Team-BHP > The Indian Car Scene

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Old 18th November 2009, 10:30   #31
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Originally Posted by kiren View Post
Unfortunately we had lot of problems with the car e.g. clutch failure, tyres wearing out etc all in 3 months that we decided to sell it off.

Today I am having a 2006 Indica Turbo driven for more than 116000 Kms and am happy with this car.
See the way the car has evolved. I respect TATAs for what they have done.
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Old 18th November 2009, 10:31   #32
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Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
5 countries?

USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, UK, Malaysia, Korea, China, Russia, (many other East European countries), and god knows how many more I've forgotten.
15th, not 5th, was a typo. And the time was 1998.
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Old 18th November 2009, 10:56   #33
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Great write up Sid. This proves you are truly an indica fan as your name suggests. It was an emotional reading for me and makes me proud to own an Indica today.
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Old 18th November 2009, 11:10   #34
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Great story Sid. Brought back a lot of memories. I had bought the Indica DLE Bottle Green in 1999. I got delivery in June/July. Great Looks ( at that time). great interior space and a powerful AC. Gave me 4 years of trouble free service. But then the oil leaks started, mysterious noises appeared, radiator started leaking and I thought it was time to move on
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Old 18th November 2009, 11:25   #35
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Awesome writeup Sid it did took lot of time to read through it all but it was worth the read
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Old 18th November 2009, 11:27   #36
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Future of Indica platform?Tata already has upgraded to Vista/Manza.Will the Normal Indica's ,Indigo's Continue production for another 3-5 years? As you all know tata Indica no more comes with a turbo engine.this means the DLE/DLS are manufactured only considering taxi market?
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Old 18th November 2009, 11:34   #37
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Great writeup! Somehow I feel that Tata has been let down more by their dealers and service chain, than the car quality (post v2)...

My dad's a die hard Indica fan and now that it is time to upgrade the only option he will consider is Vista! Even now for any full family trips the WagonR is left at home as nothing can pack them in like the Indica in this segment! (ok maybe apart from the Uno)

For sure Tata has gone far from the first Indica to the Manza in terms of car quality, but their A.S.S. and dealers have just not been up to speed. This is the only thing that can hold them back from becoming the no 1 car maker in India methinks...
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Old 18th November 2009, 11:45   #38
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Part 8-The Xeta and the first sightings of Indica 2

Once in the beginning of Jan 2006, few days before the auto expo, I got a call from a friend in him motors to come and see a pre production model of a new Indica coming soon.

I ignored and told-"koi changes nahi shayad koi naya colour hi hoga ya phir thoda bahut idhar udhar tweaks kiya hoga..."

He told me " agar mein iska price bata doonga to teri pairon tale zameen khisak jayeegi...I was bewildered as what the hell tata is now upto..."

I went there and saw a sky blue coloured jazzy looking Indica which was marked to be on display at the auto expo which sported unheard of beige interiors and had the moniker-GLX XETA at the back. I immediately asked-yeh zaroor petrol ki hogi and he said-YES.

Now what is this XETA?

It's Tata's acronym for Xtra Efficient and Torque Advantage, that is the petrol was heavily reworked with new camshafts, lighter intake manifolds and a new fuel injection system from bosch replacing the previous hitachi sourced one. While power was down from 75 PS to 70 PS, the torque was increased a bit marginally and importantly, at much lower rpms (cannot recall the figures) with the engine's capacity reduced from 1405 cc to 1396 cc (primarily for tax incentives given to gasoline engines in Europe which displace less than 1400 cc).
The big surprise was however-its rock bottom price of just 2.59 lakhs again for the NON AC version, the same price at the time of launch in 1999. The AC model was priced at just 2.78 lakhs, that is in the alto territory. Suddenly Maruti's new bread and butter model had a bigger (and supposedly better, at least on paper) competitor. A combined fuel efficiency of 14 kmpl was assured by Tata motors at its launch.

Meanwhile, the auto expo 2006 also formally announced the launch of Tata-Fiat JV where select Fiat cars (Palio petrol and adventure) will be sold and serviced through Tata dealers, promising availability if parts and service in time etc etc..

The Xeta was also marketed with more jazzy TV commercial featuring a dumb fellow and 5 PHAT chicks arriving at a beach and then it was featuring a slogan-If you still miss it, you got to be dumb!, as that man was shown, highlighting the product's rock bottom price and 14 kmpl mileage.

Suddenly, Xeta sales surged and the car finally was a common sight on the roads, especially that ugly bottle green colour which looked garish!

In February 2006, FM Mr. P Chidambaram announced a lower excise duty of cars smaller than 4 m, powered by less than 1.2 litres for petrol and 1.5 litres for diesel.

