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Old 30th September 2021, 21:21   #1
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Default The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

The topic has been bugging me since some time now, the state of the Indian Car Buyer (referred to as ICB henceforth).

Background :
With the advent of so many cars and makers, the ICB should be resoundingly happy, but why doesn't it seem so ?
Our various threads and posts reflect the reality of the ICB in honest detail. Something which is missed by all reviewers, established or amateurs alike, on all other channels. Their ownership reports are pointless since their vehicles are provided by the manufacturers themselves. And which SC would provide a bad experience to the company's long term fleet car
When was the last time any "long term review" mentioned flaws like the ICB has faced/is facing ?


The ICB's purchase experiences are captured very well in our What Car section.

Ownership :
Recent and not so recent issues have been reported on almost all manufacturers with varying degrees of severity.
But what is common across all and what makes the issues either manageable or infuriating is :
- workshop behaviour
- competency
- manufacturer's oversight


These days a lot of issues seem to be denied altogether and if accepted but unable to resolve by the SC, there is radio silence from the manufacturer on this.
That is unless someone starts calling out/shaming the manufacturers on social media impacting brand image and sales.

This invokes some questions :
Is social media existence a prerequisite for car ownership ?
ICBs who don't exist on social media and can't/don't want to impact/tarnish the company's "image" don't matter as much as someone doing the opposite ?


Question for fellow BHPians :
What do you think about these questions and the situation of the ICB in general ?



Note : Have intentionally stayed away from naming any manufacturers to avoid getting sidetracked.

Last edited by shancz : 30th September 2021 at 21:56. Reason: ft
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Old 1st October 2021, 08:40   #2
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!

Want my advice?

1. NEVER buy a fresh new model in the first year of production. Wait for 1 - 2 years. In fact, I usually buy cars from even later model years (C220 was after 5 years of model production but the fresh C180 was problematic, Civic was 4 years, 5-Series was ~4 years, Superb was 5 years). The more you wait for the model to mature, the better its reliability will be. Wait for the carmaker to sort out issues.

Manufacturers can do all the testing they want, but the real testing only happens with real-world diverse ownership experiences. No OEM can simulate actual ownership & driving conditions. All manufacturers suffer teething issues - we saw it with the mighty Toyota Innova too. Anyone who is buying a 2021 XUV700 laden with complex electronics = all I can say is, "my best wishes" to you, and "thank you" for volunteering as a beta tester for the rest of us. Ditto for all the new Skoda Kushaq owners who are having nightmares of their own.

2. Even after the model has been in production, be sure to read ownership reviews on Team-BHP. E.g. the Harrier has been around for 2+ years now, but it's still far from niggle-free (ditto for the Safari). On the other hand, there are several ownership reports of car models that have been delivering excellent reliability. Invest some time in research; every hour you spend reading ownership reports could save you 10 (hours) in the longer run.

Last edited by GTO : 1st October 2021 at 08:43.
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Old 1st October 2021, 13:06   #3
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
1. The more you wait for the model to mature, the better its reliability will be.
2. all I can say is, "my best wishes" to you, and "thank you" for volunteering as a beta tester for the rest of us.
3. Invest some time in research; every hour you spend reading ownership reports could save you 10 (hours) in the longer run.
1. Absolutely, I remember this advice in some other thread and within a few weeks the Kushaq EPC issues eerily drove it home.
2. Hilarious and true, I will have to forward this thread to a few people who are already smitten by the 700, of course after expressing my gratitude Honestly I am quite concerned about that car, quite big a jump.
3. Absolutely true, and IMO even more important is the peace of mind. Once you lose confidence in the car that defeats its purpose.

Your advice drives home the point of active safety whether driving or buying

Although this will severely limit the options, especially in the under 20 lakh space and even more if the primary focus is safety, have to agree that this is much better than dealing with the issues which seem to be increasing in severity and since the passive safety net which the ICB can bank on, seems a hit or miss : customer support.
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Old 1st October 2021, 13:32   #4
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by shancz View Post
But what is common across all and what makes the issues either manageable or infuriating is :
- workshop behavior
- competency
- manufacturer's oversight


These days a lot of issues seem to be denied altogether and if accepted but unable to resolve by the SC, there is radio silence from the manufacturer on this.
That is unless someone starts calling out/shaming the manufacturers on social media impacting brand image and sales.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
1. NEVER buy a fresh new model in the first year of production. Wait for 1 - 2 years.
I have an idea, should not be very difficult to implement as well, but surely involves the Central/State government.
Its like this:

So whenever a new car is supposed to be launched, the manufacturer to handover finite number of vehicle specimens to the state/central government.
These can be used over different divisions such as police patrolling, Officer/minister duty, army duties(not where its critical), taxi fleet etc.
The fleet can be used parallelly or serially over the time.

