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Old 17th July 2010, 11:01   #1
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Default Are Indian brands considered cheap & downmarket?

The title itself explains what i mean to ask. By indian brands, i mean to ask about Mahindra & Tata. Maruti is not considered as almost all its cars are japanese!

This incident happened to me yesterday. I picked up one of my friend in my scorpio & we parked our car in the underground parking of a commercial building. The parking had about 10-12 cars & around 6-8 of them were base model scorpios. the following conversation happened between me & my friend, rohit-

Rohit: this parking is full of scorpios!

Me: yes, all are base models with no wheelcaps. maybe all of them belong to some firm who has it's office in this complex.

R: but why scorpio? are they mad?

M: why? whats wrong?

R: i think a scorpio costs 10 lakhs right. they could have gone for a toyota innova. why opt for a mahindra?

M: whats wrong in a mahindra?

R: Dude, mahindras are not meant to make cars. they should only make trucks.

M: trucks?! mahindra has not been making trucks at all (on a large scale). they used to make tractors initially.

R: yea whatever, then whats that company- oh yea, thats tata...!

M: right!

R: LOL, so you bought a car from a tractor maker?!!! even mahindras should make only that old jeeps (pointing to a mahindra classic parked in a corner) & tractors used in villages.

M: have you ever driven or owned a mahindra or tata?

R: no, i would never ever buy a mahindra or tata. who wants to be seen in them?

(he has a honda city - NHC)

M: then how can you comment on its vehicles?

R: cmon dude, the world knows, tatas & mahindras can make only low quality, unreliable & cheap cars. these indian brands cannot compete with the japs. so its best they stick to their trucks & jeeps. why would a family man buy these cars when you get a honda or toyota for the same price?

M: then why do you see so many tatas & scorpios on the road?

R: what? i have never seen too many scorpios & in tatas, only call centre guys & taxi owners buy indicas. which other car does tata make anyway?

M: LOL, you dont even know which cars tata & mahindra makes?

R: man, whose bothered about them? who cares? i would never ever in my life buy a mahindra or tata, so why should i look at them?

M: sure, i wont challenge your opinions (i dont need to!) but i would still suggest you atleast drive a mahindra or tata first & then comment. i accept they wont have the finesse & quality of your jap cars but then they offer many other things which make it more VFM.

R: LOL, i dont wanna risk my life & waste my money by buying a tata or mahindra! so i dont need to drive such crude vehicles.

M: okay, i wont debate then!

After exiting from the vehicle, he sees the bonnet scoop on my car.

R: dude, whats this? why have you fitted this?

M: its not aftermarket, its standard.

R: LOL, what was mahindra thinking? a bonnet scoop will make it's vehicle powerful?

M: Nopes, but it works, its not a dummy. it feeds air to the intercooler.

R: yea whatever! Measures to fool the indian public, as if this car will go drag racing!

After that, i stopped commenting.

But this made me think, are Indian brands considered so cheap? why are indian cars downgraded? whats so wrong with them? why do indians hate seeing themselves in an indian car?

how many in the real world actually think like my friend? i have some other friends too who after sitting in or driving my car has told me, "i cant believe this is mahindra. i never used to even give the scorpio a glance before. after all, its a mahindra...". now some have been recommending scorpios to others. i have personally met many who have bought the innova without even test driving the scorpio or safari. Now, i do know that the innova is superior to both the SUVs, but not even test driving the SUVs mean you dont even want to consider the indian brands in front of a jap brand.

so does that mean, if i have 11 lakhs... if i buy a innova, i am more "classy" & if i buy a scorpio, i am a "villager"?

Last edited by raj_5004 : 17th July 2010 at 11:04.
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Old 17th July 2010, 11:15   #2
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A few people have their head in the clouds ignore tham and hopefully it isnt common
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Old 17th July 2010, 11:16   #3
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We've had similar discussions as parts of other threads, so it's good to have a separate thread like this.

Homegrown products are still seen with skepticism. This is something that has happened because our homegrown products were indeed of significantly inferior quality than the foreign ones. They were kept alive by the protected economy when they would have died in any competitive environment.
OT: Which is why I think that the best thing that happened to this country after independence (in economic terms) is Dr.Manmohan Singh.

