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Old 10th February 2009, 19:09   #1
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Default Force Gama - A few questions

Hi All,

New to this forum. Not sure if I should post this here or start a separate thread. I am in the market for a MUV and am considering the Force Gama. My budget is Rs 7L on road.

I initially considered a Bolero SLX - comes with all the goodies (AC, PS, PW etc), and currently has a Rs 55K cash discount. Will cost about Rs 6.75 L on road. While I like the Bolero looks, it is a bit on the small side for my needs. The vehicle should be able to accommodate 7 people plus luggage, but space is premium inside a Bolero.

So I turned to the Trax Gama (am not interested in the Sumo Victa). I read all the nice things about the Judo & Gama on this forum and am really keen on this vehicle. But my local force dealer doesn't have a vehicle for test drive. The closest thing he can arrange is a Trax Toofan, but even that didn't happen yet.

I have a few questions in this regard and I'd appreciate any replies.

1. The dealer is pushing the BS-II version (can be registered in my town) and says that it is the same as the BS-III except for the Turbo. In fact he claims that the BS-II engine is more reliable and can take more abuse. He points to all the Toofan Taxis with BS-II to support his claim. How much of this is true? Will the additional HP & Torque of the BS-III engine make a real difference in the drive-ability of this vehicle? Or, let me re-phrase that, will the Gama feel under-powered and gasping for breath with the 60HP BS-II engine? (Cause, if I remember correctly, the original OM616 engine for this vehicle churned out 90HP, right?)

2. The dealer doesn't even have a quote for the BS-III with AC & PS And he says delivery will take about 4 weeks. What is the approximate showroom price for a GAMA with BS-III engine and AC + PS? And I thought the vehicle would be readily available.

3. I also wanted a 4WD, if available. But as so many have found out before, the 4WD is available only with BS-II engine and without AC + PS. He is quoting 6.24L ex-showroom for this - seemed a bit steep to me. Can someone please tell if this price sounds right or if I am being taken for a ride.

4. If I do get the BS-II with 4WD, I can fit an after-market AC, right? And I read somewhere that the worm-roller steering in GAMA makes it easier to steer than the rack-pinion type. Does that mean I will not miss the power steering too much? I guess I will find out when that Toofan test drive happens later this week.

Phew.. a lot of questions for a first post.
Thanks for reading..... & replying

Cheers
Teja

P.S: He tried to sell me the Gurkha. Said it is available readily. Wanted Rs 5000 deposit (refundable if I change my mind) and said he will deliver it at my door step within 5 days. That was a present surprise - I thought the Gurkha was available only on order. And I was tempted too, but my need for space and my limited budget (and my wife) let my better sense prevail.
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Old 10th February 2009, 23:04   #2
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Hello H3LIOS,

Any particular reason you're not considering the Sumo Grande ? While it doesn't offer 4x4, I think it can negotiate most bad roads / situations, given it's construction, ground clearance and torque.

From my basic research (below), it appears that the base model should be ~ 7 L on the road.
TATA Motors - SUMO Grande - Ex Showroom Price

Ex-showroom price for SUMO Grande in Visakhapatnam :

Models Price
SUMO Grande LX Rs. 6,69,175
SUMO Grande EX Rs. 7,05,853
SUMO Grande GX Rs. 7,61,354

NOTE:
All prices are Ex-showroom inclusive of Octroi.
Local levies, Entry tax etc. will be extra as applicable.
I believe you may be able to get some attractive discounts as well, given the current downturn in the automotive industry.

For reviews of the vehicle, there may be a few persons on this site who have test-driven / bought it and posted their comments.

Cheers,

FourWheelDrift

Last edited by FourWheelDrift : 10th February 2009 at 23:09.
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Old 10th February 2009, 23:27   #3
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I would agree with FourWheelDrift's assessment. You should definitely consider the Sumo Grand.

If you are decided on the Gama, my advice is to please upgrade to the BSIII engine as it has more bhp and more torque. This is the same engine that comes in the Tempo Traveller and Gurkha.

Secondly the dealers typically sell only Toofans and Cruisers to the taxi market so they don't know much about the other options. What you need to do is to contact Force Motors directly and find out who the business manager for you state is. He can help you with the correct information.

