BHPians share their thoughts on cost cutting in their current cars

Cost cutting can be a feature/attribute the specific model possesses elsewhere, or even existed in India before it was mercilessly plucked out, much to our chagrin.

BHPian GeeTee TSI recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Cost cutting as a car owner can be something whose absence is perceived even conspicuous!. Chief gripes for me in the past have been model specific instances (lack of damping), a bane faced by the whole segment (no 3 point seatbelts for the 5th passenger).

Cost cutting can be a feature/attribute the specific model possesses elsewhere, or even existed in India before it was mercilessly plucked out, much to our chagrin. Typically, cost cutting measures are not very evident to a average/casual owner, not even a botheration perhaps. But it means the whole world to the enthusiast, feeling the pain each time it comes into his/her senses.

One has no option but to live with it, unless efforts are taken by adventurous, industrious (BHPians) carrying out DIY/upgrades. In all probability, the cost cutting is permanent with no official way out through the OEM.

In my ’21 CKD Octavia which has otherwise all the ‘nice’ stuff intact, I am aghast at:

No front camera (I see that plastic housing wistfully each time I wash the car):

Absolute uprooting of all the driver assist features which are available in Europe (and also in the bl***y manual accessible to me via the VIN):

Let us try and keep aside wishful features which was never destined for the car, from cost cutting (or ‘value engineering’) executed by the OEM.

What is your cost cutting grouse?

Here's what GTO had  to say on the matter:

BMW 530d: The one thing that really, really bothers me is no keyless entry in this luxury car, at a time when cheaper hatchbacks were offering it. Annoyingly, it has keyless go! So you have to take the key out of your pocket, press the button to unlock and then keep the key back in your pocket. This is the most annoying cost-cutting in my BMW.

Skoda Superb: Skoda has equipped it very well, but the lack of a full-size spare wheel can be irritating on a long drive where you'd have to drive at restricted speeds (with the spare). Told my bro to upgrade the alloys & tyres at some point (we always buy alloy wheels in a set of 5), so we'll solve it then with the same tyre width.

Mahindra Thar: Oh, Mahindra has really gone all-out with its cheap feature deletions on the Thar. Compared to the 2020 launch model, the current Thar loses out on a 2nd USB port, lumbar adjustment etc. Worse still, the Petrol now misses a mechanical locking diff. This is over & above features that were already conspicuous by their absence in a 19-lakh Jeep (no reversing cam, auto-dimming IRVM, auto headlamps & wipers, electrically-folding ORVMs, rear wash & wipe).

Mahindra Classic: Actually, it was extremely "loaded" for the time. A basic Jeep, but disc brakes, comfy bucket seats, 12v electricals, automatic glow plugs for the diesel engine and all were big things for a CJ in the 90s.

Nissan Sunny: Got the mid-variant as it's a beater car. Main cost-cutting miss is Bluetooth Audio. We miss it till date. The only way to connect your smartphone is AUX, something phones don't even offer today!

Here's what BHPian saikishor had to say on the matter:

GM locked some features in the domestic variants of the Beat. The speedometer of the Beat has a dummy button, which, when unlocked, could be used to toggle between data like distance to empty, average speed etc. This would've been a huge standout feature if offered back in 2010. A simple switch activation but GM chose to play clown and simply replaced this switch with a dummy. I wonder what kind of dollars they gained by doing so.

Here is an old thread posted by a BHPian on unlocking the dummy button.

Here's what BHPian Axe77 had to say on the matter:

3GT: Coming to my 3GT, the spare donut wheel which sits in the boot itself comes in a tyre cover which is just deep enough to hold the donut, not the actual full size spare. I mean what if I’m traveling with luggage. Is a dirty used wheel supposed to rub shoulders with all my luggage without even a cover? How difficult is it to provide a spare wheel in a cover where the cover is large enough to fit the standard wheel as well. Something like even a twin zipper set up like suitcases have to expand the compartment size.

