Build Quality & Safety: Does It Really Matter? Or We're Still on "Kitna Deti Hai" Concept?


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Hi,

I have this question in mind from past several days, Build Quality and Safety? Does that really matter for us?
In my own words and as i see the sales charts every month, i think build quality dosen't matter to us. Proof is failure of some world class cars with good engines and drive-ability struggle to lead the sales charts. few examples are:
Fiat
VW group
Tata
Opel
all these products failed although they presented us with best build and quality cars. They are struggling to set the sales chart on fire. Main issue is FE.
All these brands do have great brand value in international market where people blindly trust them to be the safest cars as well as love to drive them.
but here in India the weakest car of the lot is the best seller -- Alto
lets talk about alto 800 - Crash test safety ratings 0, no abs or ebd or even airbags until they are forced to be mandatory by Govt.
horrible crashes that shows how poorly these were built. same goes for maximum cars from suzuki stable. if we talk about Baleno or ciaz , swift or dezire, ertiga or ecco
all follows the same build quality.

my friend use to own a fiat punto. once the battery was dead and need to replace the battery. i tried to open the bonnet and it was so heavy that it feels like i am trying to lift a two wheeler.
same goes for Tata and VW. earlier i owned a opel for 4 years. once on a red light while waiting for signal to turn green a brand new baleno hit me from the back. i heard a loud thud and i though
back is gone. came out scared to evaluate the damage and saw a misaligned bumper. aligned it with hands and clips pop back in and voila everything ok. just a scratch and paint peeled off.
and when i saw the baleno, oh my god, seems like the guy hit a rock. Bonnet folded like a foil, radiator busted, bumper in 2 pieces, even the right side fender is gone and the driver door is stuck.
coolant is everywhere and also when we checked after opening the bonnet, the front guard is completely bent ac condenser is gone, even the lower front support is bent. oh boy a brand new car with ribbons and what a mess.
nowadays cars are getting lighter and lighter. we pay 11 lakhs for a car like ciaz but what we are getting, no offence to the owners but i cannot expect a car to be so flimsy after paying 11 lakhs whose body parts cannot hold their shape after it brushed with a cycle. where as if you talk about punto and VW or tata also, all these cars are so well built. i can see the triple sheet spports under the bonnet and inside the chasis also. On another forum an accident was reported where a fiat avventura hit a state transport bus head on and 4 out of 5 occupants came out harmless and the driver also recovered and discharged in a month from hospital. Can you imaging the same with a swift leave alone the alto. also a dumper loaded with stones turned over on a linea and the occupants were safe although the car was totalled, owner didnt even waited for the claim and bout a new linea again.
even polo met an accident where on mumbai pune expressway the car hit the divider and than fell into a ditch after it rolled over several times and the occupants were safe. these incidents actually shows why built quality matters. i dont know when people ill understand that rather than saving few bucks please save yourself and your family first. we might get new car or we can make for the money we lost but when someone dies the life cannot be compensated.

What if we get a fuel economy of 10-12 rather than 18, atleast we are safe, and god knows while on the road, when our such investment help us to save a precious life.
Everyone need to think about this.
Signing off with a positive note and waiting for your views.

Alto crash no one survived and punto and linea crash all of them survived. Still fiats are not as fuel efficent as marutis but they can save lives.
 

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People are being wiser, crash test norm's are around the corner, most of the tincans will be out of reaconing.
To give you a small example, I bought my Nexon last year, and go to pick my wife from school, some grade IV/V students were passing and one told his friends, this is a 5* rated safe car. Some who were not aware kept asking him what it means, he did have knowledge to explain. (I mentioned this in my Nexon thread).
Next few days the appreciative students increased.
So things will change.
Days of kitna deti hai, will change to, kitna safety hai.
 
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It is not just kitna deti hai it is a combination of multiple factors which emulates from a single a single point.
If kitna deti hai is the single factor hyundai would have been packing by now.
Resale value, kitna deti hai and public perception, you get all these three right or atleast two of them you will succeed in the market.
Why resale value and kitna deti hai matters most is because of the low per capita income
Perception is based on the company's past products, if you had made something like indica in the past, people won't buy even if you give them Rolls Royce. But if your first car was santro then you will be able to sell anything.
Companies should come up with good buy back plans and maintenance contracts, else just shut down.
My advice to companies like tata who is dependent on Indian sales is just shut it down. It's not worth the effort.
 

