out of the Thar is a little more refinement, some creature comforts, safety features to make it conducive to be a daily ride. This is not just from a Lifestyle perspective but also because many of us do not have the luxury of owning multiple vechiles.

In my mind, what we are asking of Thar translates into a slightly shortened SCORPIO, with a little more ground clearence and tougher off-roading equipment. While I am not a automobile manufacturing expert, it seems like Shortened Wheel Base SCORPIO would be easier way to the end state than trying to refresh an outdated Thar. Most components would be sharable and the price would be affordable. Ofcourse, I am guessing that the front end look can be easily modified to look more like a jeep...Would'nt this also be a good competitor to the duster, ecosport et al. I do not see any reason why the Thar/ or its equvilatent needs to be a niche vehicle!
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Old 15th April 2012, 23:29   #2091
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

Going through the whole thread - I have reached a conclusion. The Thar was supposed to be a Lifestyle vehicle. What M&M did was give the same old MM540 with all the same old cheap interiors and shoddy work - but with a new engine.

And told the market - "Here is your Thar. Pay more and make a lifestyle vehicle out of it".

I fail to understand :
Why does the buyer have to pay extra and fit in brakes that work?
Why does the buyer need to do something so that the exhaust fumes do not enter the cabin?
Why does the buyer need to do something if he wants a good quality interior?
Why does the buyer need to do something to prevent the body or other parts from rusting?

What defines a "Lifestyle" vehicle. In M&M's case I believe a Lifestyle vehicle is something which will sell in very limited numbers and because it will rarely be seen - it will be called as a Lifestyle vehicle. A Lifestyle vehicle needs to have some basic fittings - which are standard fitment in vehicles half of its price.

M&M should have gone all out on the Thar to make it a lifestyle vehicle. If Thar was supposed to have been the ultimate 4x4 - then price should not have been a concern. If that was the case - then they should have sold the Thar in basic chasis form and let the buyer take care of the body and interior themselves. That way they would not have to bother about CMVR rules and regulations. I guess thats the way with commercial vehicles which are sold in chasis form (trucks, buses, etc)
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Old 16th April 2012, 04:26   #2092
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by Aroy View Post
The fact is that the "Manufacturer" rarely manufactures most of the things and assembles them after acquiring the sub assemblies from the vendors. Now if there are low volumes, the vendors may either refuse or quote extremely high prices. So you are stuck with what you have ready access to.
It's surprising you say that.
M&M uses a whole lot of common parts amongst its various utility platforms starting from the dashboard to the smaller bits and pieces and that makes the low volume/high price theory a bit hard to believe. A lot of things like the inside door opening lever is straight lift from a Maruti vehicle and the quality difference between both is huge. Many more examples abound if one looks at it in detail and I find it difficult to believe that the price will go up exponentially if quality parts are used.
Look at the Gypsy for example, the ultra low volumes it does and compare its build quality with the Thar. Not surprisingly, the Gypsy is ahead by leaps and bounds.

I don't think the Thar buyer will balk at the prospect of shelling out some more moolah if the rough edges are taken care of and he doesn't need a tetanus shot every six months.
Matter of fact, I will very seriously contemplate getting one for myself, provided it comes with a nice hard top and build quality on par with the Japs and Koreans of the industry.

And if it is just the mechanical bits (engine/gb/tcase) one is looking at, the Gurkha with its standard diff locks is one up on the Thar.
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Old 16th April 2012, 07:39   #2093
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

I want to add that while I have grave reservations about the level of quality and engineering of mahindra vehicles (not just the thar, but generally), I am delighted that the thar exists. when i think of what it is, which is CJ-5 inspired Jeep with a modern, if modest, engine, power steering, air conditioning, an open top.

Come to think of it, I don't know why I am even complaining. If i can find a vehicle like this without the quality issues, I should go buy it.

But seriously, I am willing to overlook every problem the thar had, except 2, one that has been addressed, and one not: no factory fit A/C and offset steering wheel, respectively
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Old 16th April 2012, 09:57   #2094
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by gthang View Post
Dont know what your source for this information is, but it is not correct. There are a lot of low-cost 4x4 available in the global market. There are stripped down versions of LC, Prado, Hilux, Pajero, Montero Sport, LC300, Patrol, Navarro, etc., etc., easily available for less than $20,000. These are widely used in ME, AP, Australia, S.America, etc., etc. Even in the US, it is not hard to get a decent 4x4 for less than $20,000. The G Wagen has a "Professional" version still available in SWB and LWB without any luxury bells and whistles purely as a workhorse.
That is what I was referring to. With our Taxes, the $20K becomes $40K, which is the price the Fortuner, Pajero and others sell here for. If you go by prices without all those taxes, then the Thar would be between $10K and $15K (depending on taxes), and at that level there are no competitors.
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Old 16th April 2012, 09:59   #2095
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

With all due respects to Mr.Behram Dhabhar, but how can he rejoice at having "realised a dream" of producing a sub-standard vehicle? Sub-standard, when you compare it against expectations of a modern yuppie interested in a lifestyle vehicle.