With the way the authorities treat their cars, currently involving bolero/ertigas/sumo etc.. manufacturers would sure find way more bugs in 6 months than in customer's year of usage.

Gadgets to paint quality to the vehicle strength would be tested thoroughly.

This is just my thought. Of course there will cost involved in all this, which I have conveniently ignored to focus on newly launched car experience.
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Old 1st October 2021, 14:10   #5
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

My bitter experience was only with one of our Desi brand's car, for most issues the A.S.S's only response was "This is common in all the cars of this model". There was another customer with ABS warning light, their response was the same and asked the customer to change the sensor and pay for it.

It was clear that they will never give me a trouble free car no matter how much I try. I took around 35% depreciation hit for my 1.5 years and 22k KM run.
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Old 1st October 2021, 14:37   #6
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

I agree and disagree overall with the proposition of waiting for things to improve with car models. Agree because it would be appropriate for good models from manufacturers with a problematic past. But models with established pedigree? If we have to wait for these, there is something systemically wrong with the auto industry in India. Manufacturers supposedly invest so much in getting things right in their ecosystem, and they surely know that making and selling a car is not a neighborhood cake shop business. So expecting high levels of reliability is but natural as a consumer.

Perhaps standardizing, digitizing and publishing maintenence & (by implication), reliability data through an independent agency ( not paid survey agencies) may help.
Manufacturers must be made to report Initial and Long term reliability reports which include the downtime for each car owing to non- accident maintenance. Of course it must be de-personalized for consumer privacy.
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Old 1st October 2021, 15:51   #7
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by giri1.8 View Post
My bitter experience was only with one of our Desi brand's car, for most issues the A.S.S's only response was "This is common in all the cars of this model".
Your case proves the point of having a robust customer care system. When you had those issues if the SC had taken an effort to find and fix the cause and the warranty being transparent enough, you would probably still be driving that car, won't you ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamahunter View Post
I have an idea, should not be very difficult to implement as well, but surely involves the Central/State government.
Interesting idea but that won't work. Different departments need to subscribe to the idea of MoRTH in addition to their usual workload just won't fly
The data capture would be worse, at an individual level there would've to be daily status reports and someone would have to be appointed in every team this thing is going. Which in their view would be an unnecessary overhead.

Although I don't know, even now there has to be a real world exercise before approving a car for sale in India in addition to the crash test norms(however weak they are) but most likely that would involve the manufacturers submitting the data from their own tests.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fhdowntheline View Post
But models with established pedigree? If we have to wait for these, there is something systemically wrong with the auto industry in India.

Perhaps standardizing, digitizing and publishing maintenence & (by implication), reliability data through an independent agency ( not paid survey agencies) may help.
Manufacturers must be made to report Initial and Long term reliability reports which include the downtime for each car owing to non- accident maintenance. Of course it must be de-personalized for consumer privacy.
Unfortunately this is not just limited to India. IIRC a colleague's 2013 Ford Fiesta(UAE) which was bought used had refused to move in D after being stationary at a signal 2-3 times in the first few months. Turned out that Ford had tried to "be more efficient"(cut costs in real speak) and replaced a mechanical component with a software which was causing the issue.

You can see that the issues for 2013 Fiesta are surprisingly high. Drill down deeper and you can see that transmission problems make for majority.
Credits to Providers : CarComplaints.com
Brilliant infographics IMO. Check out their homepage, some of the issues are hilarious.

Name:  fiesta_home_cc.png
Views: 240
Size:  492.3 KB
Name:  fiesta_2013_cc.png
Views: 233
Size:  532.7 KB

I am guessing a portal like this is what you are hinting at ?
I would love if we could get that but that would require significant on ground effort in data verification and analysis, the portal not so much. Then would come the co-ordination and administration but I have zero idea on that.

Doesn't it look like a perfect brainstorming idea for TBHP ?

But a pipe dream if I may

OT : talking about hilarious issues here's one to check out (Credits to Providers) : CarComplaints : Sonata's Misguided Indicators

Last edited by shancz : 1st October 2021 at 16:07. Reason: added sonata link
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Old 1st October 2021, 18:43   #8
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by shancz View Post

I am guessing a portal like this is what you are hinting at ?
I would love if we could get that but that would require significant on ground effort in data verification and analysis, the portal not so much. Then would come the co-ordination and administration but I have zero idea on that.

Doesn't it look like a perfect brainstorming idea for TBHP ?