Akash1886

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Buddies,

Though the debate about Safety Vs FE is never ending but as I see, Build Quality, Re-sale and Fuel Efficiency are an important aspect when considering a car purchase. However, seeing the views and requirements of the public at large the OEM accordingly tries to balance out on these aspects. The balancing act most often leads to compromise as for a large section of earning community the car still holds a aspirational value and the prime investment post the purchase for the large section is the fuel cost and we can't deny it. So, seeing the concern of rising fuel cost it becomes important for the OEM to roll out fuel efficient engines. To make more fuel efficient cars the OEM(s) at large compromise on the structure and weight of the car. And let me add again, if the core structure of the car is compromised, no amount of safety gadgets are of use. The debate on what is more important can only be rightfully answered if the buyers begin to acknowledge safety and prioritize correctly.

Coming to Re-sale, this is one aspect which is mainly driven by long term reliability of a car and how the brand supports the owner during car ownership. Reliability of the vehicle is in the hands of the brand so this aspect needs to be made as strong as possible with help of customer friendly schemes. In my case too, my 2017 Tigor went in for a terrible re-sale value even though it had run a shade over 18K Kms where as my other old cars went for a much better re-sale value in open market. The re-sale of a car also has to do a lot with the people's perception about it and the brand it is from as I have experienced. However, the right way to assess the re-sale should be how well a particular car fairs among buyers and should not just be judged by the logo on the grill.

Seeing the Indian market (not just at present but in general), it is important to educate oneself with the changing trends and update one's thought process with necessary knowledge with regards to safety features in a car. Before changing the mindset of the OEM, the mindset of the buyers needs to change as "we only get what we ask for". Though the govt. has made ample safety features as standard now but along with that the level of acceptance for the same should also improve among the masses.

On a lighter note, just like every guy looks for beauty with brains and every girl looks for Tall, Dark & Handsome guy same ways when buying a car each buyer should begin to consider Safety, Build Quality too along with Re-sale and FE and not simply give priority to a specific attribute over everything else.

Regards

Akash
 
Thread Starter #8
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as mentioned by Akash1886 "when buying a car each buyer should begin to consider Safety, Build Quality too along with Re-sale and FE and not simply give priority to a specific attribute over everything else. " Thats what we need to look for, or else we again end up buying a tin can again. Regarding the statement made by Kingtut "My advice to companies like tata who is dependent on Indian sales is just shut it down. It's not worth the effort." buddy i think it actually is good to at least make an effort after starting off with a product like INDICA. Now days TATA fared a lot in manufacturing and product lineup. Take a look at nexon and harrier, along with tiago and tigor. all these cars are well put together and presently selling in good numbers even after the market decline. harrier topped and contribute to the maximum chunk of sales for its class. and also its not about tata only. if we compare tata service with Honda or Suzuki or Hyundai who are in business for more than 6 decades, tata survives well in competition with only 2 decades of passenger car market experience. Yes Japanese are way ahead of tata but with experience tata is also catching them quickly. now being in luxury car market with Jaguar and Range rover kinda products they sure are doing fairly well and catching up quickly.
 

Akash1886

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Perception is based on the company's past products, if you had made something like indica in the past, people won't buy even if you give them Rolls Royce. But if your first car was santro then you will be able to sell anything.
Not really. There are many companies who haven't been able to sell their present gen cars as much as they sold their past cars.

1) Nissan: Terrano, Sunny & Micra were selling reasonably well but beyond them, Nissan hasn't been able to sell their KICKS C-SUV and neither they have thought about introducing any new product to India.

2) Renault: When Duster & Kwid were able to sell then why did Captur became a below average seller?

3) FIAT: It was a enthusiast's delight to own a Punto or Linea. But FIAT wasn't able to penetrate the market after a point (with intro of Abarth) and till now FIAT hasn't introduced any new sedan or hatch for past couple of years. The only blessing in disguise for them is Jeep brand (Compass).

4) GM: They had Beat, Spark, Cruze, Optra yet they weren't able to sell their SUV (forgot the name) that was launched in 2016 and eventually ended their Indian operations. They are maintaining their Export operations as I am aware.

So, A lot also depends on the fact how seriously a brand looks into a particular market. A brand's product strategy makes a whole lot of difference. The brand has to update itself with changing customer preferences as soon as possible. Providing a loaded product but not able to cater the after-sales requirements is also a big deterrent for customer to associate with the brand.