When I ordered my Gurkha, I dealt directly with the Business development manager for Kerala. The only times I talked to the dealer was 1) To make the booking deposit, 2) To check out the vehicle when it arrived in cochin.

I have driven the Cruiser and it is managable without PS but that was with the 700x15 highway tires. Maybe a problem if you decide to upgrade to wider/off-road tires.

Once again, since you plan to use this as a personal transport vehicle please go for the BSIII engine and not BSII.
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Old 11th February 2009, 10:25   #4
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the gurkha must be something that a previous customer might have canceled. The Grande seems to fit the 7plus luggage bill. Do give it some consideration.
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Old 11th February 2009, 10:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FourWheelDrift View Post
Hello H3LIOS,
Any particular reason you're not considering the Sumo Grande ? While it doesn't offer 4x4, I think it can negotiate most bad roads / situations, given it's construction, ground clearance and torque.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
I would agree with FourWheelDrift's assessment. You should definitely consider the Sumo Grand.
My uncle has a Sumo Grande, so I am quite familiar with it. Couple of reasons to not consider it:

1. No one in my family like its looks. My dad thinks they left the design unfinished.

2. We went on a 400KM trip in that vehicle and my mom and kids got car-sick. It swayed and bobbed a lot. We felt that the Sumo Victa was better in this regard.

3. I didn't like the gear shift & the steering also felt a bit vague. But I did like its engine & torque.

4. Finally the Grande is 7L ex-showroom, will cost about 8L on road. My budget is 7L on road. I could probably get some nice discounts, but didn't even visit the dealership for the above reasons. Maybe I should have a look-see and find out what the offers are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
If you are decided on the Gama, my advice is to please upgrade to the BSIII engine as it has more bhp and more torque. This is the same engine that comes in the Tempo Traveller and Gurkha.

What you need to do is to contact Force Motors directly and find out who the business manager for you state is. He can help you with the correct information.

Once again, since you plan to use this as a personal transport vehicle please go for the BSIII engine and not BSII.
Ok, that is what I have been thinking too. AC & PS I will use everyday, while 4WD I might get to use a couple of times a year (if I am lucky). Makes a lot of sense to go for the BS-III with AC & PS.

I did talk to a Mr. Hegde - claimed that he was the Manager for South India. He said he would give me the quote in a day - its been 3 days and I haven't heard from him yet. Time to call him again...

The reason I am pursuing the Trax Gama is that (apart from having a unique vehicle) every comment on that vehicle has been quite positive. Other than the fact that it doesn't provide creature comforts, Samurai said (in his test drive report) that the ride & handling was best in class. And everyone who used the vehicle say that the engine & transmission are smooth & very reliable. I want something cheap, simple to maintain & extremely reliable.

BTW, we saw a XYLO on the road yesterday and now my Dad & Wife want to go and have a look at it - especially considering its price.

Cheers
Teja
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Old 11th February 2009, 10:58   #6
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The Gama is a great vehicle if you consider the ride comfort and driver experience. I didn't even notice the lack of power steering until I turned at stopped condition. You have to do something about the seats and the interior, they are bad, and so is Force Motors.

Anyway, the price looks steep, so do consider Xylo, compare the test drives. I suspect Xylo driving experience won't exceed that of Gama. But seats, interiors and other luxury stuff is much better.
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Old 11th February 2009, 11:13   #7
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If 4*4 is not important then consider the Tata Winger.
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Old 11th February 2009, 11:16   #8
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if you got car sick in the grande, the xylo is going to be worse!
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Old 11th February 2009, 12:35   #9
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Bolero XL? Looks very similiar to the Gama.
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Old 11th February 2009, 20:56   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
if you got car sick in the grande, the xylo is going to be worse!
Well, I test drove the Grande again today and the ride was much better than what I remembered. I drove for about 10 KM and took on some bad stretches of road, and the Grande handled it quite well. The sales guy said that TATA improved the suspension (along with a bunch of other things) in July 2008 based on customer feedback - is that true? I wouldn't be surprised if it was, TATA likes to use the first set of customers as guinea pigs - My uncle's Grande was the from first batch delivered.

Anyway, we are now considering the Grande too - it is just a tad out of my budget.

