Buy a freshly launched car or wait for its version 2

If a vehicle does much better than the manufacturer expects, it will command a very long waiting period. The Mahindra XUV700 and second-gen Thar are examples of such cars.

BHPian Aditya recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Here at Team-BHP, we often suggest waiting for a while before buying a freshly launched car model. We recommend waiting for the "Version 2" of a new car so that the company gets some time to iron out the niggles that may arise in the "Version 1" of a car. Nobody wants to be a beta tester for the manufacturer. However, there are some drawbacks to buying a Version 2. Let's have a look at the pros of buying version 1 and version 2 of a new car.

Pros of buying a version 1

Get the latest offering in town:

It is always exciting to own something that is newly introduced in the market. Many people take a sense of pride in saying, "My car is from the first lot". You will also get a lot of attention from others who are curious to know more about your latest acquisition.

Benefit from introductory prices:

Most cars are launched at an "introductory price", which is lower than the intended price. This is to attract more people to the showrooms and secure as many bookings as possible. This price is increased after a month or two. It is then hiked regularly - sometimes multiple times a year and those buying the car a year later end up paying a lot more. Buying a vehicle at the introductory price helps you save some money.

Get the latest set of features:

A new model is generally equipped with the latest features in the market. This is done to make the car more attractive to buyers compared to the established players. They may be deleted from the car at a later stage to keep the price from rising too much. For instance, the Honda Jazz came with a magic seats option at launch but was discontinued after a while. Then, the second-gen Mahindra Thar got manual lumbar adjustment at launch but was removed after some time. So if one is looking to get the latest set of features possible in a car, get version 1 of the car.

Get an exclusive variant:

Some manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz launch a "Launch Edition" of certain models. These are limited in number and offer more exclusivity compared to the regular variants of the car.

More powerful engines:

Some cars are available with bigger and more powerful engines when they are launched. For instance, cars like the Maruti S-Cross and Toyota Innova Crysta came with higher capacity engines at the time of launch (1.6L diesel & 2.8L diesel respectively). After a while, these engines were discontinued. Later buyers were forced to opt for the 1.3-litre and 2.4-litre motors which had lesser power and torque.

Pros of buying a version 2

Avoid niggles and issues:

One of the biggest cons of buying a version 1 car is the threat of niggles and other issues that pop up. You essentially become a beta tester of the product. We have read innumerable horror stories of cars breaking down, some on the day of delivery itself. No cars from Tatas to Toyotas are immune to niggles when new products are launched. Many of these cars repeatedly visit the service centres to solve issues. With version 2, these issues are mostly ironed out, ensuring that the car buyers have a more pleasant ownership experience. For instance, the second-gen Mahindra Thar's suspension was really bouncy when the car was launched. With time, Mahindra softened it a little and made it liveable.

Get a clearer picture of ownership experience and reliability:

Buyers of version 1 of a car will not have enough information on the long-term reliability of a product. Waiting for version 2 will give a better idea of what a car is to live with. Team-BHP ownership reviews give you all the information that brochures don't. Information like real-world fuel efficiency, necessary upgrades and essential accessories among other things are something that you get to know about from other owners. This helps buyers to be more prepared for the ownership of the cars.

Feature additions:

Sometimes, manufacturers add features to a car some months or years after the car is launched. Version 1 buyers lose out on the new features. For instance, the Harrier, Tata added one of the standout features that customers look for. The version 1 Harrier did not get a sunroof, but the version 2 Harrier got a panoramic sunroof.

Avoid long waiting periods for some cars after launch:

If a product does much better than the manufacturer expects, it will command a very long waiting period. The Mahindra XUV700 and second-gen Thar are examples of such cars. The price, features and status associated with these cars offered, drew massive crowds to the showrooms. The company was not producing enough to meet the number of bookings it had garnered. This led to very long waiting periods. Waiting for version 2 of a car might be advantageous as the early rush is avoided and a quicker delivery is possible.