Coming back to cars, Tata and Mahindra still are some way off the quality levels (not just plastic) and reliability of the other brands. It's not their fault, they are new and catching up fast. However, reputation takes longer to change but I am positive that it will. But as of now, people will blindly go for an Innova, but take umpteen test drives of the Scorpio/Safari etc. and ask umpteen questions before going for one. I am not talking about enthusiasts though (and that I guess is the moot point of the thread.
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Old 17th July 2010, 11:19   #4
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It is nothing wrong if one comments from the angle that toyota innova is more refined than the mahindra scorpio. It is only a comparison of a degree, hence the argument is reasonable, logical.

Bashing a product without a ownership/riding experience smacks of inherent bias built into that person, and it is wiser to divert the conversation.
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Old 17th July 2010, 11:33   #5
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That sadly is the case with most of the people.Some people consider it to be down market to be seen in an Indian make car.Maybe it's due to their past experiences or due to sheer ignorance. The latter which I think is the reason much more prevalent.
Most of the people only look at the Brand value and the snob value of the car. Most of them don't even consider Indian make cars let alone test drive them!

Thankfully though, this is changing now. The market is coming out more mature and the buyer's perception is changing. Thanks to the newer generation cars from Tata and Mahindra.

Last edited by aman9393 : 17th July 2010 at 11:36.
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Old 17th July 2010, 13:00   #6
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@Raj - I've only one thought about Indian brands - they've long way to catch up.
Take anything for that matter, auto to aeroplane, home appliance to hair pin, I'm yet to see one "perfect" job on any Indian product.

One of the basic problem here is that everything is starting as new. Let me give an example; Bajaj now starts making motorcycle, which is reknowned for lighting & scooters and indeed they're fairing well, which is good. The point is that they're still in the learning curve, they still have lots of issues to address for which I'm sure they're fixing things. However, the expectation or standard set by the entire motorcycle industry is way too high that Bajaj need to work day in & out to match them. By the time Bajaj catches upto the standard, the industry standard would be raised further. The standard that I'm talking could be in terms of quality, technology, support, reliability & all of these & more too.

The sad truth is that when the entire world was in the learning phase after WWII, we closed our doors; by the time we've opened up, the world has learned a lot. So now either we learn from them, which obviously takes time & is a never ending process, or we allow them here which is why we see Audi to Toyota & Ducati to HD here.

IMO, every country has undergone these kind of criticism & have mastered things in course of time. IIRC, in the 60's/70's the Japanese cars were criticized & the Korean cars during 80's in US. But the companies did survive in US & also overtook their home grown company.

If the first version of Pulsar 180, Scorp & Indica are compared with the current models, I can vouch to see a great difference in them which obviously shows Indian brands are learning & improving. But since they've a long way to catch in terms of technology, service, support, quality, cost & all the more - trust, they're having hard time to compete with the leaders such as Yamaha, Toyota & Honda.

Last but not the least, as a startup these things called quality, reliability, perfect all would be no where in the scene. As the competition gradually builds up & technology advances things will improve.
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Old 17th July 2010, 13:16   #7
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My friend's first reaction to my Scorpio purchase was "Wow, you've bought a Mahindra ! Their vehicles are so reliable". He owns a Honda City (2007). That was heartening to me.

But another friend of mine took the cake when he was ranting "I do not want to look at any Tata Innova as my second vehicle". When I corrected him to "Toyota" Innova, he began to take interest
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Old 17th July 2010, 13:38   #8
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All I can say is your friend is woefully ignorant of the capabilities from the Mahindra/Tata stable. God bless him.
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Old 17th July 2010, 14:12   #9
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I am okay with the fact that somebody is bashing a product because of bad ownership or driving experiences. hence i asked the question "have you owned or driven a tata/mahindra?" to which he said he would never even consider them.

my point is, why are indian brands so outrightly rejected? i believe every car has some pros & cons. for example, for me its the scorpio which fits the bill & even though i have a innova with me, i never drive it. but this i came to know only after i test drove & bought the mHawk.

if somebody is even unwillingly to sit in a car saying its an "indian" brand, then that really offends me.

what is so wrong with an indian brand? my car is indian, it is definitely reliable (my older scorpio has clocked close to 2 lakh kms without major issues), it is fuel efficient, its offers many features, performance & NVH is good, its comfortable & is value for money. even the resale value is high. what more does one need in a car?
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Old 17th July 2010, 14:19   #10
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I think it has something to do with the 'new to the business' syndrome. The Hondas, Toyotas, Suzukis have been around for a while and earned their name with their products.

