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Old 21st April 2020, 19:20   #16
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

This seems like a thread for manufactures but I agree 100%. I still like my car to have a MT option because not all AT combos are good in my view but still its a important segment and its a must have. Case and point Compass & Harrier which could have done a lot in AT D option.
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Old 21st April 2020, 19:25   #17
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

This might be one of the reason why Figo and Aspire automatic failed! I came to know about the auto option just few months before car was discontinued even though Aspire was offered long back.

Glad I could get my hand on one

One more blunder from Ford was complete lack of marketing! Even the brochure didn't have the AT variant on them, there were no reviews even online. Imagine a car variant on sale with zero reviews online.

My dream car has always been a Hatch with strong diesel engine and TC box, sadly we never got to have any such combination.

Last edited by giri1.8 : 21st April 2020 at 19:29.
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Old 21st April 2020, 19:52   #18
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

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Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
The Kia model is the way to go. Honestly cannot think of any combination that they do not have which would have been relevant. All manufacturers need to be able to do that.
When Kia initially lauched the top level trim didn't come in Auto...and after feedback on Social Media, they changed their tone and launched the GTX+ in Auto.
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Old 21st April 2020, 20:05   #19
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

Excellent post & Valid points GTO. I hope some manufacturer reads your article & sense prevail .

For the manufacturer's who just don't get it , they still treat the Indian market like how it was 20 years back. The customers have more information now and the market has also matured in this decade. So it is better to server a platter & ask customers to take whichever you like rather than telling them to buy my product because it's great.

And while I was reading the article, I was surprised that the management which is comprised of Indians (read Tata & Mahindra) don't understand the Indian market sentiment but Korean & Japanese (some Suzuki management occupied by Japanese) management are doing a better work at it. Is it to do with lethargic attitude of management of Indian companies ?
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Old 21st April 2020, 20:17   #20
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

Simply fantastic thread GTO. You just echoed the sentiments of many enthusiasts here!
All the mentioned points are bang-on, and I am pretty sure, each one of us must have go through this in the span of their car hunt / ownership.
I for one witnesses this during the recent launch of the Altroz. Thanks to the disastrous Petrol motor.
I just hope that all the major manufactures go through this thread, and take it up seriously. Itís high time that the customers do get what they expect from their cars(manufactures).

Just to add a point, even Hyundai messes up with their variant launches. Case in point the missing Top-end variants in the AT offerings (the 1st gen Creta & the Venue). However, I am glad that they have fixed this now, and the new 2020 Creta AT is available in the top spec variant! This is how it should be.
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Old 21st April 2020, 21:40   #21
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

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Dear Manufacturers,
Put your best foot forward
Besides the examples there, I'd call out Maruti here:
1. They missed the boat with the 1.0 Boosterjet. They the could have localized production and shoe horned the engine into the Baleno, Brezza, Ciaz, and S-Cross.
2. Where is the 1.5 BS6 diesel?
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Old 22nd April 2020, 00:19   #22
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

What's the reason for these goof ups? We're talking about world-class companies with people from Top B/Engineering Colleges working there along with experienced Auto Industry Stalwarts being CEO/MD's of most of the auto manufacturers.

There has to be something wrong at the product planning level/supply chain level. It's not rocket science for Altroz product manager or Senior Management at Tata Motors to know that it's 1.2 L Petrol is lame and doesn't stand a chance against its competitors. The same thing goes with other manufacturers as well.

I doubt whether the Product Managers at these companies are from Sales/Marketing background. I think they are transferred internally from departments like Production/Planning/Supply Chain and doesn't know much about building products for Market.
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Old 22nd April 2020, 09:01   #23
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

This is not the ONLY reason , but this is one of the reasons why it appears to be such bad planning - A lot of these companies and teams are controlled very tightly internally by the region or by their respective headquarters so the local Indian teams end up being messengers and execution supervisors rather than influencing plans or making them - be it product planning or even marketing and there are enough times they are fully aware that they are taking out a lemon but unfortunately they cannot do anything about it except try and make it into a success story and externally pretend to be excited.

