Team-BHP > The Indian Car Scene

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 28th February 2020, 15:04   #16
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 299
Thanked: 495 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

Originally Posted by aniketi View Post
I always wonder why mass market manufacturer's don't provide basic customization options in cars? They can certainly charge extra for it and earn big profits for sure. For now we have to settle for what we get, in short we do compromise on few things.
The lack of customization options is a legacy of the license raj in my view. For a bunch used to a market where the wait time for 'Fiat' and Ambassador was >10 years, just getting cars off the shelf is a big boon. The manufacturers and the buyers alike have never really thought to ask for customization. Not to mention that price of bespoke cars is likely to be more.

Also, like other people here have already said, most people are happy with what's available and want it immediately.

I remember trying to buy the Swift VDi with ABS in 2008, the salesperson was adamant that ABS is a useless feature and it was foolish to spend an extra 25k INR on something that I might ever use once or twice. His final comment on the subject was that "your car will be especially manufactured by Maruti as no one else buys ABS". A few months later a cousin of mine was told that Maruti doesn't sell cars with ABS and never has!!
varunsangal is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 28th February 2020, 17:29   #17
Senior - BHPian
aniketi's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 1,633
Thanked: 1,395 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

Thanks all for your valuable replies. I was reading them all in last 2 days. I know customization will not get very large response but if executed smartly, I guess it will get many enthusiastic takers. If people see benefit out of it at reasonable cost, people will go for it.

Just to clarify my point little more -

1. Many said people want car immediately, I agree but not 100%. We have always seen people waiting for their cars from 1 month to 6-8 months in some cases as well. Few years back cars like Swift, Dzire, Ecosport etc. has insane waiting periods and now we can see for cars like Seltos, Harrier, Hector etc. Still there are thousands of people who are patiently waiting for what they want, right? If one is getting what he desperately wants & what they really like, people will certainly wait. E.g. I have Ertiga, if I had got option to get all black interiors or beige/black combo, I would have waited for 4-6 weeks easily. I like the car but really hate to maintain all beige interiors, gets dirty very quickly.

2. Companies can charge reasonable to high amount depending on the item for customization and people can wait up to certain period for sure. Things like Alloy wheels, Music System, Leather Steering & gear knob, Front grill, etc. which are comparatively small changes & can be easily customized at the dealer level. Bigger things like Interior color, seats etc. need to be handled at factory level only. But this is possible for sure. Companies can earn more money, dealers can earn more money and people will get satisfaction of buying something which they like, love and want.

3. I am sure supply chain management can be handled. As most manufacturer's bring many parts as ready product, its not that difficult. No automobile manufacturer itself manufacturer items like Alloy wheels, Seats, Interiors, Music system etc. So it just matter of having more options.

Unless some manufacturer try this, we will never know if it gets success or not in India. Indian market is different, you never know, it might get great success as well. Now we have huge market in cars costing between 8-10 to 18-20 Lacs category where people can choose what they want. People buying cars like Creta, Harrier, Swift, Ecosport, etc. would love some customization for sure. Certainly there are many enthusiastic people who want their car as per their liking, I am one of them for sure.
aniketi is offline  
Old 28th February 2020, 17:30   #18
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Thane
Posts: 65
Thanked: 137 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

In case it was missed, Tata Motors is giving it's customers the option to customize Altroz.
The web site looks pretty neatly designed and offers customization which I guess no other mass market manufacturer is providing, at least in this particular segment.
pankajn1702 is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 28th February 2020, 19:19   #19
venkyhere's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: hump city
Posts: 867
Thanked: 2,684 Times
Infractions: 0/1 (7)
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

I have a completely different take on this :

1. In india, the car is still an aspirational product. Very much unlike US/europe etc where car ownership spans almost the entire spectrum of the population's affordability. Only a small % of people (still) above a certain economic threshold can afford to own a car in india (multi level taxation). Also if I may add, car ownership density is highly skewed in favour of urban v/s rural. Hence penetration of car ownership is still low, making us an 'adolescent' market, unlike a 'mature' market like china, or an 'ageing, saturated' market like US/europe. (china was where we are, 20 years ago).

2. As expected, the market being highly price sensitive, there is very very less business sense in maintaining a supply chain + assembly line flexibility (which is both cumbersome and costly, big NOs when the whole point of having an assembly plant in india alongwith parts localization, is to minimize cost) of cosmetic/performance upgrades by the manufacturer. The % of people who are demanding w.r.t 'how i want my car to be' is miniscule, compared to huge majority who just want VFM ownership experience. "I have a car" pride has to grow into "I have these unique things in MY car, which very few others have" pride, for a considerable % of car buyers, for this to make business sense. The best they can do, is offer more and more creature comforts "en masse" in higher variants of a model, closing the gap with international variants, out of sheer pressure from stiff competition.