Get discounts:

When a car is launched, it is not likely to be offered with any discount. However, if a car does not do too well in the market, its price is slashed to attract customers. The Maruti Jimny is a recent example.

Would you buy version 1 of a car and deal with all the niggles and issues that crop up and live with them or wait for version 2 and buy a car which might have also lost some of the features the launch car had?

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

Voted for v2. All my cars have been final versions or in the mature stage of that particular model. 1997 Classic, 2003 City Vtec, 2005 C220d, 2013 530d, 2021 Superb L&K and so on. I am not one for the "latest & the greatest" at all.

Rather, I prefer to buy a product after carefully studying ownership posts on Team-BHP. And then buying something that will stay with me for years to come.

One thing is for sure: If I have to buy V1, it would always be from a Japanese brand (or max Korean). But with German brands & Indian carmakers (e.g. Safari or XUV700), it would always be a minimum of 2 years post-launch. Practiced the same with my Thar. I don't want to be a guinea pig.

Here's what BHPian MotoBlip had to say about the matter:

Personally, my decision to buy a car at launch depends on the manufacturer. If it's Maruti, Hyundai, Toyota, or Honda, I wouldn't hesitate. However, for brands like Mahindra or Tata, I'd prefer to wait at least 3 years to let them address any initial issues before making a decision.

Here's what BHPian anjan_c2007 had to say about the matter:

A buyer must always target version 2 or later versions, rather than jump and book or buy the immediately launched car. At times, circumstances compel the buyer to shop for version 1. I read what Aditya has carefully jotted down with his long-long experience in the field.

Yes, with version 1, we must avoid becoming the laboratory pet, guinea pigs with we being the lot, based on whose feedback the OE may look into niggles. Tata and Mahindra have been known for the last few decades as the OEs launching cars and then tackling issues based on feedback and grievances.

For instance, the first generation Scorpio was well known for the wrong reasons for its rear suspension, which made it unstable at higher speeds. They took more than five years to overcome this niggle.

Another factor, apart from what Aditya has jotted is the car's public reception with the pre-launch media hype created by OEs that enthuse buyers, who simply go gaga over the fact that such a car is being launched. And post-launch, despite the bookings of several thousand and sometimes lakhs, the car fails to match its buyers' expectations.

Cancellation of bookings also by the thousands and maybe lakhs follow and the earliest buyers of such cars bear the brunt of ownership of such an over-hyped car, soon gone kaput.

Examples are many starting from the Fiat Uno to the Maruti Jimny over the decades. For two-wheelers, the 100 cc, LML Vespa XE launch of around 1982 is not to be forgotten. Even there was some hype for the Hyundai Santro to be relaunched about 8 years ago. The company could do nothing to recreate their late 1990s hype and magic for the oldest Santro by their calling it the "tall boy" and tagging King Khan as their lucky mascot. The new Santro came and soon disappeared.

Hence, it is always advisable to wait for the carmaker to improve upon their Generation 1 launch, though many would prefer to grab all those factory-fitted bells and whistles and get joyous over the introductory prices. There are times when a car is urgently needed at home and that's when one is also tempted to grab their machine from the first few lots.

Here's what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say about the matter:

Totally depends on the manufacturer and the car in concern. I’d not be too concerned about picking up a mass-market Maruti, Hyundai, Honda or Toyota. Simply because exceptions aside, they sell products based on the same set of proven underpinnings and with time-tested powertrains. So, there is minimal risk, surprises and unknowns.

I’d like to wait for 1-1.5 years with a brand new Tata or Mahindra or any car that brings in new technologies for the brand (things like DCTs, direct injection, EV etc). Here again, there can be exceptions for genuinely world-class global products like Hyundai Ioniq5 or Kia EV6 or cars like the new Nexon EV 3.0, which is essentially a thorough facelift of the proven Nexon EV Max.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

A helmet will save your life