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View Poll Results: What type of vehicles should be given for Media Drives
Final Version (WYSIWYG) No Beta Testing 207 78.41%
Pre-production versions (That can be improved later on) 57 21.59%
Voters: 264. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 5th February 2019, 13:07   #1
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Default What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

1. Final Version (No Beta Testing Please). WYSIWYG. What the Media Drive guys get is the same that will be delivered. No changes. No improvements. Improvements to be reserved for facelifts.

2. Pre-production vehicles (Kind of Beta Versions). Which may have some niggles. Some fit and finish issues. Some software bugs. All of which is to be sorted (based on feedback) before launching in the showrooms for sale.

P.S. I am not affiliated to any car manufacturer.

Last edited by Dr.Suraj : 5th February 2019 at 13:21.
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Old 5th February 2019, 13:13   #2
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

'Pre-production' should not be an excuse to brush issues under the carpet. I vote for 1.

PS: Both points seem to have been made on a basic assumption that a manufacturer cannot produce a niggle free car before review. Don't see why that should be the case. All companies do thousands of hours of tests on their cars - and they don't need a couple of hours of media feedback to find out the touchscreen is buggy, or the panels are not aligned.

Remember: Reviews should be for helping customers assess cars better, rather than help companies cover up their mess. How many times have we heard 'popular reviewers' mentioning - the fit and finish levels on this car were bad, but the manufacturer has promised us that these are pre-production vehicles and the quality of customer cars should be better! Does this really help the customer - or provide the manufacturer more room for their mistakes?

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 5th February 2019 at 13:37.
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Old 5th February 2019, 13:16   #3
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Suraj View Post
1. Final Version (No Beta Testing Please). WYSIWYG. What the Media Drive guys get is the same that will be delivered. No changes. No improvements. Improvements to be reserved for facelifts.
It should be the final version. Most of the reviews happen during the media drives and the issues faced in the drive reflect the reviews. All the hype over the launch gets diluted as the short changes are highlighted.

One example I can quote is, When the media drive happened from the new Jazz, fuel lid was not painted and it received lot of flak in our own forum. But the actual deliveries had them painted in the body color.

On a side note it works as a third party testing before the deliveries happen.
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Old 5th February 2019, 13:27   #4
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Pre-production samples have their place in the evaluation process, esp. for models where the manufacturer is yet to nail down a final production version but wants to get some input and publicity.

What's absolutely stupid though, is putting non-final versions on showroom display. A potential customer should never experience a product that isn't identical to what's on sale, feature or quality wise.

First impressions are hard to shake off.
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Old 5th February 2019, 13:59   #5
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Suraj View Post
1. Final Version (No Beta Testing Please). WYSIWYG. What the Media Drive guys get is the same that will be delivered. No changes. No improvements. Improvements to be reserved for facelifts.
Voted for the first option.

Usually there's not much time between the media drives and the launch date. Manufacturers should conduct rigorous testing before the media drives itself and fix all issues.

I am from software testing background and we never do any last minute changes to the application, even if to fix small issues, because we won't get enough time to do a thorough testing of the product to ascertain whether any new issues got introduced while fixing previous ones. So the last minute issues go in with the product itself marked as "known issues" and fixed later in small patches.

Ofcourse this won't be possible with hardware products or if its a big issue. But then big issues should ideally be discovered and fixed much before, else its a failure on part of the testing team.

As this poll started with the Harrier thread, I would like to point out some major issues that got missed by Tata motors' testing team. Its the seating position and ORVM blindspot. Many people test driving the car have complained about these. It should've been tested using drivers of varying height and width which seems like wasn't done.
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Old 5th February 2019, 14:18   #6
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

While some informed buyers may just brush aside the fact that the display vehicle is a one-off pre-production case and the final product will be different, the bulk of the car buyers will be swayed away by what they actually see in the showroom.

Voted for the 1st option.
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Old 5th February 2019, 15:35   #7
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

I am contemplating about the intention of this poll. Are we trying to help any manufacturer decide at what stage of vehicle development the media be allowed ?

Media drives are primarily ad campaigns. How does it make sense to serve a half baked stuff for the media to showcase it flaws ?