Jeep Meridian: Without a doubt the absence of a cigarette lighter type charger in the front section. Its unfathomable why they’ve chosen to omit something so basic in the Compass and Meridian.

Here's what BHPian SomenD had to say on the matter:

Honda Jazz 2019 VX CVT: Missing adjustable rear headrests is something I am not happy with at all. Although Jazz did great in GNCAP, why Honda went so stingy with something as basic as headrests is beyond me. Having magic seats would have been superb but even if you removed them as a part of cost-saving exercise, adjustable headrests should have been given.

Here's what BHPian CosmicWizard had to say on the matter:

BMW X3 Luxury Line: No 360 deg camera, no connected car features (somehow I am okay not having keyless entry).

Honda Brio: No auto-lock doors after car starts moving.

Here's what BHPian Maxy had to say on the matter:

Maruti Swift 2013: Insanely cheap and Hard plastics. The protrusion/arm rest on the driver and passenger door where the arm may rest from time to time is hard and squeeks upon any meaningful vertical movement. The driver side gotten so bad that I can no longer do this, this from the very start at a mere few months old car not a decade later aged car. Also, I mention door plastics but its not door its everywhere.

The car has rubbish plastics everywhere and is from an era of peak Maruti cheapening, our previous significantly older Esteem was not this cheapened out anywhere, although a segment above.

Here's what BHPian Sanidhya mukund had to say on the matter:

Mercedes C200 (W204 Facelift):

Some plastics and buttons have not aged well. The colour has faded or the surface has peeled off on some parts with frequent usage. This is despite the low odo reading (only 36k).

2021 Innova Crysta GX 2.4 (Company car):

A sea of hard plastics inside the cabin. Also, no climate control, no side airbags, no reverse camera, no rear centre armrest ( 8 seater model), no fog lights and absolutely zero embellishments on the exterior. I know you pay for the reliability, but some of these omissions are unpardonable for a 20+ lakh rupee car.

2021 Ertiga VXI CNG:

Horrible paint quality. gets scratched even if you brush against some stray bushes/shrubs. No rear wiper and defogger. Poor sound insulation. The Ciaz with the same engine is significantly quieter.

The interiors: one word: eww. Hard beige plastics everywhere, rough edges that look like the plastic has been cut by hand, creaky, rattly stuff all over the place. There is no hint of any fabric, not even on the door armrests. The cabin of the previous gen model somehow felt like a better place to be. This one is so bad that I hate travelling long distances in this car.

The Datsun Go sure deserves an honorable mention here. I do not own one, but I have travelled in it once. It actually seemed like a cost cutting exercise on wheels! Every single cost cutting measure that you could imagine had been implemented.

Here's what BHPian DicKy had to say on the matter:

Currently having a car that was a cost cutting study for the manufacturer, I really don't know where to start.

Bumpers- To say it is flimsy would be an understatement. Even budget Marutis have sturdier bumpers than the Etios has. Especially the rear bumper is so flimsy that it flaps and moves around with the slightest touch. Maybe a small cross member or plastic piece which would have costed below Rs.100/- would have sufficed.

Rear armrest- It came in the 2016 Platinum facelift, but before that they sold an armrest separately as an accessory. Just a piece of cushion and levers would have made a huge difference Toyota.

Beadings and thin glasses- Our '09 F10D WagonR had far superior insulation from external noises, than this bare minimum done.

Idling fluctuations- A small perceptible difference in voltage(?). When I switch on the headlights or use the power windows or fog lamps or rear defogger there is a slight difference in RPM. Especially noticable with the parking lights ON and you can see the instrument cluster slightly dimming along with the other interior lights when using the power windows or fog lamps. Nothing major, just a small annoyance visble only if you look for it.

Single reverse light- With no reversing camera, conked off parking sensors and a useless rear windshield, really wish there was more illumination in the left side when reversing in the dark.

Stronger body panels- A bit more stronger body panels unlike the current bare minimum done.

But other than these, my worries vanish when I end up driving most other cars below 12 lakhs and start to appreciate the well engineered mechanical underpinnings of the Etios.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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