3. The above two points have set a 'trend' that even in the miniscule luxury segment, with increasing assembly and parts localization levels, the practise of not offering much in terms of customization, continues. Forget interiors or paint, look at the number of engine options available to the rich indian seth when he sets out to buy one of the german luxo barges - its always a choice of 1 petrol engine or 1 diesel engine.

4. The very fact that a thread with this topic appeared in TBHP in 2020, rather than during the early years since the inception of the forum, shows that it's only now, that our market is slowly shedding its pimples and starting to come out of adolescence.
venkyhere is online now   (3) Thanks
Old 28th February 2020, 23:49   #20
Senior - BHPian
landcruiser123's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Peoria IL
Posts: 2,670
Thanked: 5,766 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

Customizations offer a way to distinguish yourself in a market is flooded with the same items.

Quoting the great man Henry Ford himself:
Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.
On the same lines today:
-Most Americans have a car
-An American can distinguish his car with custom kits
-Car penetration is very low in India
-Owning a car distinguishes you from others in society
-Accessory shops offer cheap labor in India. Try that in America

Also, Indians have a "Bigger is better" mentality. I don't think an Indian would spend 15 lakhs on a customized MS Swift. He'd buy a Honda City with that money.

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 29th February 2020 at 00:15.
landcruiser123 is offline   (3) Thanks
Old 29th February 2020, 00:32   #21
turboNath's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 110
Thanked: 629 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

Of late some manufacturers are coming up with configurators on their websites to aid the customers in making their rides 'one of a kind' ! However most of these are limited to cosmetic changes like body graphics, dual tone color scheme etc.(e.g. Ignis). Hopefully this will catch up in the future.
turboNath is offline  
Old 29th February 2020, 01:17   #22
GutsyGibbon's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern Calif.
Posts: 434
Thanked: 1,901 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I spent a lot of time in the USA and can speak from experience. When Americans walk into a car dealer, they want the delivery TODAY.
One exception being Tesla. The years of waiting is not there anymore, but one configures the car online, exterior color, interiors, wheels, battery size, and sw options, and there is an unknown amount of wait time. From a day or two to a couple weeks. The car is delivered to your doorstep on a flatbed, a few signatures, and you are done. So different from the day spent at a dealer, trying to negotiate a price on a car that comes close to checking all the boxes in the checklist. After spending hours haggling, most people end up buying more options than they ever wanted. Like buying 10 features that you never wanted, because you want sunroof. If you ever make it sound like there is a car at the dealer that exactly matches your checklist, and you are in love with the car, ready to buy TODAY - he may endup charging you more. The variable pricing makes you feel like a sucker!
GutsyGibbon is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 1st March 2020, 02:11   #23
gururajrv's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: KA 01-09
Posts: 837
Thanked: 1,439 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

Did you miss MSIL’s Arena showroom giving so called ‘customization’ options for few range of their cars? Now come on, they give so many options to choose decals from!

They give it in the form of accessories “add-on” actually;

Seat covers
Floor mats
Mood lighting
Mud flaps

In fact, the question is, does manufacturers really bother to look into this section? I doubt. They’ve been given the liberty to choose things for us and we have taken the liberty of being mass market & price focused.

Basically we’ve to blame both sides of the coin for having a conservative mindset. However, safe to claim that its slowly changing to;

Safety focused
Quality focused
Environmental focused

Mostly next change is this section “Customisation” could be on the cards. Atleast let’s hope so.


gururajrv is offline  
Old 1st March 2020, 12:27   #24
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 346
Thanked: 689 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

We do offer customized cars but you will need to acclimatize to our definition of customization. Our customization excellence is in "Spot the difference" games. Try Baleno vs Glanza. Two different cars from two different manufacturers with skin deep customization done according to customers taste. HINT: The same customization is done at 7 different places.
headbanger is offline  
Old 2nd March 2020, 16:43   #25
Ashutosh's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NH7
Posts: 104
Thanked: 147 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

Some time ago I got an advert on the Amazon app for a car, like a full front page of the app was covered with the car, I thought that they have finally started Amazon Cars!

But it was just a dedicated page for the upcoming launch in Auto Expo 2020.

If Amazon Cars get some traction then the days are not far when we will be able to get a highly customized car delivered straight to our doors.
Ashutosh is offline  
Old 2nd March 2020, 17:22   #26
DuHasstMich's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Pune,Delhi
Posts: 164
Thanked: 128 Times
Default Re: Why are there no factory-customized cars in India?

We also have to consider that a nominal amount is often requested for Booking a car, and that too is mostly is refundable if you cancel the booking.
Now who will bear the loss if a customized car is built/dispatched, but the customer backs out!
DuHasstMich is offline  

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2021,
Proudly powered by E2E Networks