Can Commercial Segmenting Destroy a Car's Image?


Can Commercial Segmenting Destroy A Car’s Image?

  • No

    Votes: 9 50.0%
  • Yes

    Votes: 9 50.0%

  • Total voters
    18
  • Poll closed .
Thread Starter #1

Akash1886

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Buddies,

India is a country with the youngest average age of the car buyers and undoubtedly in today’s time there are plethora of car brands existing in India both Indian and International and both are equally popular among the buyers. Indian car buyer’s mind majorly decides upon 2 aspects i.e Brand Image and Perception about the car which I feel is at times biased to some extent. With rise in purchasing power and increase in resources, today car buying is one of the simplest thing for the class who can afford it.

However, on roads in India today we often see high end luxury cars like Jaguar, BMW, Benz et al in commercial numbers along with the regulars like Dzire, Honda City, Logan, Indigo, Etios etc. So based on this observation, I would put forward a humble question to discuss, i.e In reality, does having popularity in Indian commercial segment impact a car’s image and future re-sale of the car? Why some people hesitate to buy a car that has got a “commercial image” at large for their personal use?

Looking forward for a good and insightful discussion by all of you on the above topic.

Regards

Akash
 
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Re: Can Commercial Segmenting Destroy A Car’s Image?

Unfortunately cars are mostly bought with more importance given to what the neighbours will think rather than what I need as long as this vain attitude continues people will continue to make skewed choices.
 
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This is a very unfortunate sight but it's true none the less.
The best example of such a thing has happened with Tata Indica and Mahindra Logan.
The first thing that comes to mind when one says Indica is a white cab yellow board seen in abundance near every Techpark, I can say Bangalore atleast is flooded with it.

In such a situation, when I go for buying a vehicle, a small car for that matter, the first thing is Indica nahi yaar (means, a strict No for Indica), purely because the car has been branded in such a way and also perceived in a similar manner, that even the upgraded versions as the Vista is perceived as a cab vehicle. (Don't get me wrong, not my personal opinion, I love the Indica Vista Quadrajet, the interiors in the high end versions feel nothing like a cab)

So, this being a general perception, it does affect the re-sale and in turn it affects the prospective customer.
After all people do think of re-sale as well while considering a vehicle.
This is one factor which affects the sale of commercially imaged vehicles as Indica, Logan, Verito,etc.
 
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I would say both yes and no depending on how the car is positioned.

Yes: Best example as quoted earlier, TATA Indica/Indigo, Mahindra Logan/Xylo. On top of having boring designs, the cause was not supported by A.S.S and quality of the cars. TATA Venture has suffered the most because if this. I has neither picked up as commercial taxi, nor is a competent car for private owners to consider.
On the other hand, Toyota Innova finds private and commercial owners because of Toyota's reputation by offering a hazzle free ownership, good A.S.S, reliable and quality cars.
Dzire backed by Maruti's excellent VFM tag, A.S.S, affordability appeals for both private and commercial segments. Maruti posioned the Dzire Tour as Taxi after discontinuing > 4 mts dezire and introduced a sub 4 Mts CS, thus differentiating the products.

Moreover, if the cars are reliable and practical, then taxi image would not affect the car's image. So as D.J.D. has quoted, it is the car itself
 
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Thread Starter #6

Akash1886

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Friends,

I feel, at times the mindset of many buyers becomes stubborn and no matter how good a car can be with latest techniques but they are least bothered. I have the 1st hand experience of TATA dealership in Delhi in which I had just casually asked a new buyer about BOLT last month, he bluntly said, basic framework resembles to Vista and Indica and no matter what, it would end up in fleet. This is one perception which I observed.

Next Perception is totally opposite, Maruti Esteem, as you all know is one reliable car and I say this with practical experience over the years. Now, this car has attracted both commercial and personal buyers. Esteem is still present in cab fleet as well as personally too. The reason why people are retaining this car is reliability and service. Also, in the market the re-sale of a Esteem is still very decent.

Also, What I feel is that fleet owners are demanded by clients to provide sedan / ultra luxury sedans so probably now is the time that one shouldn't discriminate a car based on segmentation.

Regards

Akash
 
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To be frank, the taxi-image cannot destroy a car's image. It is the car itself that can destroy its image. I don't think any car is designed or manufactured with the intention of selling it as a cab. Only the failure of as a private car will prompt the manufacturer to sell them to fleet operators. This is my view on this topic.

We have so many examples for this - Innova, Dzire (not only the Dzire Tour, nowadays we can see a lot of sub 4m Dzire also as cabs), Santro, Ertiga, Ambassador, Premier Padmini are cars that has seen immense success as private cars and as taxi cars. Innova is an excellent car with supreme reliability and has excellent ride and space. Dzire and Santro are excellent VFM cars. Ertiga is getting popular with Yellow board, but is not preventing the sales to private owners who want an occasional 7 seater which is VFM and has car like drivability. These are basically very good cars and hence are successful in all segments.

