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Old 29th January 2009, 22:31   #46
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There is certainly market for premium hatches in India. But till now there hasn't been even a single crack at the segment. Manufacturer like Honda is known to break open segments & set sales standards, others just try to follow!
There is room for a good, "Value for Money" premium hatch. This sounds contradictory, but VFM is what makes Indians reach their pockets!
Honda is the only manufacturer in India who has shown prowess in various segments, now its this segments turn & if history is anything to go buy, wait for the segment to come alive!
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Old 29th January 2009, 22:40   #47
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That's what they have in Europe as far as I know. A civic hatch.
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Old 29th January 2009, 22:56   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theEnd View Post
I think its important to be realistic as well.. A Civic hatchback would cost almost the same as a Civic saloon.
And how is this a bad thing in our cities? We continue to associate a boot to a particular price tag.

VW has a Golf GTi with a W12 engine plonked into it for crying out loud!

Start seeing hatchbacks as a genuine segment of cars instead of delegating them to be bootless sedans.

^^Comment to the general Indian buying public and not to anyone in particular.

Once that happens, we might begin to see hatchbacks with half as many cylinders being offered here in India.
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Old 29th January 2009, 23:12   #49
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[quote=GTO;1144438] However, once the bigger brands enter the 6 lakh premium hatch segment, I see this trend changing.

For a premium hatch to taste success, the following are a must:

- Brand : Just wait till Honda & Toyota enter the segment

I thought Honda and Toyota WERE making hatchbacks back in 80s and they came out of this segment.

Sure, hatches are good for our crowded streets but people opting for this reason give premium hatches a miss. they settle for cheaper hatches. European crowd is more liberal/socialistic/intellectual type who do not mind being seen in hatchback but Indians (most) on this count are like Zamindari or landlord types with big bloated ego who do not want to be seen dead in a hatch, if they can afford a sedan, that is. Indians are more like Americans on this count who also turn up their noses at hatchbacks.
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Old 29th January 2009, 23:23   #50
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There is definitely a new market for premium hatches since the Swift. However, with the benchmark pricing set by Maruti, all other premium hatches appear over-priced in comparison, and in the mindset of the Indian buyer in the mainstream car segments, that aint right.
But there is an upper-limit to what the Indian consumer will buy a premium hatch for. Price it beyond Rs 7.5 lakhs, and the SRV scenario unfolds - all other things equal.

Last edited by theMAG : 29th January 2009 at 23:24.
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Old 29th January 2009, 23:32   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theEnd View Post
I think its important to be realistic as well.. A Civic hatchback would cost almost the same as a Civic saloon.
In fact why would it be any cheaper? It would be substantially the same car, approximately the same length, with the same mechanics and the same fittings. I might well be missing something, but, while an estate version of a car is substantially more car, a hatchback version is not really going to be substantially less.

In fact... I say it will cost more because of the addition of a rear wash/wipe!
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Old 30th January 2009, 00:23   #52
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True. I might be repeating myself here, but when I was considering a Fusion against a Fiesta, my consideration was this. Everything under the hood is same, most of the interior is just the same, the features and toys are all the same. Only the boot is about 90 liters smaller in Fusion, and that was no problem for me. On the other hand, I got a better ground clearance and a shape I liked. End of the day, it all hinged around the supposed image, which to me was not logical, given my preference for a estate-type car.

The Indian apathy for hatchbacks worked out well for me since this meant the Fusion came about a lakh cheaper than the one with the tail.
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Old 30th January 2009, 00:33   #53
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The Chevy SRV didn't fail because it was priced too high. It failed because the price was not justified given the weak engine, miserable gearbox and bad driving dynamics.

Manufacturers need to understand that the target market for a premium hatch is a little more discerning than the ordinary 'saloon with a big dikky' market. Premium hatch buyers will demand quality, driveability and adequate power.

If somebody can do a 8-10L hatch right, then it will sell.
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Old 30th January 2009, 11:30   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
Sure, hatches are good for our crowded streets but people opting for this reason give premium hatches a miss. they settle for cheaper hatches. European crowd is more liberal/socialistic/intellectual type who do not mind being seen in hatchback but Indians (most) on this count are like Zamindari or landlord types with big bloated ego who do not want to be seen dead in a hatch, if they can afford a sedan, that is. Indians are more like Americans on this count who also turn up their noses at hatchbacks.
I find the conclusion funny that Europeans are more liberal/socialistic and intellectual then indians and Americans for two reasons.

1. A liberal and Intellectual may not be necessarily socialistic and vice-verse the association of liberal and intellectual with socialistic is an Indian Marxist construct and has almost no takers in Continental Europe.

2. Before you label 1+ Billion people of India and a qurter million from USA Zamindari type please remember the respective socio-economic and geographic conditions.

In India a Car is almost necessarily a family vehicle. We do still follow some old age curtsies like picking up / dropping relatives and friends from railway stations , Airports instead of sending them off in Taxis.
The above two facts make boot a strong must have for a family vehicles.

