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Old 21st August 2010, 18:56   #1
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Default Experience A-Star (Read: Experience a star)

Hey guys,
This is my first ever post and am very thrilled to be a part of this awesome web community. I finally got my membership approved after a long wait!
Just last week, I took the delivery of my Maruti Suzuki Astar Lxi and I have tons of information to be shared with you'll. Right from the decision making,
dealership decision, the best deal/bargain, the usage of Team-BHP advice section for pre-delivery inspection, paper work, finance related information and finally about the car!

Why did I choose to have a wide scope of topics in my post?
While doing pre-purchase research, I found that there aren't many posts, information on Astar. So, I felt the need to help/advice
my fellow TeamBhpians/prospective buyers if they are interested in knowing more about this car. All I read everywhere on the internet is comments on looks, performance etc, but nothing about the benefits, dealership experience etc. I want the my fwlloe BHPians to benefit from my experience as I personally believe that Astar is way ahead of an M800, Alto, Estilo, Wagon R in its own way. No offence to the owners of these VFM cars.
So let's begin; shall we?

Part 1
Background

I owned a Maruti 800 DX 5 Speed, MPFI E2 since 10yrs. Of lately, I spent 11k in 6 months time on the Alternator, Battery, Axle replacement at a MASS, through
my nose! That prompted me that I should now look for better options. My search now begins; should I go for Alto Lxi?Estilo?

Reasoning

I clearly wanted to stick to Maruti and my main requirements were Power steering and an AC; an effective one this time. I almost came close to buying an Alto
Lxi as it fit my budget of approximately 3Lakhs. But at the back of my mind, I knew that I was buying a newer generation M800. True, Alto looks pretty good
and is great VFM, but again, I was "compromising".
I went to Spectra Motors, Autovista and Sai Service Andheri/Mahalaxmi. The delaership salespersons were very courteous at all the places. My dad and mom has
always driven an Amby, Fiat Padmini M800 and the old Zen, so they had never experienced the feel of new generation cars. They were pretty impressed with the
amount of space, ease of ingression/egression in Estilo, Swift and many more present at the Maruti dealerships. We went around and saw Estilo Lx, Lxi, 2010
Wagon R Lx and Lxi. Mom was firm on buying the Alto Lxi, since it served the purpose and was within the budget. But Dad secretly told me, "Son, let buy
something "new" which will be a true upgrade from our M800". I agreed (well, I was already convinced). We decided on Estilo Lx as we had a lot of discounts.
Once we headed home, we once again changed our mind and opted for Alto Lxi since it came with Power steering whereas Estilo Lx just has AC. Phew! Confusion
all the way!
Then suddenly, we recollected seeing a great amount of discounts on the Astar; Dad said that he loved the interiors, and the front and rear. Mom too said
that she liked it. So, Alto and Estilo both were kept aside.
However, initially, we did feel that the space is pretty less. On this note, I'll share a funny experience: A young guy about 5.7" in height pushed the seat towards the rear to the fullest. He called his parents and said that the space in the rear is extremely less now. The salesperson too agreed with the parents and took them toward the new Wagon R and Estilo. However, once the young guy was loitering around the Astar, I told him to sit with the seat pushed behind to the maximum. Man! his feet did not even reach the floor pedals! Duh! I told him to adjust it as per his driving style/comfort; told him to come out and then guage the space in the rear. Voila! there was enough space for an average heighted person to sit comfortably. The young guy was now kinda embarrased! aww! Poor thing. I further asked him as to who will drive the car and his seating place. He said that most of time, he will drive the car alone, which means that the only thing he will carry is air in the rear seat! And keeping in mind that the space in the front seats is awesome, this is the ideal choice!
Second, with parents, he will sit in the rear; he called his parents (his parents were shorter than him), Voila! the seats can be pushed toward the dashboard even more, thus meaning even more space in the rear! The young guy thanked me! Meanwhile, the salesman didnt do anythin but smile! (for a moment i thought that i am the salesman in the dealership)!
The same is the case with me; I am happy with the space in the rear. But yes, if we have tall and heavy guys seated both in the front and rear, then space is a problem for sure! But then, I am sure this is the case with all hatchbacks! well almost all!