This is of-course not just restricted to Auto , we see similar behavior in cross categories as well - mobiles being one of them , the same question actually applies there too and if one looks at the workings of companies such as Oppo , Vivo , Alibaba; one sees exactly the same pattern there.
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Old 22nd April 2020, 09:03   #24
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

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Originally Posted by VJ05 View Post
What's the reason for these goof ups?
A lot has to do with how one perceives data vs their convictions. Our natural bias is to find data that supports our convictions than to challenge our perceptions. I am sure something like this transpires inside the bean-counter and marketing rooms every day.

"Who buys automatic cars nowadays?"
"The data shows that about 15% of all cars sold are automatics"
"It's 15% and we are trending at 8% - not a big deal.. why are we fixated on this?"
"the data shows that if we launch an auto variant at the top spec, we may have higher sales, profits and also better customer perception"
"bah.. back in my day, we ripped the cars around in 2nd gear.. these automatics are lazy"
"yes, that's because we don't have a true automatic..we have an AMT"
"so? it's an automatic.. see, this is why we need to continue with manual only.. because automatics are not yet mature..."
"there are so many fully capable automatics ..."
"ya ya... and all that hassle.. let's first sell the manuals and if we hear everyone asking for automatics.. we will put an AMT in one model"
"but that's the reason our cars don't sell .. our competitors have fully fledged automatics.. we have AMT"
"it's automatic.. that should be enough.. with this only we are doing 8%.. why focus on a non-target market"
" * dies a slow death while crying inside.. * "
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Old 22nd April 2020, 10:15   #25
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

Much of the discussion seems to not take into account product placement within offering range of the same company.

For instance, when Ford launches Freestyle as a product between Figo and Ecosports, it keeps away certain features (like AT, or the wonderful 1.5 engine) on the Freestyle to keep interests alive in ecosports.

When they relaunch Figo they offer the 1.5 engine (with AT) on special model, but the Figo line does not get Sync-3 system (how much would it really cost Ford to give a Sync3 in the Figo with 1.5 AT ?).

I think manufacturers try to balance cannibalization within own products and external competition, leading to some calls which are difficult for us customers to understand.
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Old 22nd April 2020, 10:40   #26
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Great thread and valuable professional consultation offered to manufacturers. If only they care enough, this thread is a goldmine's worth of market research.

I read the title and immediately the pedigree Harrier phase flashed before my eyes. Hasty half hearted launch with no first mover advantage acquired in the bargain.

The other baffling mystery is the formidable VAG 2.0 TDI not getting BS6. Even in UK where theres heavy taxation to discourage diesels, the TDI finds takers for its mid range and highway manners. And they swap it with a TSI because they can't get the diesel motor ready? This is VAG for crying out loud, THE humongous conglomerate
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Old 22nd April 2020, 10:51   #27
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

Great thread and one that needs to be read by top car manufacturers, especially the Indian ones.

As per me, there are a few key attributes that make or break a segment, depending on the manufacturer, segment and price point. Absence of an important combination just takes a big chunk of potential sales and India’s definitely relate car’s value with if it sells well.

Here is my take.

1. Small Hatches (< 3.7 M), Alto , Celerio, i10, swift, kwid, Santo , Tiago etc:

Variants: Petrol only works, Automatic is increasingly becoming important for city folks. AMT works. Small engines + creature comforts

2. Regular Hatches, compact sedans : Dzire, Amaze, Baleno, i20, jazz, Altroz, triber.

Variants : Petrol + Diesel ( diesel mandatory for commercial use, most cabs are from this segment ), Automatic mandatory private car. Well built AMT or CVT. some thing like the Amaze diesel CVT is a game changer.

3. Compact SUV : Brezza, Nexon, XUV 300 etc.

Variants: Petrol needed keeping in ming urban population preferences, Diesel mandatory . A fair Automatic is a necessity in this segment as customers are willing to pay a premium. Happy with my Nexon AMT.