Americans travel very long distance on Interstate highways with all their gear in the boot , There are almost no small mom and pop grocery stores in suburbia and so they need a boot for weekly monthly shopping from discount retailers some 20 miles away with a necessary requirement of boot.

Europeans on other hand stay mostly near to cities and have good connectivity unlike USA, For a large percentage a car is vehicle for individual unlike India so hatchback sell more.

Families still prefer Estates / Saloons in European countries.

Last edited by GTO : 30th January 2009 at 13:47. Reason: Correcting quote! You were replying to pgsagar but messed up the quote function.
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Old 30th January 2009, 13:52   #55
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[quote=amitk26;1150840]
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post

I find the conclusion funny that Europeans are more liberal/socialistic and intellectual then indians and Americans for two reasons.

1. A liberal and Intellectual may not be necessarily socialistic and vice-verse the association of liberal and intellectual with socialistic is an Indian Marxist construct and has almost no takers in Continental Europe.

2. Before you label 1+ Billion people of India and a qurter million from USA Zamindari type please remember the respective socio-economic and geographic conditions.

In India a Car is almost necessarily a family vehicle. We do still follow some old age curtsies like picking up / dropping relatives and friends from railway stations , Airports instead of sending them off in Taxis.
The above two facts make boot a strong must have for a family vehicles.

Americans travel very long distance on Interstate highways with all their gear in the boot , There are almost no small mom and pop grocery stores in suburbia and so they need a boot for weekly monthly shopping from discount retailers some 20 miles away with a necessary requirement of boot.

Europeans on other hand stay mostly near to cities and have good connectivity unlike USA, For a large percentage a car is vehicle for individual unlike India so hatchback sell more.

Families still prefer Estates / Saloons in European countries.
Not really totally true in context of cities like Delhi. On an average car occupancy here in Delhi is 1.3 (including driver). Lot of people use cars to commute to their daily place of work. This is not true in smaller towns as there people generally commute to work on two-wheelers (hence no concept of parking places etc in smaller towns - at least this is what I have seen in lot of smaller cities in North India. Cant say if it is true down south or other parts of India).

So we necessarily have two types (at least) of car buying Junta. Those in big cities have very different parameters (parking, boot - needed/not needed, FE - in case required for daily commute, drivability thru traffic, comforts etc). In smaller cities if car is to be used for weekend family sorties exclusively then space, boot, safety (somehow sedans are considered more safe), drivability on highways etc matter more.
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Old 30th January 2009, 14:02   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joslicx View Post

Not really totally true in context of cities like Delhi. On an average car occupancy here in Delhi is 1.3 (including driver). Lot of people use cars to commute to their daily place of work. This is not true in smaller towns as there people generally commute to work on two-wheelers (hence no concept of parking places etc in smaller towns - at least this is what I have seen in lot of smaller cities in North India. Cant say if it is true down south or other parts of India).
Statistics are like miniskirt, Average car occupancy of 1.3 including driver does not reflect the peak usage , Peak usage of the car need not arise everyday.
So purchasing car keeping family and extended family in mind does not mean traveling with family members at the backseat for daily commute

The typical Indian boot requirement I provided is for the peak usage ( few times per month or even a year).

In a society giving more precedence to individual over groups ( family / tribe / society ) such as contemporary European society these typical peak usage scenarios never arrive.

Being originally from north I can vouch that buying vehicle for once in a while scenarios is more prevalent in Delhi rather then in South. So despite crowded streets / parking problems people buy car with boot for those once in a while usage which are unavoidable in our social structure.

Last edited by amitk26 : 30th January 2009 at 14:05.
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Old 30th January 2009, 14:06   #57
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I also think that this segment now exists. It was started by the Swift, and then opened up by Fabia. Honda and Toyota will further widen it. The very fact that there is quite alot of talk about Premium Hatches even in these depressed times says at lot.
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Old 30th January 2009, 16:49   #58
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Quote:
Being originally from north I can vouch that buying vehicle for once in a while scenarios is more prevalent in Delhi rather then in South. So despite crowded streets / parking problems people buy car with boot for those once in a while usage which are unavoidable in our social structure.
Ahh... true! Even I talk a lot about the convenience of a hatchback, when I rarely drive with more than a couple of bags of shopping. I think I may have lowered the back seat of my swift once in 18 months.

In socio-economic comparison of urban India and Europe/USA, two factors have to be considered which make buying the car for occasional peak usage make less sense ---

--- almost anything can be delivered cheaply or free to one's house. A packet of sugar or a piece of furniture can be summoned by a simple phone call. There is less need for the car as carrier.

--- taxis are relatively cheap. When the visiting family is returning to USA, a maxi-cab (or two) is summoned to carry the farewell party.

Final point for this post, in answer to sgiitk; the Swift is absolutely not a premium car of any sort. It is a built-to-a-price, value-for-money car, and very good value for money too. It is not even well-equipped. AC, in India, is basic equipment: we should look for climate control at least, in a premium model. Also lacking are such obvious fittings as remote central locking, electrically-operated side mirrors, adjustable steering wheel, hight adjustable seat --- the list can go on; it hasn't even got a clock!
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