- Teja
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Old 11th February 2009, 22:22   #11
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Gama is a good vehicle. The problem is that since Force Motors predominantly sells to the Taxi market they don't really care about adding any kind of refinement to their vehicles. They haven't even put the effort to put a decent molded dash board with enough space for a music system. I am sure even taxi drivers listen to music. Even the Ambassador Grande has a decent moulded dash !!

This is why I suggest looking at options from Tata's and Mahindra. Wish Mahindra hadn't priced the CRDe Bolero at 7.5 lakhs otherwise it would have been a great buy in the 6 lakh range.
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Old 12th February 2009, 10:14   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
You should definitely consider the Sumo Grand.
Quote:
Originally Posted by madan80 View Post
The Grande seems to fit the 7plus luggage bill. Do give it some consideration.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FourWheelDrift View Post
Any particular reason you're not considering the Sumo Grande?
Well, I took your advice and did a test drive of the Sumo Grande yesterday. The ride was better than I remembered, but to me the steering still felt a bit vague and also the braking was not confidence inspiring. The wife and kids liked the interiors of the top-of-the-line GX version. Of course, we still couldn't get used to the "different" look of the vehicle. To me it looks 'naked' especially at the back and the sides. The spare-wheel on the back-door would have definitely been an improvement. Add a rear spoiler, and the back may not be so bad. The sides do need something to disturb the monotonous lines. A sticker job would be the easiest, but maybe a well-designed rubber or metal beading and some plastic cladding?

The best part was the price. They were offering a 20K discount, and the sales person indicated that we could negotiate further with the sales mgr. And they had two 2008 GX models left on which there are offering the same 66K discount which they advertised in Dec. That would bring the on-road price of the vehicle to Rs 7.9L. Definitely a good deal. I am trying to decide whether to spend the extra 1L or not. Will decide this week.... if the Force dealer provides the promised final quote today for the Gama with BS-III + AC + PS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
Bolero XL? Looks very similiar to the Gama.
Hmm... never considered that. It is now called Bolero PLUS, btw. Looked it up on the website and I now remember seeing one near my office last month. Could be a possible candidate. Another trip to the Mahindra dealer today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
If 4*4 is not important then consider the Tata Winger.
Winger is definitely not on the table. I did suggest it, but my family wouldn't even look at it - "we do not want any bread-box-on-wheels parked in front of our house".

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
if you got car sick in the grande, the xylo is going to be worse!
See, that is the part I want to see first-hand. I read conflicting reports & reviews on this - some say it is horrible and some say it is not so bad. I guess it depends on where you are coming from. We are coming from a Ford Fiesta, so I think we will feel that rolling effect. But having driven so many vehicles this past week, I think I am in a decent position to judge one over the other. And it also helps that I am driving them all over the same test track

Thanks for the help & suggestions. I will keep you posted on the developments.

Cheers
Teja
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Old 14th February 2009, 12:53   #13
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An update on the Gama. I finally got a quote for the Gama with BS-III+AC+PS.
These details were told over phone and they said they will provide a proper quote on paper by Monday.

Ex-showroom: 5,50,000
Tax (@ 12%): 66,000
Insurance: 14,000 (approx)

So, total OTR price is Rs 6,30,000

I would probably buy it at this price, if not for the terms:
  1. Delivery period is 4 to 6 weeks.
  2. At first they asked me to pay entire amount in advance and I just laughed at it. Now they are asking to pay at least 30% of the invoice value (comes to Rs 1.65 lakh) as booking amount. I've asked the dealer why I need to pay such huge amount for booking the vehicle when even a 12-lakh Innova can be booked for as little as Rs 5,000. And he said that Force needs full amount to be credited before they start assembling the vehicle, and that he has to pay the remaining 70% from his pocket.
  3. Booking cannot be canceled and booking amount is non-refundable. If they do not deliver the vehicle in the 4 to 6 weeks time, then the only compensation they will provide is that they will then give interest on the booking amount for the delay period.

Overall very consumer unfriendly policies by Force Motors. And in addition to this, getting financing for this vehicle seems to be an issue. The local dealer has a tie-up with Cholamandalam and even they are reluctant to provide finance. They want proof of assets and a guarantor to process the loan, and even after that they say they will only provide 70% of the invoice value. Basically for a vehicle that costs Rs 6.30L on-road, the maximum finance I can get is Rs 3.85L, that too after providing proofs & guarantees.

