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View Poll Results: Would you buy a flopped car?
Yes, if I really like it or the price is good 408 73.38%
No way I'm bringing a flop home 148 26.62%
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:23   #1
GTO
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Default The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car-collage1.jpg

In such a damp car market, the deals are mostly good. For flop cars, they are exceptional.

Someone called me last evening to take my advice & ask if he should buy a Nissan Kicks (some crazy deals out there). I told him not to, and added that I wouldn't buy it, no matter how big the discount (there are way better crossovers IMHO). Cars flop for valid reasons and usually, the masses are right (with few exceptions, of course).

We started discussing the pros & cons to buying a car that flopped in the market.

Pros:

• Upside is mostly the price. $$$ cuts & massive discounts follow a market flop.

• Some sort of exclusivity? You might be the only one driving it in your society, office complex or zip code.

IMHO, unless you have really, REALLY liked the model, there’s no reason to buy a flopped car. Just be absolutely sure about its strengths = there might be many reasons that 99.99% of the market doesn't put its money on it.

Downsides:

• Resale value. If no one wants it new, no one wants it used. Flopped cars get bad prices in the used market, and they take far longer to sell.

• Image, if that matters to you. Your friends & relatives might wonder why you bought an unpopular car. Be ready to answer a lot of questions.

• Spare parts = you should be okay if you get it from a good manufacturer. But if you bought a flop car from a brand not known for customer service, boy, are you in for trouble.

• If you are buying something rare & complex (e.g. Opel Vectra or X-Trail), you won't find any mechanic in the after-market who has familiarity with it.

Any other pros & cons that BHPians can add to the discussion? Thanks!
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:31   #2
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Good topic! I would say, another consideration for future parts support of a 'flopped-in-India' car could be its popularity in the Global market. Imported parts for global bestsellers are likely to remain available for a long time even if support in India is lacking.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:35   #3
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Agree.. except in the strange case when the car is a flop on account of the high price. Price perception is set at the time of launch, and then no amount of discounts helps the model. Two cars come to my mind -- Ford Fiesta (the last version), Ist gen Jazz.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:38   #4
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

While it is agreeable in general to ignore flop cars, I believe

1. Some of the cars are wrongly understood by the market (Ford)
2. Wrong timing of launch (Fiat)

If somebody has an assurance of servicing (Authorised dealer or otherwise) and has a long term view of the car (>5 years holding), nothing wrong in buying a flop car.

I like to hold my cars for around 7 years time and most cars have pathetic re-sale value by then.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:41   #5
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Flopped cars have one more advantage.
Lesser demand => lesser chances of theft. Chances of a flopped car getting stolen is very less when compared to a more successful car.

In parking lots and when picking up our near and dear ones, it is very easy to spot the car. No confusion as most of the other cars are different.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:41   #6
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Pro: Exclusivity in performance and handling.
My own experience: 2006 Getz GLS- One of the best handling Hyundai cars sold in India. Great brakes too, along with a fabulous 1.3. It is much better than any Swift in India, except when you talk FE. The 1.5 turbo diesel producing 110 PS was in a different league.

God save you if you buy a flop model from a manufacturer with lousy ASS.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:42   #7
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

In today’s world of platform sharing and top hats, I don’t think availability of spare parts is much of a concern. For instance, let’s take the BRV. It is built on the old Amaze platform and that car sold pretty well. The engines, petrol as well as diesel, came from the City so again, everything is available in the market and will continue to be for years. Similarly, the Captur and Kicks share underpinnings with the Duster, so all mechanical components will easily be available for many more years. For globally sold cars, you can be assured of a long lasting supply of everything online. Again, the Ameo’s rear bumper and boot lid will not be easily available but everything else will be as it is the Polo parts bin.