But a pipe dream if I may
Something on those lines, yes, but it was more akin to lets say, an independent body like CAG which can audit the data. Of course there is the Consumer Court but it covers anything from a pressure cooker to a BMW.
This agency may or may not have regulatory oversight, but can definitely create circumstances for applying regulation basis of data.
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Old 1st October 2021, 19:11   #9
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

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Originally Posted by fhdowntheline View Post
This agency may or may not have regulatory oversight, but can definitely create circumstances for applying regulation basis of data.
I get your point but can also see why this won't find much traction, at least now with the upset in auto sector with the emission and electrification stuff.
And as customers are generally ignored by all while they're the ones who end up paying for everything and to everyone involved (literally and metaphorically) I am not counting on it.

So in effect, we're on our own hence the active safety suggestion by GTO holds good

Intended Pun : IMO, their 10 year pipeline would be scrappage policy, updated BNVSAP, dealer protection, tea, think about customer protection, since they seem to have established that working in parallel is injurious

Last edited by shancz : 1st October 2021 at 19:14. Reason: ccl
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Old 1st October 2021, 19:25   #10
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

Till we have a U.S.like system of litigation and damages amounting to multi million rupees, manufacturers will never take due care like what they do in the US market. We should have a similar law of torts. Till then customers are fair game to auto makers.

Always avoid very expensive models and buy whatever one can get rid of, suffering nothing more than a bearable dent to the pocket and ego.
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Old 2nd October 2021, 07:05   #11
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

The real solution to this problem is strict consumer protection laws. If a car faces more than a specific number of faults within the warranty period, the customer should be eligible for compensation and 'no questions asked refund'. Politicians or judges will not bring this law on their own. This has to be brought through public interest litigations by community involvement.

Since such protection laws will not come to India in the near future, it is better to stick to manufacturers with businesses in countries that have strict consumer protection laws. Sure, they will dilute their quality according to local laws, but I feel they will still be better than other manufacturers. I have decided on the below precautions to reduce the probability of getting a lemon car in future purchases. But these can be practiced only if you have the required budget.
  • Avoid our desi, bad boys, till they become successful in countries like the US . This is a long shot and it may result in me never buying anything from our homegrown manufacturers. I know this is against the notion of patriotism. But then I am older and have a kid now. I can't take the chance of getting stranded on road with my toddler trying to support indigenous design.
  • Always prefer global models and platforms. If you have the budget, avoid India-specific developed cars. The global products and platforms are built for countries with strict standards and have a lower probability of being a lemon.
I know if even I follow these strictly, I may still end up with a lemon. But the probability of that happening is lower than the other cases in my opinion.

Last edited by padmrajravi : 2nd October 2021 at 07:07.
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Old 2nd October 2021, 07:41   #12
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

I think the most workable solution right now is to vote with our wallets. Trouble is, people get emotional about their favourite brands and the whole car purchase decision as a whole. Manufacturers also know how to play the perceived quality game well, so it is doubly important for buyers to inform themselves and set the basic expectations from a vehicle right - that it has to be able to transport people safely and dependably.

Last edited by vipul_singh : 2nd October 2021 at 07:53.
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Old 2nd October 2021, 08:46   #13
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

I was the first buyer of the Tata Nexon at launch. And the car has been niggle free. Thank my lucky stars for that. Overseas, the car is deemed old in just a year or two of launch. I get/buy them early on. So far have had no issues on the Luxury Marquees front. Now, my heart bleeds when I read Kushaq stories. Imagine being stranded on your first ride itself. It's heart breaking for the owners. In the US, this company would be sued to 'nothingness'. But we are more forgiving. And that's where the problem lies. An average consumer doesn't knock on those doors, because the Courts drag on for years. Quick justice would mean manufacturers are on their toes. But, something needs to be done ASAP
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Old 2nd October 2021, 09:05   #14
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!

Want my advice?

1. NEVER buy a fresh new model in the first year of production. Wait for 1 - 2 years.
I am personally quite keen on either the next gen Tucson or the Jeep Commander / Meridian when it launches (much more likely the Jeep) - both of which slated to launch here sometime in 2022 and are existing products from a life cycle perspective. For the Commander I hope a year in Brazil will be a comparable track record to a year in India. I could buy in either 2022 or in 2023.

For these two specific models, how critical do you think a “wait it out” factor be. I really cant (/don’t want to) push my decision out beyond 2023 and would ideally like to take the plunge sooner. Else it will get too close to timing with my BMW swap as a second car as I approach 2025 - its 10th year.
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Old 2nd October 2021, 09:59   #15
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Default Re: The Indian Car Buyer | Struggling with problems in brand new cars

It will be interesting to see how the models like new XUV700/ MG Astor perform with their Tech capabilities in the 1st year of ownership. Similarly for EVs as well, I am sure TATA Tigor will be a much better offering with learnings from the Nexon EV. Best is to stay away from newer models till they are in the business for at least 3-4 years.
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