I have made my disappointment clear to the dealer. I told him that I am ready to book it with Rs 5,000 and need finance for at least 80% of the on-road value. And if the vehicle doesn't arrive on the specified date, then the booking stands canceled and my money should be refunded without any fuss. I don't think I will be hearing from him again.

Well, back to the hunt. Sumo Grande is climbing up the charts in the family, and Bolero Plus with AC+PS is also a possibility.

Thanks everyone. Will let you know what we end-up with.

Teja
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Old 18th February 2009, 19:57   #14
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Further update regarding my GAMA purchase saga. This is what happened since my last post. I had conveyed to the dealer that the terms were not acceptable to me and that I will be looking at other options. Then dealer started to negotiate and this is what we finally agreed to:

1. Booking amount Rs 1 Lakh.
2. Delivery within 5 weeks. Dealer will give a firm date at the time of booking.
3. Booking cannot be canceled till delivery date given by dealer, but if vehicle is not provided by delivery date then booking stands canceled and the dealer will refund the booking amount. And this will be written on the dealer's letterhead and signed & stamped by the dealership proprietor.

Basically, the dealer is keen to sell me a GAMA. He said that they haven't sold any GAMAs (they are only two years old with Force) and want to bring in a vehicle. And they were very nice and courteous during the whole thing and I was happy with the attention and service they provided so I decided to go ahead and book a GAMA today.

At 3:30PM I arrived at the dealership with my check-book. They had prepared the paper-work which said GAMA with BS-III engine and the AC + PS option. I wanted them to add the engine model & spec (TD-2650 FTI with 75hp & 197Nm) to the booking order as I didn't want to end up with a TD-2650F. This is where things started falling apart.

First the dealer got confused and started saying that both BS-II and BS-III engines are same in terms of power & torque. So I showed them the GAMA pamphlet I had which clearly showed the availability two engines with different power & torque numbers.

So the dealer started calling up people. I think he must have talked to at least 8 different persons at Force - starting with the Business Manager for AP to all the way up to the Vice President for Sales. No one could give a clear picture. Finally he reached one Mr. Amar Deep who is the production manager at the Force factory. And he gave very clear and final info.

"Starting Oct 2008, the TD-2650FTI engine is no longer available on GAMA or Toofan. Only Gurkha and the Traveller get this engine. The GAMA can only be provided with a TD-2650F that develops 60hp & 154NM. The TD-2650F is available in both BS-II and BS-III variants with different sensors and EGR modules. If the customer wants a TD-2650 FTI then the only current choice is the Gurkha."

Needless to say I was thoroughly disappointed. The dealer was also quite sympathetic - he offered to provide the BS-II with AC+PS at his landing cost, but I thought that 60hp is a tad under-powered for a vehicle this size. And I felt that I was compromising too much in order to buy a GAMA. Meanwhile one of them dug up the latest GAMA pamphlet from their files and the TD-2650 FTI was not mentioned in it. In fact, some specs have changed considerably. The vehicle is lighter now, has a lower power alternator and a smaller battery.

The dealer says that Force have a stock of unsold Gurkhas left and that they are asking them to push Gurkhas on whoever asks for a 4WD. He asked if I might be interested in a nice deal on the Gurkha. Unfortunately the Gurkha doesn't meet my needs now.

Anyway, that ends my GAMA saga. I have looked at everything else on the market and nothing seems to fit my needs in my budget:

Bolero - Too Small
Bolero Plus - Underpowered, expensive, 2 months waiting for AC + PS option
Sumo Victa - Crude & underpowered
Sumo Grande - Can't come-around to its looks, quality issues remain
Safari & Tavera - EXPENSIVE

I guess my choice is now between the Sumo Grande & the Xylo.

Cheers
Teja
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Old 18th February 2009, 22:46   #15
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Teja:

Guess you see my point now.

Force motors has no interest in selling anything other than commercial/taxi vehicles. The Gurkha being the only exception. I have been in contact with Mr. Amar Deep when I booked my Gurkha. If he has told you that there is no TD-2650FTI for the Gama then I guess this option is off. I think your best bet is to negotiate a price on the Grande or the Xylo.
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