4. Regular Sedans , D Segment sedans, >4M C+ SUVs : eg. city , ciaz , verna, corolla, Creta, seltos.

Variants : powerful Petrol and diesel both mandatory to cater to this segment, no 80 hp versions please. Good Automatic mandatory TC/ CVT/DC. Creature comforts and differentiators like 360 deg camera become differentiators.

5. SUVs/ Premium MPVs / Premium SUVs : Harrier , Compass, XUV 500, fortuner , endeavour, Kodiaq.

Variants: Big Diesel mandatory, Petrol optional. good Automatic MANDATORY ( TC/ DCT). Higher the price higher the performance and features like AWD, 4X4.



6. UVs: Bolero, Scorpio : diesel only, Petrol optional. Automatic optional.

Please note above is very basic requirement interms of engine X gear box combinations. Differentiators interms of features is mandatory depending on price.

Variant: Diesel only works

Last edited by manson : 22nd April 2020 at 18:53. Reason: Typos.
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Old 22nd April 2020, 10:56   #28
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

Excellent article GTO, You have covered all major/minor aspects comprehensively. Wish all manufacturers read this thread. It puzzles me why not seasoned forum members build a consultancy firm given that you can read the pulse better than anyone. Kudos!

Coming to the topic, I think pressure of "time to market" overwhelmes rationale. The WRV petrol was a classic example. EcoSport was ruling the roost and WRV came half a decade later with that puny little 1.2 which didn't stand a chance against the Dragon. That too, they launched it at a premium.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 22nd April 2020 at 11:21.
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Old 22nd April 2020, 11:34   #29
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

So crucial is this article, that I think all those attending Auto Expos should be compelled to take this a look!

Say what you want about MSIL or Hyundai, but this is where they truly shine! Leave no stone unturned. A complete product from day one. Different options for different needs for different people. In a cut-throat business as our market, why is it so hard for other manufacturers to comprehend this?

The Compass, even with the manual, had the novelty value while it lasted. The Diesel AT would've prolonged it's life even more. It's Renault Duster all over again, if Jeep thought it had an advantage over the booming competition solely because of 4WD. Knowing FCI, They'll probably milk it to death, without any facelift or upgrades for the next decade, until the showrooms are literally abandoned.

Tata Motors is the worst offender. Such great, great products rushed out. While the refreshed Harrier might be a decent option, it's novelty value has faded a long time ago. With the Kia/Hyundai on one end of the spectrum and the upcoming XUV-500 on the other, the Harrier will no doubt will go the "Hexa" way, no matter how good it is. Such a shame. Now they're gonna repeat this with the Altroz. Banking entirely on the safety ratings. Yes, people are gonna talk about it, and then absolutely forget about it when the new i20 comes with the 1.0 Turbo petrol and an automatic a couple of months later.

I don't think Toyota Kirloskar even cares anymore. As long as Innova Crysta and Fortuner keeps bringing in the numbers, they're comfortable chewing the gummy bears. The Etios twins will be axed, and Toyota will lose a substantial portion of the taxi market to Ford and Suzuki. The Yaris is such an afterthought. Knowing Toyota, I'll think they'll bring the hardly-rebadged Vitara Brezza without an AT option. Well, that's one way of differentiating from Maruti Suzuki!

But even the biggies get it wrong when it comes to flagship products. I doubt the general public would even remember the Terracan, Santa Fe, Tucson or Sonata. Or the underrated Kizashi. Sure, they were no match for the Europeans, but they were never even given a chance to shine. Despite being a non-seller, I've seen the elegant Passat welcoming people at the VW showrooms. Haven't seen Tucson anytime since it's launch, at the Hyundai showrooms. The Diesel AT is competent enough to sway customers from the Compass, but their lack of confidence shows.
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Old 22nd April 2020, 11:54   #30
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Default Re: Why it's important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of launch

While it is important to offer the right engines + AT gearboxes + variants at the time of the launch, it is also very important to offer these combinations available for a test drive!

While companies (For ex. Kia) are coming up with several models, all that they have for a TD was a DCT variant! What about other transmissions? How do we buy without a test drive vehicle is available with necessary engine + gearbox combinations?
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