Immediate benefit for tata as its Indica diesel was qualified for the duty, but not for XETA as its large engine meant that tata was losing money on every Xeta sold. So Tata decided to lower the engine by reducing the bore and stroke and in the year end, the Xeta 1.4 (initially launched in 5 varients-GL, GLE, GLS, GLG and GLX) was replaced by Xeta 1.2 displacing 1193 cc and 65.8 ps and a bit reduced torque.

It was launched in 4 models-GV, GVE, GVS, GVG and the 1.4 was retained as GLX.

But the tweaking of the engine also had an adverse impact on its mileage as the car was still heavy and now it was more underpowered. Moreover, the engine shared common parts with the diesel mill, making it unnecessarily heavy. So the Xeta's success was again short lived and the car could not deliver more than 11-12 kmpl in mileage.

In september 2006, Overdrive magazine carried out an article that a mysterious small car prototype was scooped outside tata's pimpri plant. While the mule looked absoultely cobbled up and rubbish as a result of saas-bahu war, that was the first pictorial evidence That Tata finally has started work on Indica's long overdue successor. While Fiat cars were selling at massive discounts and Fiat's sole dealerships were laid to rest, it was time for Tata to give the old Indica its final botox treatment in January 2007, so does the palio.
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Old 18th November 2009, 12:20   #39
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Part 9: Botoxing the Indian Citi rover and "stile"ing the palio...

Actually the Indica platform was originally designed for a variety of body styles, so Tata launched a long wheelbase version of the indigo called the XL and this debuted the two new engines from Tata's 1.4 litre family.

The petrol was a downsized version of Safari's 2.1 L unit and produced 100 ps from 1396 cc whereas for the second time in a tata vehicle, after the safari, the 1.4 diesel was given the common rail treatment and christened as the dicor. The priced touched the 8 lakh mark and though the car was feature packed and even featured creature comforts like an on board entertainment system, extra spacious and comfy leather seats and powered driver and passenger seats, sales were at best lacklustre. More on that later..

Now coming back to the Indica, since the car was launched as citirover in UK (actually a rebadged Indica with a different front end), it was a sales disaster due to its attrocious perceived quality and an equally high price. In fact, top gear also told that it was "the worst car ever tested". They tested the car from a local dealer because the manufacturer refused to provide the car.

Since MG rover went bankrupt, lots of unsold citirovers were lying on the shipyard, so tata took them back and did some tweaks (just assuming by looking at the bumper design) and launched a minor facelift for the indica. At the rear, the taillights too were changed, so was the interiors-black for diesel and beige for xeta petrol. A steering wheel was also newer.The headlight grill and bumper was a straight lift from the citirover.

Along with that, tata also launched the export model-the DLX with ABS and dual airbags with an ad slogan-safety meets speed.

Meanwhile, all the old Fiat cars were sold off and standalone Fiat dealers (selling palio diesels, petras and other fiat cars) were shuttered down. Fiat's kurla plant, damaged substantially in Mumbai floods in july 2005, was bid goodbye and a new plant opened in ranjangaon in Pune marked the first official announcement of Tata-Fiat JV where both partners held equal stake. It was planned to increase production in a phased manner and agreement was signed to produce new generation Tata cars, Fiat cars and 1.2, 1.4 FIRE and 1.3 MJD engines and transmissions.

In march 2007, the first product as a result of the JV the Fiat Palio Stile was launched with a new 1.1 FIRE engine from the panda and the 1.6 torque engine was also retained, at a price band of 3,49,000-4,50,000 approx, making it as Fiat's comeback model and the first to be officially sold only under Tata Fiat umbrella. Fiat's modest target was just about 400-500 cars per month. Even that was seemingly difficult to achieve despite a new ad campaign showing an old premier padmini on the print and brochures. While the mileage was better, the old baggage and underpowered mill only made things worse...

Tata's most expensive car, the Indigo XL was doing pretty decent numbers initially but again, complaints in the dicor's fuel pump system and interior quality not befitting an 8-lakh rupee car along with the brand perception of Tata as a maker of "cheap" cars was not helping matters either.

Unruffled by this, work on Indica's successor was progressing rapidly and more and more prototypes were being sighted, especially on t-bhp and credit to member Tushar Atre for posting the first undisguised pic of the interior here made us know of tata's entire new design direction. While the sticker pointed out that the car had a 1.5 NA diesel, what powertrains would actually power the car was anybody's guess...