Now comes the bootspace. Everyone seems to be complaining about the bootspace being a joke, but hey, M800, Alto and such compact cars dont offer significant bootspace either! Besides, how many of us travel with luggage to office anyway! It's mostly our tiffin, laptop bag etc. But yeah, may be for weekend trips or long journeys where you need a lot of luggage, I am sure space was a drawback in most hatchbacks!
This is how I convinced myself and the young guy.

Note: The car is much wider than Alto,M800, Wagon R, Estilo, in the front, which means that you wont be rubbing shoulders with your co-passenger. The reason, I believe, that the leg space is lesser, is because the lumbar, and thigh support is more than what is offered in wagon R, estilo, Alto, M800 etc. Both in the front as well as the rear seats. The seats are very comfortable and driving position for long drives is fantastic.

Front and rear visibility
It does take some time to get adjusted to the front; but hey, in most modern hatchbacks we cant see the leading edge of the bonnet anyway; its all about good judgement.
Similarly for the rear, one needs to be careful initially, as the rear windscreen is a little small, but hey, it looks classy and cute!
So these were my reasons for buying an Astar over Estilo, Alto.The new Wagon R did not have any discounts, so it was out of question.

Mission A-star Commences

What made me select a particular Dealer?
We had already seen the car and checked some more stuff online. I called up Spectra, Sai Service and Auto Vista to get the best possible deals for both, my old car and the new car as well. It turned out that AutoVista gave me the best deal. However, I must admit, that I found Mr. Milind from Sai Service
Mahalaxmi to be the best among Sai Service Andheri and Spectra Motors. The guy knew what he spoke, was very courteous, did not pressurize, and made everything transparent as possible. Even though the deal did not go through, he was positive, adviced what steps I need to follow even with other dealers for registration, payment, delivery etc. Kudos!
I contacted Mr. Anjalesh from Autovista; I would give credit to this guy for giving me an excellent deal and I stongly recommend approaching him at
Autovista. No nonsense, straightforward guy. Treats customers with respect. So Autovista was the obvious choice.

Pricing Details
I enquired once again and he informed me about the following discounts
Ex-showroom Price Mumbai - 3,70,117
Registration Charges 31000
Insurance Rs. 12270
Total - Rs. 4,13,470 (This is the accurate figure whereas the above ones are approximate) without discounts

Maruti July 2010 deal on Astar Variants (It is currently active too) in Mumbai
Rs 35000 Cash Discount
Rs 15000 Exchange Bonus

Why an Astar Lxi and not Vxi?

1) Astar Vxi was Rs. 30K over and above my already exceeded budget, as my affordable budget was (for Alto Lxi) of Rs 3,10,000 after discounts. So I would have to pay a lot extra over an Alto Lxi.
2) Astar gave me a benefit of 50000, ie 35000 cash as compared to a meagre 15000 on Alto. Similarly, 15000 Exchange bonus on Astar as opposed to a measely Rs 8000 on Alto. I calculated that I am losing out on additional 27000 if I buy an Alto. But at the same time I am paying a lot more for Astar; at this point of time, my dad came to my rescue saying that for Rs. 310000 you are buying something that based on 10yr old design, whereas by paying 360000 (After all discounts), you are getting something that is much superiour in terms of design, technology, features and ofcourse more power and space in the front. Kudos!
psychological dilemma solved! suddenly the difference of 50K disappeared!
3) I already had a Blaupunkt HU, 4 speakers, so buying a VXI, which comes pre-equipped with a player and speakers was a waste of money.
4) At the back of my mind, I knew that I am an informed buyer and am good with bargaining and on the spot negotiation; so I was pretty confident that I will get my LXi converted to the config (well almost) of VXi (the deal that I bargained for and got approved, follows later)
5) The seat fabric on Lxi is light grey and dark grey as opposed to darker shades of grey, but it didnt matter as I knew I will be putting Art Leather Seat Covers
6) I knew I can custom fit the rear seat headrest by paying only 1K at a MASS
7) I dont care about the cheap looking side view mirrors; a blessing in disguise is that if broken as usual by cyclist, autorickshaw drivers, cyclist and not-
so-careful passerbys, I can replace it at MASS for a cheap cost. And beside, they are not that cheap.
8) I knew I will strike a deal with the MASS or an Alloy wheel dealer to give me the stripped off original/new like wheel caps for a cheap price.
9) I conducted research and found that Vxi is the one that sells the most, so if I chose an Lxi, that too with a not so popular color, I would get the best
deal!