Of course, sourcing model specific parts like trims and bumpers will become a challenge as time goes by, more so in case of a shunt. You can’t expect dealers to block capital by stocking all kinds of parts for slow moving or discontinued models. Things are always available on order, it’s just that they may take some more time.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 14th January 2020 at 11:45.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:47   #8
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Unless resale value is supremely important to a buyer, some flopped cars which are otherwise solid mechanically would make for good buys. Case in point : the new Ford Figo. I hardly see any on the road, but when it comes to the actual car, I think its a cracker of a vehicle, especially with the TDCI engine. Mechanical solidity and fun to drive - both important factors in a rational purchase decision where I am personally concerned. As far as looks go, I find the car to be neutrally designed and in fact, quite nice looking.

Cars like these would make for a solid buy if one can ignore factors like public image and other such externalities. Of course, service support is also important and if that is present (like in the Figo's case) the proposition is pretty compelling.

Last edited by arindambasu13 : 14th January 2020 at 11:50.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:47   #9
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cents View Post
Agree.. except in the strange case when the car is a flop on account of the high price. Price perception is set at the time of launch, and then no amount of discounts helps the model. Two cars come to my mind -- Ford Fiesta (the last version), Ist gen Jazz.
Add the S-Cross 1.6 to this list. On launch I think it was around 18L for the Alpha variant. When I bought it, it was 15L, but the price correction was too late.

Pity, as it is a little gem of a car, but the price, from the Suzuki stable, made it dead on arrival.

Back to topic.

Pros:
  • Bought it for 15L, which I think is value for money for the variant
  • The 1.6 monicker is Very very rare to spot, so its exclusive . When I do spot one, I look at the owner and try to wave
  • Service, as of now is not a problem as apart from the engine and associated parts, the rest is same as the 1.3 variant
  • You are seen as an enthusiast, as in everyone's opinion, no one in their right minds would buy the car
Cons:
  • Resale will be pathetic but that's all right as I do not plan to sell it for a long time
  • 15L for a Suzuki, is the reaction of everyone when they know the price, I just smile and move on
  • Some spares are much more expensive than its 1.3 counterpart
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:05   #10
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

I would say, it depends - mostly on the reasons why the car flopped in the first place. I might not pick up a Nissan Kicks even if the discounts are very attractive, but I would pick up an Abarth Punto - which is an even bigger flop by any measure.

Let's take a few examples -

1. Products flop due to overpricing - Eg: Toyota Yaris, SCross 1.6
2. Products flop when the company brand image can't sell a higher range of products - Eg: Hyundai Sante Fe, Tucson, etc.

3. Good products flop when marketing and portfolio positioning fails them - Eg: TATA Hexa.
4. Products flop when they target very niche segments - Eg: Most performance variants launched in the entry-level market - Abarth, JTP, GTI, etc.

5. Poor products flop - Mahindra Nuvosport, Verito Vibe
6. Sometimes, its both a combination of both company and product - Eg: Datsun Go+, Renault Captur.

Some of these issues can be fixed with a lot of discounts, especially when the cars fall in categories 1 & 2. It would make good sense to pick up such products with good discounts before they run out of stock.

When your issues fall in Category 3 & 4 - the products already have prospective owners anyways and the discounts will help push them over the edge towards a purchase. You already know the issues these cars are going to have - with respect to limited sales, limited parts availability, potentially poor resale, etc - but most likely still consider the product because you fall in the target niche segment of customers anyways.

Category 5 & 6 have issues that discounts can't fix and hence buyers need to be more careful in shortlisting such cars just due to the massive discounts in order. If you do, be prepared to hang in there for the long run!

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 14th January 2020 at 12:25.
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:17   #11
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

I bought a flop car and have lived with it for 14 years with no regrets and it served me faithfully and also the company gave good after sales support, with a heavy heart sold it end of Oct 2019 due to the 15 year rule. I miss my Elantra GLS. Only gripe was the low mileage it delivered otherwise was supremely comfortable in city and highway. If you're in love with a flop go ahead and get it, provided the company doesn't ditch you half way!

Last edited by Durango Dude : 14th January 2020 at 12:18.
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:17   #12
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Most of the time a flop car happens due to total misalignment with market expectations.