Now, the cars that has seen big successes as cabs but not as private cars - Indica, Indigo, Logan / Verito, Etios (to an extent). Indica had a separate 'Indicab' badge for the fleet market initially, then what made Tata leave that badge and sell Indicas and Indigos to the fleet? Basically the failure of the car in the private space. Indica had poor quality interiors and had no desirability factor at all. Same with Logan and Etios which looked a generation old right even when it was launched. The sub-par interiors did not do any good especially in the C-segment where people expect good interiors and feature set. Basically these were cars that were destined to fail in private space but had good VFM + low maintenance + decent reliability + good VFM + goof space which are of primary importance in the cab segment. Hence they were successful as cabs.
 
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Now, the cars that has seen big successes as cabs but not as private cars - Indica, Indigo, Logan / Verito, Etios (to an extent). Indica had a separate 'Indicab' badge for the fleet market initially, then what made Tata leave that badge and sell Indicas and Indigos to the fleet? Basically the failure of the car in the private space. Indica had poor quality interiors and had no desirability factor at all. Same with Logan and Etios which looked a generation old right even when it was launched. The sub-par interiors did not do any good especially in the C-segment where people expect good interiors and feature set. Basically these were cars that were destined to fail in private space but had good VFM + low maintenance + decent reliability + good VFM + goof space which are of primary importance in the cab segment. Hence they were successful as cabs.
Well, to add to that, as Akash has also reiterated, the newer models like Bolt and Vista Quadrajet are also being perceived to be the same, purely because the basic car structure has remained same, and the perception people have of the Indica v2 or Indicab has continued. Yes, I agree it depends on the car, and people having experience of travelling in an Indica feel reluctant to even think of keeping Bolt and Vista as an option. I saw the Bolt and Zest on show near my office premises at a food court, and one of the guys literally inquired if they'll release it to the fleet or not.

On the other hand, cars like Innova and Dzire are a class apart, as they were successful with the private buyers, and that demand and success has translated it's popularity with the fleet owners as well, because mostly people opt for these vehicles as taxi because of it's comfort and looks. Indica on the other hand I'd choose, when I want to save money while travelling, because they give the barebone requirements for the fleet owners and travellers alike i.e. Value for money and basic comfort.
 
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Taxi image does not affect to me personally, but when I was in market to buy new car almost every friendly "Auto Expert" advised me to refrain from Vista just because taxi image, in-fact it was never on my list not because of image but centrally mounted console [anger].
I've seen all luxury cars running as taxi in different countries, to name a few :-
1, Merc, Skoda, Ford in Europe.
2, corollas in Thailand.
3, Hummers in desert safari at Dubai.
4, BMW & Honda as hotel cabs in China etc..
Now it leaves no brand to buy for me if I wish to stay away from taxi brands?
 

vijay

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Tata motors are the ones who have suffered till now tobe able to take away their taxi branding image with their products.
We can see maruti products, honda, toyota, mahindra but the image what tata motors got for their indica's age still continues to affect their newer products as well.
On this continuation another car that followed this image is mahindra Logan now Verito.
 

TSIVipul

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As already mentioned by many, it's the car itself that destroys a car's image.

There are some tick boxes those a car needs to tick to be a successful taxi, those are:
  • Space and comfort - at times they need to travel really long.
  • Reliable mechanicals - you never find a service center everywhere after all.
  • Low running and maintenance costs - they translate into savings after all.
  • Abuse friendly nature - no explanation needed.

Why do Tata cars suffer then? Simple, because neither they are perfect as taxis nor they are perfect as personal vehicles. They don't appeal much to any of the two. it's only the low purchasing price of the cars which has put Indica in the segment - to be very precise, else whichever operator can afford to pay 6-7 lac, he/she gets a Toyota or DZire for the purpose.

Compare a Grande(Now they call it Movus[sleep]) to Innova and a Vista to Liva and one will easily understand where the difference lies.

Every car can't be a taxi, an Ertiga can never be a proper 7 seater taxi and similarly a City can't replace a Corolla in long run. BTW, I spotted a couple of Ciaz too ferrying executives for a company and I guess it will work well as a premium taxi - it ticks all the right boxes.

IMO, being hugely successful in both commercial and personal vehicle market proves that the vehicle is actually worth of putting your money on. There are many examples of such cars which one can spot parked in the taxi lanes/parkings as well as adding to the pride of houses, what's common in both the cases is the satisfied owner. To name a few:
  • Toyota Innova
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Mahindra Bolero
  • Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
  • Maruti Suzuki DZire
  • Honda City
  • Ford Fiesta Classic

And I am proud to own two cars from this list and none of them has ever let me down,[clap] in fact I can swear on them and can rely on them for overnight journeys(all alone) irrespective of the road condition and the kilometers on their odo.

Note: I have mentioned only those cars which enjoy a good reputation in both personal as well as commercial market and can be spotted these days ferrying both type of customers.
 
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