Why the color: Desert Brown?
I am tired of the reds, sunlight coppers, silvers all around me whole day! My earlier car was red, Black is difficult to maintain in a dusty climate and not
so co-operative people who scratch the side doors and bonets on purpose. White is too bland and I believe it suits only a Macbook! Healing green was too light, and the blue was too bright! So desert brown was the less popular one as I had not seen a single desert brown Astar. Beside, I knew that the Dersert brown Lxi wouls give me the best Best Deal!

Mission Astar Lxi to Vxi Accomplished!

I got Rs 50000 off (As explained above) from Maruti (Zero Bargain over here, so no brownie points for me!)

Upon bargaining and doing some smart talk, here is the deal I got for free:
More value for my old M800 Rs 7000
MGA Front Power Windows - Rs 8000 (With 2yrs Warranty)
MGA Manual Central Locking - Rs 3500 (With 1yr Warranty)
MGA Mudflaps - Rs 650
MGA Rubber Matting - Rs 1250
MGA Leather Steering Cover - Rs 570
Engine Lacquer Coating - Rs 1000 (Only a single coat)
Engine area Anti Rust Coating - Rs 1500 (Only a single coat)
Underbody Anti Rust Coating - Rs 1500 (Only a single Coat)
Ambi Pur Car Perfume - Rs 200
Total Rs 25170
The deal was sealed!

I can comfortably say, that my Astar Lxi got converted to Vxi variant. Except, rear power windows, read headrests and cheap side view mirrors.
I am sure I could have managed Sunfilms and Wheelcaps for free too, but my parents said "Enough! Dont be greedy Karan!"
Note: At times, the delars over-quote and then discount the accessories; nevertheless, I got them for free, so I did not care. Psychologically it made me feel good that I got free stuff worth 25170; I am sure their cost price may be half!
Karan Strikes again! My Final Sting!

However I did purchase the following:
Original Wheelcaps (Rs 350 Each) for Astar @ 50% discount (A MASS has placed an order and will be here in 10 working days from Maruti - Gurgaon)
Original Headrests (Rs 500 Each) at 25% discount (I will talk about the custom fitting later, along with photos; the MASS has placed an order with Maruti Gurgaon)

After Market Accessories

Garware Coolvision for Front Windshiled with 3yrs warranty - Rs 1500 cut down to Rs 1300
Garware Classic for Sides and Rear with 2 yrs warranty - Rs 1500 cut down to Rs 1300
Art Leather Seat Covers with 1 yr warranty - Rs 3000 Slashed down to Rs 2250

Word of Caution!
Please take care that the Garware or any other variant will have the logo printed at a lot of places on the sunfilms. After installment, do compare the
sample/brochure to the actual work done on your car. Else there are a lot of people who show something and put something else!
A Maruti dealer quoted Rs 4000 for the side and rear sunfilms, saying "we give the best; and RTO approved", upon enquiring (read as crosschecking) at the same dealer's MASS service centre, they quoted 1890 for the same and said that we keep only Garware Classic Lite, whose MRP itself is Approx Rs 1900. So dont get looted at dealerships; do your homework well.
I personally do not recommend buying cheap bumper scratch guards as they fall off in a few weeks time. Similarly, the MGA's cost 900. Well, it only protects only some sections, so the other sections (almost 90% of the bumper) remains unprotected and vulnerable to scratches. Here in our Indian cities, I am sure the bikers, Autorickshaw drivers, cyclists scrape other sections of the bumpers almost everyday. So, i suggest that you save 900 bucks and keep it for the times when a lot of scratches have appeared and get it repainted.