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 5th February 2019 at 15:41.
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Old 5th February 2019, 16:30   #8
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Actually, the problem isn't severe or that common. Most cars that we've reviewed have always been the final production spec. Just went through the last 25 Official Reviews and I can't point at any that was a pre-production rough car. Apparently, it's just the Harrier in recent times (going by posts on the Harrier thread).
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Old 5th February 2019, 16:46   #9
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

It has to be the final product, no two ways about it. The reasons, IMO, are as follows:
  • Not every media person actually knows about the car (Guys who have been to media drives will understand my point); so there is no point of asking them to give their 'valuable' opinion. I have seen people driving diesels at 4500 rpm and petrols at 3500
  • Same car will be different for someone who weighs 69 kg and someone who weighs 96 kg. Hence, it is better to let market researchers do that part of framing the specifications as per customer preferences , as they have to cover a way wider audience, let media guys test and share their experiences
  • Media drives are meant to give the customers an idea of what is coming their way, not telling the manufacturers what they have done right or wrong
  • While for someone coming from a Swift; the Hexa will look wonderful - at the same time, anyone coming from an Endeavour will find it just another ordinary MPV with a few low quality bits (A few days back I told this to a Hexa owner, who was feeling that it's ordinary). Media drive has the drivers who drive multiple cars and are always in with an impression - while some find one car good; others at times intentionally or unintentionally declare it just average (of course, to stand out) - its really important to factor in this part too. Edit: And the same Hexa owner just messaged me a screenshot of this post, looks like he is also addicted to the Team-BHP

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Maybe those Harriers were not pre-production in reality and Tata are now chasing their tails to sort the flaws out!
Pre-production is an excuse in my humble opinion for Tata's oversight.
When it comes to likes of Tata and my past experience with their media vehicles, I have formed a simple hypothesis:
"When they produce 25 of them, they produce it well, all vendors work hard and QC is well done. When they produce 2500 - their QC messes up"

Last edited by VKumar : 5th February 2019 at 16:58.
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Old 5th February 2019, 16:50   #10
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Apparently, it's just the Harrier in recent times (going by posts on the Harrier thread).
Maybe those Harriers were not pre-production in reality and Tata are now chasing their tails to sort the flaws out!

Pre-production is an excuse in my humble opinion for Tata's oversight. Only Hyundai officially invite us to drive disguised pre-production cars to get feedback etc. BMW and Skoda invite hacks to do the same thing abroad.

Normally, it is the other way round, the manufacturers sift through the initial lot of cars and ensure the media cars are flawless. After every drive session, they are inspected and checked. I know that for a fact.
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Old 5th February 2019, 17:15   #11
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Wider question: is there ever a 'final' version of a car? My understanding is that manufacturers keep tweaking and improving vehicles (and manufacturing techniques) based on user and ASS feedback.

So a car bought 6 months after its global launch would likely be subtly different from the one at launch. It is not only the pre-production cars which are different from the 'final' version, as there is no 'final' version anyway.

I am not from the automotive industry, and could be utterly wrong.

Last edited by vipul_singh : 5th February 2019 at 17:19.
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Old 5th February 2019, 18:17   #12
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Apparently, it's just the Harrier in recent times (going by posts on the Harrier thread).
A recent example from the two wheeler space has been Jawa, around the similar timelines as Harrier. They even followed the same pattern of sending pre-production bikes to showrooms. A trend that doesn't spread, I hope.

Needless to mention - that was a mess too, and now they have gone silent on actual production! Should have just waited to ensure the best quality is shown to media / customers instead.
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Old 5th February 2019, 18:28   #13
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Product testing is always a part of the pre-launch phase of a project. Media can be asked to participate in product testing/development but that has to be clearly specified and such 'prototypes' should not make it to the showrooms. I work in automotive consumer research space and have participated in the extensive exercise that's conducted before finalising a concept/design/feature. So, the process of handing over unprepared cars to media doesn't sound right to me.

To be honest, Tata seemed to be in some inexplicable hurry to launch Harrier. They could have completed the internal/agency testing and then launched the vehicle. Showcasing it three months before the launch possibly wasn't a great idea. Moreover, it also raises a question on the standards of automotive journalism in India. Perhaps, not the right thread to discuss it so will park it for another day.
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Old 5th February 2019, 18:38   #14
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

Question should be 'Should media/ reviewers/ public in general be treated as beta tester for a vehicle?' I think the car company's country of origin might prove to be a critical deciding factor
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Old 5th February 2019, 20:22   #15
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Default Re: What type of vehicles should be provided for Media Drives?

A very apt thread after the recent debate that has been waging on in the Harrier thread. I feel it should definitely be the final version that should be offered to the media. After all what is the point of these media drives? To showcase the vehicle to the world. And why on earth would anyone want to spend so much into the R&D of a vehicle and in the end show a half baked product to the world with uneven panel gaps or parts falling off or poor paint quality.

This doesn't mean that they should work on the feedback from these drives. They should ofcourse. But this should be for variant positioning, juggling of feature list and such things. For all other things the in house experts and tests should be stringent enough to iron out any other niggles.

Moreover in today's age when most people are relying on online print and video reviews, it speaks very poorly of the manufacturer and the vehicle itself if such anomalies are reported. The discussion that follows, like whats been going on in the Harrier thread, can be very unforgiving for the car and might sway a lot of buyers away or at the least create a lot of room for doubt regarding quality.
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