Companies should come up with good buy back plans and maintenance contracts, else just shut down.
Many companies have begun to work on the maintenance packages in form of extended warranties, AMC etc but yes buy-back plan definitely need to be put in place specially for those brands who still are a second preference for the buyers.

My advice to companies like tata who is dependent on Indian sales is just shut it down. It's not worth the effort.
That's a harsh statement. As an informed enthusiast we should analyse a lot of aspects prior to making such a statement. Yes JLR has been a cause of concern for Tata but that doesn't mean it can't plan about revival. The Impact Design Language by TML has given them a new lease to exist in our market and mind you, TATA cars of present gen are also exported to many Asian markets so they aren't simply confined to Indian sales figures. As I see, before closing the operations in a market a brand takes in account the following aspects (surely there can be more):

1) Consistent Low Sales over the years due to dated product line up and availability of better products from competitors.

2) Lack of Capital Infusion from parent brand to expand operations and introduce new technologies upon seeing the market's acceptance towards their products.

3) Growth prospects for the future.

No brand in any industry can shut shops simply because of a couple of product failures. This is applicable to every wing of the industry. Good and Bad products come out from every brand. What's more important is that, the brand should not repeat their mistakes and learn from it and improve.

Now days TATA fared a lot in manufacturing and product lineup. Take a look at nexon and harrier, along with tiago and tigor. all these cars are well put together and presently selling in good numbers even after the market decline.
I would term Tiago & Nexon as good products from TML where as Tigor & Harrier are surely above average products. There is still a lot of scope of improvement in both w.r.t to engine, transmission. A capable product like Hexa wasn't a run-away success like Tiago & Nexon because people saw it as a revamped Aria and perhaps the price was much higher for them to invest. Otherwise, I don't find any reason as such for it not to sell.

if we compare tata service with Honda or Suzuki or Hyundai who are in business for more than 6 decades, tata survives well in competition with only 2 decades of passenger car market experience.
A slight correction here buddy, Internationally, maybe Suzuki & Hyundai and Honda would have been in PV business for more decades but in regards to India, M.U.L (now MSIL) came in India with SS80 model in early 80's followed by TATA in early 90's (Sierra) followed by Indica and then Honda and Hyundai came in mid 90's to India. TML has been in PV business for close to 3 decades now in India. Yes, I agree TML took time to improve and are in much better position compared to earlier year w.r.t After-Sales Support.

Yes Japanese are way ahead of tata but with experience tata is also catching them quickly. now being in luxury car market with Jaguar and Range rover kinda products they sure are doing fairly well and catching up quickly.
Not every Jap brand is having same success like Maruti Suzuki or Toyota. Nissan is a big example. However, even with a reasonable sales chart of TML, it definitely needs to figure out solutions for the JLR. It incurring a huge loss because of JLR.

Regards

Akash
 
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For Indian consumers V/s Global ones -
1.Indians mostly keep their vehicles atleast for 5 years (as of 2018 atleast , cause trend is changing) , so we mostly check all the features available , where the global products like Fiat , VW lag is this , they don't update their products (Polo got an update only in 2017 , by the same time , I20 was in its 3rd facelift )
2.Tuning of Engines - Globally , most engines are GDI(Gasoline direct Injected ) or petrols , India is one of the few countries which have Diesels, and this is also a concern in terms of long term reliability - More clearly , a cheaper to maintain Suzuki DDIS is always better than VW . (Here , I didn't include Fiat as per point 1)
3. Now comes Safety aspect - VW, Ford had always maintained safety as their prime aspect in their products . But just see , the world's safest brand - Volvo , how it fairs among Merc, BMW,Audi - It really doesn't . What people look more is a package of everything.

I wrote this post quite spontaneously , if one needs clarification in any of my points I will try to explain .
 
Thread Starter #11
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"However, even with a reasonable sales chart of TML, it definitely needs to figure out solutions for the JLR. It incurring a huge loss because of JLR." as quoted by Akash1886. Akash bhai JLR is not is loss anymore. please check the current status. JLR is performing fairly well with fair amount of profit from past 4 years in a row.
 
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When we had to get a hatchback, we got the Tiago eyes closed. It fit our budget perfectly. I took my Tiago to Lucknow and back same day (1150 kms) and accompanying me was a friend's Baleno petrol. My petrol tiago gave total 19.5 kmpl and Baleno gave 21 kmpl but when my friend checked out my car, he said wow Tiago feels so nicely built.

I am ready to sacrifice 1-2 kmpl for safety. My purchase of tiago justifies that. Our other option was Ignis.
 
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