Word of Caution!
I am sure most of you are aware, but for the one who are not:
The dealers have a margin of atleast Rs 8000 Rs on the "registration charges" which are claimed to be handling, delivery, agent, and other services.
The delaers have a 45%-50% cut in the Insurance premium that you pay at the dealerships. If you happen to visit the homepages of the insurance companies, you will find out that all of them offer atleast 45% discount on premiums, and if you call them, then they give you a little more discount on the spot. The Mumbai Dealers (including Sai Service, Spectra, Autovista, Ratan) quoted Rs 12270. Whereas Ifkko Tokia quoted 8700; upon calling Iffko Tokia, they reduced it further to 8200. Which means that there is a difference of a staggering 4000 bucks! Believe me, the policy is the same and there is absolutely no difference.
The dealer do give their Jazz saying its cashless and its better! Come on! We are teambhpians! cut the cr@$!
What I did not like, not only about MAruti dealers, but all including Hyundai, GM, Fiat, is that none of them disclose the "cuts" even though they claim they are transparent. So I advice, that before you start your bargain, declare that you will get insurance done on your own; trust me, it is a breeze. The dealers will say that it will cause problems, delay in delivery, etc, but come on, if you can save 4-5K, then 1-2 delay (which actually never happens) is OKAY!
The insurance companies want to do business, I am sure they will act as per you will. Iffko Tokio, New India Assurance, said that they can issue a cover note in 30min. Beside, the Teambhpians are tech savvy, you can buy a policy online! and pass it on to the dealer when your car goes for registration.
Hence, I recommend going the same way to all the prospective buyers of Astar, go for the base variant, extract the best possible deal. Total VFM!

Part 2
This section will cover my experience in the car, my opinions, reviews etc. But I guess I shall post it soon.
Feel free to ask questions about paper work, interiors, or any other car specific details. I shall try my best to answer them. for now, I am loving it. Para pap pap pap pap!
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Old 21st August 2010, 20:14   #2
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Dude, that is one detailed post. Appreciate your efforts in jolting down the minuscule info too. That said, congrats on the car. Drive safe.

OT: Any review without pics is considered offense here :P
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Old 21st August 2010, 20:32   #3
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new AStar! Good to see another AStar owner.
Desert Brown though different looks good indeed. Wheel covers would look good if you paint the rims black, LXi comes with silver coloured rims. Rear headrests are mandatory for the safety of rear passengers, get it installed.
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Old 21st August 2010, 21:30   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sachinj12 View Post
Dude, that is one detailed post. Appreciate your efforts in jolting down the minuscule info too. That said, congrats on the car. Drive safe.

OT: Any review without pics is considered offense here :P
The Pics are on the way! I was very busy and so couldn't erase the number plate in the photos; here are some pics.

PS - Like I said, Headrests are on their way. I am planning to paint my wheel rims black using a spray can! Most probably Bosny. It costs some 190 bucks
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Old 22nd August 2010, 12:29   #5
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Karan, Congrats on the purchase.As you said, the car will look different (and looks differently too) from the pack of red's and whites in the road.

Please correct me if i am wrong here. You got a 50k cash discount on 4.13 L Onroad + 25k accessories for free? That makes the price of A star Lxi (now a vxi equivalent) to 3.63 L?
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Old 22nd August 2010, 17:13   #6
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Quote:
Please correct me if i am wrong here. You got a 50k cash discount on 4.13 L Onroad + 25k accessories for free? That makes the price of A star Lxi (now a vxi equivalent) to 3.63 L?
Yes buddy! There are different ways to see the "free accessories/benefits"

4.13 Lakhs - 50K (35K Cash discount + 15K Exchange Bonus), over and above that I bargained, for accessories/more value for my old car, worth approx 25K, for free, from the dealer!

A Word of Caution:
But while bargaining with automobile dealers for the exchange value of your car, especially during discounts season, just keep in mind that they underquote the value of your car tremendously.
I was offered as less as Rs 45k by one well known Maruti Dealer and as high as 57k for my old M800 Dx 5Speed 12Valve. And then they added the exchange bonus to make the value look attractive. ie 57k + 15 K = 72K. Whereas they should have offered more in the first place and then add the exchange bonus. As my M800 was in Top Condition.