Not having an adequate budget is NO excuse. When you can't sell your idea, you have no business hazarding ahead with that project.

Mr.Behram Dhabhar - did it come down to choosing between your "dream" versus the safety of hundreds of thousands of ill-informed customers? When you signed off this vehicle and unleashed it onto our chaotic roads, didn't your concience prick you regarding its safety aspects?

It is all very well to work towards a dream (a.k.a "pet projects"), but the end result should be more of a POC / "proof of what could be done" rather than a final production sample.

IMO, this vehicle should be sold with a statutory warning - "Driving this vehicle could be injurious to health".

Sorry to sound harsh, but M&M/TATA should stop trying to make a fast buck by exploiting the accomodating nature of Indian masses.

Last edited by WindRide : 16th April 2012 at 10:00.
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Old 16th April 2012, 12:29   #2096
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

Is it true that crumble zone becomes mandatory in the near future (by 2014, I remember reading it somewhere some time ago, but cant find that article anymore) and that is the reason MnM not investing anything on Thar? They know for sure that the vehicle cannot be sold beyond 2 years and hence no point making it safe. Can someone please clarify.
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Old 16th April 2012, 19:55   #2097
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The ground realities of dealing with a budget and the clock has to be experienced to be understood. It is easy to criticise now after hard decisions were made with the then given constraints.

I am happy to be a customer with any manufacturer willing to listen and improve. Chrysler did not build the Wrangler in one go- the current form is after a number of iterations.
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Old 16th April 2012, 22:55   #2098
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

I have been owning the Thar for 2 months now, put in an aftermarket AC (Scorpio parts), and have been using it as the daily drive (crossed 2000 Kms). Tried some driving on sand and gravel too - ride has been satisfactory until now. Power is really good and delivery is smooth.

Hard Top - as I understand from Vinod in the other post, is available as part of customization - but the question is will Mahindra customization give me only HT? and can it come factory fitted so that I need not buy the vehicle and ship it to mumbai ?? (I am anyways getting the HT from Manas for my Thar).

Braking - this was the concern that I had - BD sir has given some details on how to have this fixed, and also asked me to call him for more details - pending on my part to call him and get all details - probably the improved brakes could have come Factory Fitted.

Safety features - ABS or Airbags or various others - I think it is clear from the specs of Thar that these are not there; and as some of my friends commented - you need to have a "mindset" to go buy this vehicle.

And finally, but for the Thar, I may have never got the opportunity to buy a new Jeep with 4X4 and drive it on and off-road. I think most of the Thar buyers would agree to this
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Old 17th April 2012, 11:52   #2099
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by kshivaa View Post
And finally, but for the Thar, I may have never got the opportunity to buy a new Jeep with 4X4 and drive it on and off-road. I think most of the Thar buyers would agree to this
Well said, true for me too - what options did I have before Thar, - Invader / Major / Gypsy..or an ex-army jeep and numerous months on rebuild. Even the ex-army jeep isn't easy to procure. Or paying an extreme amount to an owner to part with his Classic.

Thar is leaps and bounds ahead of Major and Invader at least - No, I won't get into comparisons with Gypsy as I have never driven a Gypsy.

Could the Thar be better - of course yes. But Thanks to M&M and Mr. Dhabhar - at least I have the choice of buying a brand new jeep in India, at a price point I am willing to accept . Otherwise I would end up just looking at pictures of the export versions in South Africa or the army jeeps on the road.

There was a point, I think, when it was still a question if the Thar will be launched in India.
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Old 18th April 2012, 12:42   #2100
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by jp1 View Post
Is it true that crumble zone becomes mandatory in the near future (by 2014, I remember reading it somewhere some time ago, but cant find that article anymore) and that is the reason MnM not investing anything on Thar? They know for sure that the vehicle cannot be sold beyond 2 years and hence no point making it safe. Can someone please clarify.
Hi just wanted to know what gearbox does the thar use and if it is same as the 4x4 scorpio?
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