Scenario 1: A product launched on false premises is bound to be a market dud (e.g.; Renault Captur – they say India’s most stylish SUV with lot of awards and accolades won in Europe). Expectation was an all-new model, reality was a Duster in new clothes. These kind of market duds are best avoided, because the product by itself doesn’t have any USP to talk about, and probably don't give any ownership satisfaction or exclusivity to the owner.

Scenario 2: A product launched at a price point above segment expectations which resulted in the interest fizzle off within no time. Ford Fiesta was a classic example, and recently the Toyota Yaris. The strong points remain irrespective of the market reception. And with the manufacturer active in the market, its kind of a safe bet.

Scenario 3: Expensive flops but has brand value and quality. These in my opinion has more positives; e.g.; BMW 1 series. Massive flop, but was worth considering for someone who wants a luxury brand with its so called exclusivity and appreciate some of the unique characteristics of the car.

In my opinion the 1st scenario has more cons but 2nd and 3rd scenarios present with more pros than cons.

Last edited by vb-san : 14th January 2020 at 12:23.
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:34   #13
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Both my cars are flops - Zen Estilo F10D and Aria Prestige 4x2. Both are bought pre-owned. I'd have never bought them new.

In hindsight the Estilo has served us well and has been a very good workhorse for our daily commutes. The Aria was an emotional buy (a D-BHPian had warned me not to, a couple of years ago) and the jury is still out. But I'll probably regret buying it.

In both cases, I got them for lower prices compared to same segment (or a segment higher) used car alternatives. Both cars have their quirks but are competent models which could have been successful if marketed and priced right.

I wouldn't buy an unsafe or fundamentally poor product simply because it's available for less money being a flop. For my next used car I'll probably buy the Triber when the Estilo goes eventually.

Last edited by digitalnirvana : 14th January 2020 at 12:36.
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:34   #14
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Personally, I would not associate exclusivity with Flopped cars.

In my opinion, Exclusivity can be associated with cars which are available/manufactured in limited numbers, like the Thar Signature model, VW Polo GTI, Skoda Octavia vRS etc.


Coming back to the topic, Flop Cars have the below problems:
1. Poor Resale Value.
Second Hand Dealers know their business well.
Negotiations will invariably start with "It's a 'flop' model Saar".

2. Spare Parts Availability.
Even if there is a lot of component sharing going on nowadays, procuring plastic parts like bumpers, door handles, Small child parts, etc. could be a challenge.
The option of ordering from China etc. may not be useful as it is time consuming, and the parts themselves maybe fake/non-OEM.

3.Sentimental/Peer Perception
We all have people in our circle who would take every opportunity to jeer, if the product we buy, bombs in the market. "See, I told you Na".

4. Preemptive Selling.
In some cases, I have noticed that, even if the 'Flop' Car is running well, the buyer sells it off, because of the fear associated with Point 2.
The thought process is "If by chance, it breaks down/meet with accident in future, it will be un-repairable".
We know this fear is without basis, but it's the human mind, it can assume whatever it wants.
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:58   #15
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Default Re: The Pros & Cons to buying a flopped car

Thanks, GTO for starting this thread.

I was in a process of buying a car for myself last year and evaluated Hyundai Creta, Renault Captur, Maruti Breeza, Nissan Kicks but went ahead with Kicks and it was a well-thought decision supported by my family. In general, I keep my cars for a minimum of 5 years so resale was not a point of worry for me.

Prior to Kicks, I was driving 3rd generation Honda City (a gem of a car) so there was definitely a comparison and few hiccups for a few months post-purchase. But now after 9 months, I have accepted the Kicks and very happy with it. And I believe, even my Stallion has accepted me and enjoys my company.

Going by numbers, yes Kicks has been labeled as a flop but my experience with the dealer or the associated service center has been positive & top-notch. In fact, I am so much impressed with the car that I am thinking of getting a CVT version of Kicks when it is launched, will buy or not, depends upon many factors.

There was this one mistake which I did; should have gone for the top variant, the XV rather than XL. The reason: I am literally searching for roof rails and an android head unit for my Kicks but not able to get it from anywhere. So the non-availability of accessories I believe is also one of the cons of a flop car.

But in nutshell no regrets!!
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