It seems the dealers want to pocket the extra benefit which Maruti wants to pass on to it's loyal customers.



PS - You rightly pointed out that I bought a VXI for 3.63

Last edited by Rehaan : 4th October 2010 at 15:29. Reason: Fixing quote
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Old 22nd August 2010, 17:39   #7
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Here is the new engine intake. Looks a little better than the older one due to a Suzuki Badging on it. I especially love the shiny coating on the engine and parts which should last for around 2-3 yrs. The good part is the accumulated dust gets washed down very easily with a garden hose or on pouring water and voila, the engine looks as good as the time when you took the delivery for the first time.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 22nd August 2010, 18:33   #8
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Welcome to the forum Karan. Congratulations of your very well sorted out purchase.

That is one heck of a informative post. I have learnt a lot regarding dealerships and their margins from your posts. Also the prices and value of accessories and what a little bargaining can do for you. Keep it up mate. Now post an equally detailed driving report too.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 19:08   #9
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superb bargain. 3.63L for A start Lxi is surely a VFM. Guys who are looking to buy Alto K10 would surely think about A * Lxi.
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Old 19th September 2010, 19:52   #10
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Default A-Star FOG LAMPS

FOG LAMP

The other day I was wondering if I can buy great quality FOG LAMPS which are of OEM quality. And Voila! I found one due to some research.

I conteacted Lumax, one of MSIL's suppliers of electrical accessories. I got an instant reply from them and was given the number of the Mumbai distributor. I discovered a staggering difference in the distributor's quote as compared to the dealer's quote. Here are the details:

Maruti Dealer quote - Rs 3690 for Astar FOG LIGHTS
Includes:
For Lumax FOG LAMPS assembly including bulbs x 2
Wiring Harness and Fuses
Labour

Lumax Mumbai Distributor - 1600 (May also offer Rs. 100-200 discount)
FOG LAMPS assembly including bulbs x 2
Wiring Harness - 200 for a pair
Labour - Rs. 200
Plastic Part with Hole (to accomodate the FOG LAMPS) - Rs 65 Each.
Total - 2130

So you still end up saving quite a lot. If anyone is interested in doing it this way, I can provide the Maruti part number and Lumax's distributor in Mumbai; so please PM me. The shipping of the plastic part takes roughly about 10 days from Maruti Gurgaon. Whereas the FOG Lamps are available on the spot and are the same as the ones that fit in the Swift.
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Old 19th September 2010, 20:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karan1609 View Post
I especially love the shiny coating on the engine and parts which should last for around 2-3 yrs. .
Congrats on new car.

But I am sorry to say that you did a mistake by going for that coating. It looks good just couple of days. and after few weeks, all the rubber and plastic parts will start looking cracking. Something you will hate to see every time you will open the bonnet. Very sad that MASS is fooling with people on this
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Old 20th September 2010, 22:58   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
Congrats on new car.

But I am sorry to say that you did a mistake by going for that coating. It looks good just couple of days. and after few weeks, all the rubber and plastic parts will start looking cracking. Something you will hate to see every time you will open the bonnet. Very sad that MASS is fooling with people on this
Thanks for chipping in, but do you have photos or real life accounts which illustrate this?It would be interesting to see and have it taken off immediately.
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Old 20th September 2010, 23:52   #13
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Congrats on your purchase and thanks for sharing the detailed buying experience and the strategies you used for negotiating.

Please do post your driving experience both highway and city and share the +ves and -ves you have observed with this car.
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Old 21st September 2010, 14:23   #14
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Congrats on the new ride and welcome to the forum buddy. Can you share some more pics especially after you have painted the rims black. I think it'll look quite interesting (in a positive way of course )
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Old 21st September 2010, 17:09   #15
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Just curious but is the dash very obstructive for short people? I've never sat in an A-Star but the dash, specially the aircon vents, look rather high from outside. I'm asking since you mentioned that short family who ended up booking the car.
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