Ratan Tata's creative mind was about to give birth to another unique product and a mysterious looking Indigo was regularly spotted with its rear end heavily camouflaged in november 2007. What was this? Find out in the next part.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by sidindica : 18th November 2009 at 12:31.
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Old 18th November 2009, 12:41   #40
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Thats a fabulous write up Sid. Extremely detailed history of the Indica right from day one. Took me back to 1998 when the Indica was showcased at the Auto Expo before its debut. A decade has flown by and how and true to tradition Tata has improved its flagship with every new version.

Was a pleasure walking down memory lane with you.
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Old 18th November 2009, 12:43   #41
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Sid, what a story man! I don't know what's your profession but as an auto enthusiastic you are such rare find to team-bhp! I know how much effort it takes to rake up an article. And to compose such high standard 9 articles and more ... I don't know how to praise you in simple words! I am stuck with your thread since morning and just have not started my regular work!! Great write up and I am really impressed. Thank you so much.
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Old 18th November 2009, 12:48   #42
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Me too continuously watching this thread. Detailed story with excellent writeup. Thanks for bringing this story for teambhpians.
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Old 18th November 2009, 12:52   #43
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What a superb writeup Sid!! great man.. I really appreciate you that how can you write such a million words by your keyboard. I find its the most boring part of computer. Anyways hats off to you for such a wonderful contribution towards TeamBhp.

I am a proud owner of Indica Turbo DLG since almost three years. I just love this car after driving Fiat Punto and Linea 1.3MJD. Otherwise i was considering it as one of the worst car I have bought. Due to the following reasons
-Sitting position of the driver side is worst, generating back pain
-Front seats are small and under thigh support is nil
-Pedals position is awkward,tiresome and they are hard to operate
-Engine is so noisy at idle and at high speed
-Fit and finish of all around(inside and outside) is pathetic
-Head rest design is of non usable
-Turbolag below 2K RPM
so on..

Though mid range is so good comparing to Punto, and enjoyable in city driving.
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Old 18th November 2009, 12:58   #44
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Part 10: Tata's mega product blitz at auto expo 2008 and the first public sighting of second generation Indica

In my previous post, I had mentioned about that mysterious looking Indigo prototype sighting in Pune that year end. It was simply labled as the Indigo CS, that is compact sedan. While I failed to understood that how can a sedan be compact, after its first sighting on my visit there at the expo, I understood that its boot was chopped off and the length was below 4 metres.

A shock price of under 4,50,000 for entry level diesel model rattled competition from day one. All the attributes of the indigo minus the large (generally unused) boot space powered by xeta's 1.2 litre or Indigo's 1.4 TDi engine made it a smash hit and the car still sells in respectable numbers.

With the Indigo CS, Tata also showcased the second generation Indica for the very first time and it was more of an evolutionary design, and instantly recognizable as an Indica. All the attributes of the Indica, only bigger and better. More about that model later...

The third model launched was the indica which was powered by Dicor engine, already in sale in some select export markets and finally here, in DLG varient only. The engine was earlier launched in Indigo siblings before but did not met with success due to its high premium of Rs. 52,000.

Another pair of models were unveiled- the next generation sumo called the grande and its pick-up SUT sibling-the xenon XT, on sale currently here, powered by Safari's reworked 2.2 Dicor engine.

all these launches were overshadowed by Tata's another groundbreaking car, the "lakhtakiya" NANO. Billed as world's cheapest one lakh rupee car, it showcased Tata Motor's skills at producing a proper looking and engineered car fully indigeniously yet again, 10 years after they built the first indica. Small in size and price, but big on style, space and comfort, it was the car that our country finally wanted, a true people's car. 4 years after the project was announced, and you have the flesh in front of you, so much that it caught the world's attention, more so that at the 2008 geneva show where the nano was first showcased, Tata's press kits were out of stock in just 2 hours and actually Tata had to print 10 times than the actual required kits, so much interest it garnered.

Rest, they say, is history and the nano is currently on sale with all the cars booked till fall 2010. Read all about the nano here:

Last edited by sidindica : 18th November 2009 at 13:18.
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Old 18th November 2009, 13:26   #45
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Meanwhile the existing Indica had countless number of varients, so much so that when I picked up the latest brochure, I was unconscious as it read:
  • DL
  • DLE
  • DLS
  • DLS turbo
  • DLS dicor
  • DLG turbo
  • DLG dicor
  • DLX turbo
  • DLX turbo with ABS and airbags
  • Xeta 1.2 GL
  • Xeta 1.2 GLE
  • Xeta 1.2 GLS
  • Xeta 1.2 GLG
  • Xeta 1.4 GLX
OMG! so many varients, 1 car, 5 engine derivatives, what the hell is Tata upto now?

On the other hand, Indigo CS was on a wait, got the Dicor option and LX/ GLX models as well and Tata was busy readying something, something that changes everything....kya tha woh?
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