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Old 19th March 2010, 20:14   #1
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Default Are VFM cars really VFM? - Cabs are wrong examples?

Cars that are popular with fleet owners (like Indica, Logan, etc) are often recommended to private car buyers based on the argument that "If cabbies can buy these reliable and cheap to maintain cars, so can you".

But after going thru the ownership threads of such vehicles [greenhorn's never-ending Indica voes( and anilkalvani's dejection with Logan Diesel ( - sadly, both seem ready to sell off their vehicles out of sheer frustration], iam left wondering whether fleet owners are right in their choice of vehicles. Wouldn't better-built cars (albeit at highter initial costs) be safer bets for them?

Looks like these so-called "Value For Money" cars, in the long run, end up being either duds or white elephants (expensive to keep running), spending more time in workshop than on roads.

Experts please clarify on these:

1. Does what seems VFM while in showroom translate to still being VMF after 3-4 years? Iam sure fleet owners are in for the long haul and do not sell cars early.
2. Is it not true that cheaper cars (out of showroom) have cheaper components, which translates to increased maintenance costs over the long term; their-by nullifying their "VFM"-ness?
3. Should private buyers look at cabs as example for "reliablity" and "cheap maintenance"?


Last edited by WindRide : 19th March 2010 at 20:15.
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Old 19th March 2010, 23:24   #2
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value means different things to different people. In my case My running is too little I guess. if I'd run my car like most cabbies, I'd have been at , say 90k, and gloating over the cheap cost per km.

That said, the maintainence cost is not what makes me mad. Its the way the TASC goes about it.

And add to that tata's policy of 'if it ain't broke, dont fix it' means that apart from the filters etc, stuff that needs to be changed is never changed , until the damages compound themselves. Might work for those who run a lot. but not for others.

I my case, loss of acceleration, vibrations, and uneven tyre wear was traced to a dying ball joint the TASC refused to replace.

For the record, parts are still cheap. Its just the premature failures that bothers me. And tata's QC dont inspire confidence either
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Old 19th March 2010, 23:47   #3
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different purchase strategies are follwed by different cab companies. radio cabs, black and yellow cabs, contract cabs do not necessarily buy the same cars.

1. fleet owners do not buy cars for driving pleasure - they buy it for total cost of ownership and in order to suit a overall experience and price point that they think will satisfy the end customer. in any case their payback period and business model is very well defined and they do not sell their fleet before they meet their returns objective. Therefore VFM for a person is a very different term than that for a taxi company.

2. ur wrong her bro. a omni cab is cheaper than the wagon r cab - it has cheaper components - but is it less dependable in anyway?

3. its probably true. but ur argument is flawed to the extent that you are clubbing all cars of all pricepoints and comparing their maintenance cost with each other
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Old 20th March 2010, 14:00   #4
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Before blindly going by the justification of taxi drivers using a car, what we should first consider is, why is that model popular with cabbies? The Indica is popular solely due to cost, and that it offers max real estate for the rupee.

On the other hand, bring in the Logan (Indigo & Indigo CS are cheaper), Innova (Xylo & Tavera are cheaper) and Altis (several cheaper options in the C segment) and its evident they aren't bought for their price tag alone. The contributing factors here are durability, reliability, VFM (NOT the cheapest), space and fuel efficiency. For these cars, I'd certainly used the clichéd "If a taxi can use it, so can you" line.
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Old 20th March 2010, 17:37   #5
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When it comes to cab companies, VFM translates to OTR price, mileage, maintenance cost. My uncle has a garage and I asked him why do most of the pickup cabs are indicas. He mentions that if it is TATA, you need not run to showroom if it breaks down, you can fix it at most of the local mechanics. Availability of spare parts is also good, specially non-genuine ones which cost almost half of the original cost. So even if your car breaks down or has a problem, it wont bother you much.

A good cab car does not necessarily translate into a good passenger car. And not all cheaper cars can be used as cabs. As per my knowledge, the manufacturing company needs to initiate some process so that a taxi passing is available for their product. Thats why only indicas are seen as cabs and not the Vistas.
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Old 21st March 2010, 20:35   #6
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I was speaking to one of the Meru cab drivers on the way back from the airport and he had done about 1,75,000km on his Logan. He claimed that he had only done service at the recommended intervals and had no breakdowns in between. Fleet owners at some point of time are going to realize that having a vehicle that is dependable is more important than availability of cheap, spurious parts.
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