So when a person wants to put his huge 'hard earned' money into something that he is going for own for a significant amount of years, he decides to choose the established one rather than being a guinea pig for the newbies.
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Old 17th July 2010, 14:39   #11
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I guess it's the mindset that's really to blame.

I would have agreed 50% with these guys 5-10 years back, but not now. Not when cars like the Tata Indica Vista, Tata Manza etc. are being produced. These newer generation cars offer an equal or better VFM than most other cars in their segment. It's not like the manufacturers are satisfied with present levels of quality. They continue to improve vastly and will be on par pretty soon.

@aargee - Bajaj are leaders in their particular segment. It's actually the Japs who are having a hard time breaking in (I've seen more 135 LS's than CB Stunner's, even with the latter's stunning looks). It's obviously different when one looks at sports bike segment as Indian manufacturers haven't actually made any bike that can be truly termed as such.
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Old 17th July 2010, 15:05   #12
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Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
(he has a honda city - NHC)
- this explains a lot to me . No offence meant to NHC owners who consciously buy this car for its acutal virtues, but this is a typical ignoramus who thinks NHC is a mini-Civic simply because it is "Japanese" and "Honda".

I think this deep rooted inferiority complex comes from decades and centuries of importing technology, and being told how to do things by other countries. Western countries have managed to dominate science with their language, and I think this was a major domination breakthrough. They sealed it with building technology on this English-science marriage as a foundation. This IMHO is the major reason why they are able to dominate and other countries follow. Japanese on the other hand are able to build technologically advacced products without depending much on English. Have to hand it to them for that.

It is not only in cars. Many people would blindly buy a Philips mixie and not even consider a Preethi. In some cases, the Preethi mixie would actually be better quality at that particular price point. Another example is people will pay Rs.40 or 50 for a burger at McDonalds, which they frankly dont enjoy as much as a pani puri. But, if the pani-puri wallah raises the price to Rs.40 per plate, how many people will buy?

At the same time, Indian products do need to go up in quality. That challenge is definitely there. But not to the extent that this type of persons blindly judge.
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Old 17th July 2010, 15:20   #13
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@Smash - Bajaj are selling hot for several reasons; they've understood the pulse of Indian - great power, stylish looks; decent mileage & all the more, low cost. None of the Japs could match all of them comprimising the cost on their 150CC. If you look at the quality of Bajaj, it speaks of everything. Just to give you a different thought, just have a look at the 150CC segments on Yamaha & Bajaj, Pulsar vs R15/FZ, you'll understand what I mean. Enough of OT.

Just to give another thought - what were our Indian manufacturers doing before the foriegn players entering into our market? I personally feel they were taking all of us for a ride with the same old models with several years.

Though RE cannot be considered as full Indian originator, they take ages to make one simply change.

@Raj - That reminds me to talk about the Indian brands; I remember reading about the review of one of the early C5 owner in this forum on how the FI area was left uncovered & few wires were hanging around for easy water seepage; add to that the paint job. All these I would call lack of attention to detail.
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Old 17th July 2010, 15:41   #14
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@raj, I call such people as RNI that is resident non indians, Sigmand Freud says any superiority complex is menifestation of deep seated inferiority.
Any way to fix this friend of yours why don't you invite him to some excrusion in his car where barely broken roads are involved. I am sure repair costs and shaken and stirred backbone will end the argument on why Scorpio
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Old 17th July 2010, 15:51   #15
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I understand the catching-up part required for Indian car companies to reach Japanese or German level. But what I do not understand is why same time required to equal their service standards. When one third of Indian economy is in service sector, this should not be any issue at all. But we still see Tata service standards still behind that of Maruti-Suzuki.
Probably this is one of the main concern for most of us.
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