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Discussion in 'Fiat India News' started by amogh, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. asimpleson

    asimpleson Esperto

    Linea 1.3
    Prabhjot 'We' or the major section of masses if you will, cannot distinguish this very difference I agree. They do not afford to or would rather not buy a heavier yet bit 'expensive' car is another story. Also then what exactly is 'necessarily heavy'? How much is good enough if we are to quantify this. The point was not about how much Renault charges for Duster. Although subjective is some sense, it is not argued much whether it should be priced lower than the current offering price. Certainly a good no. of buyers don't seem to mind it at all.

    If we talk purely about safety and crumpling of sections and shock absorption factors, how can we be so sure that Renault engineers did not cut it in terms of design and choice of materials esp. for the Duster.

    The following articles mention in simplified manner to an extent about the factors involved including the basic physics of it. And it is NOT always so much about sheet metal alone (no matter how extra strength it could provide) but a lot about how forces are transferred or delayed esp. in the "RIGID CABS" part of the vehicle. And by extension of safety it is also argued in some reports that to some extent "unnecessarily big" and "heavy" by frame or metal vehicles cause more damage to other vehicles and occupants than should be at a specific speed. Although longer and heavier cars fare better esp. in frontal impacts. In side impacts those extra-strong well designed doors and sections and heavier doors will help and can mean the difference between that serious and critical injury. And what about side airbags? Because our market just seems to have graduated (though less acknowledged and not applauded) to dual airbags a standard thing by VW. A much welcome step by a manufacturer.



    Dr. Fixated and prabhjot like this.
  2. prabhjot

    prabhjot Esperto

    delhi ncr

    The point isn't that either safety or the very important but neglected aspect of REPAIR-ability at reasonable cost is ONLY a function of either weight or sheet metal alloy quality/thickness/guage.

    Of course not, it goes beyond that: chassis member design and materials and rigidity, crumple zone design and materials, etc.

    BUT in our market we have neither formal-legal, nor formal-by-individual-company nor informal-by-market-culture standards shared by BOTH car makers, component suppliers and consumers/customers.

    And so here companies like Maruti, Hyundai and Honda (but NOT Toyota or Tata or Ford let alone fiat which is exemplary) get away with murder when it comes to, under the guise of 'weight-reduction/fuel efficiency/"trust our crumple zones", component qualitydurability/tolerances, from sheet metal and bumpers to suspension pieces, alloy or steel wheels, even glass, thermal plastic engine bits, engine components.

    We had a component supplier to maruti (one of the originals from the early days, now a VERY VERY wealthy and big family firm, still tightly bound to Maruti, they live in a bit of a mansion elsewhere now of course!) as our neighbour. I used to teach and counsel his sons, who have now joined their big business.

    I spoke about the cost cutting, 'weight reduction', quality/durability/reliability trade-off practices of Suzuki and Hyundai as opposed to even Tata and Ford with their father and grandfather, the firm's founder, several times. Japanese v/s Europeans, etc. This was what 5/6-years ago. Their sons still meetup occasionally, and we discuss what they're upto in terms of growth esp component exports, and esp Maruti Suzuki and its politics (in the context of labour relations, supplier vendor relations etc). I ask and give stock marketing investment ideas, eg., in autocomp firms.

    They don't have nice revelations to make at all, about how Maruti, Honda and Hyundai (but NOT Toyota) go about specifying, costing and then cost and quality trimming/trading-off of components. Even though they've personally made tons of money riding their coat-tails. They have good things to say about Ford and Chevy and Tata and Fiat. Am talking about the dad and the grand-dad, who are very knowing folk.

    At least the Duster, then, IS offered more or less in the same enginerring-spec in markets that DO have such strong govt, car-firm/brand, and market-cultural STANDARDS. i.e., In Western and Southern Europe.

    Now, even there it is a car known for a mediocre crash safety standard, and light-lowcost-build-quality, and for having cut-price but super-tough/reliable componentry. i.e., for being a great but very budget-car i.e., a Dacia.

    How then can we accept that that same build quality (talking metal and engineering here, not dashboard plastics, seat fabrics etc) of a car that sells only slightly more than the cost of a Punto hatch in Europe, sells for 5 lakhs more than it in India?

    But the Duster at least still adheres to some KNOWN standards i.e., the basic, budget-car ones for Europe. Which are way higher tha our own, even C2 sedan standards if Honda is the benchmark here (the City).

    What standards, widely known and shared by component manufacturers, car industry bodies, the govt, and of course customers do Maruti, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai adhere to, in a testable, and even remotely proven way? In India, none.

    Most of the evidence, based on whatever research and reading I've done on the topic for stock-investment purposes points to: systematically "lighter", lower-spec, lower-tolerance components i.e., low cost/cost-pruned that retail for higher prices/mark-ups at their service centres, that are not offered in the aftermarket easily or openly, that are constantly being whittled down in quality-cost-weight trade-offs in their quest for Japanese "constant improvement". Bought from suppliers in India, though usually from their home country (except Maruti), AT VERY VERY aggressively thin margins (in exchange for long term, high volume constrcts).

    We just do NOT appreciate the difference in ETHICS and basic brand-identity and therefore quality and safety between the Japanese and the Korean and the EuroAmerican firms+Tata, when it comes to engineering, components, spare parts quality, tolerance-redundancy levels, and in the end: WEIGHT!

    Unless you use high-end super-expensive polymers, alloys and composites you simply CANNOT have high-quality engineering/mechanical components in cars as light and flimsy as India's Suzuki-s, Hyundai, Honda-s, Nissan-s and Toyota-s (Liva/Etios)

    We take our Fiat's sturdier, heftier build of nearly every component from the glass to the door pads to the nvh cladding, the struts and shockers, to sheet metal to bumpers, to crash-members, high-tolerance engine componentry, etc for granted, sometimes not always appreciating that we are getting so much more for less, while the dominant firms and models offer far less for more!

    Similar things can be said for Ford and Tata, though not Renault-Nissan, who have a very very India-is-third-world-market approach here, imo.

    That's what happens when so-called reliability and ASS 'peace of mind' and resale value trump all else.

    That wealthy Maruti component supplier business family I mentioned ONLY drive Marutis: evry joint family member seems to have one!. What's even funnier is that they are all Balenos or Baleno Altura-s or SX4-s. Their joke is that, they of all people know that the quality on all the Swifts etc are dismal. And they know why! Because they are light, you might say!

    i.e., The new Honda City is vastly worse than the OHC, just like the Ciaz is surely far worse than the Baleno, and so on.

    And yet Maruti and Hyundai's margins-per-car in India are unheard-of anywhere in the mass market world: on average, in the same range as Mercedes, Audi et al, 10-12%!

    That what the quest for 'lightness' achieves, at Indian market price points!
    --- Double Post Merged, Apr 17, 2015, Original Post Date: Apr 17, 2015 ---

    Toyota, the inventor of The Toyota way, and via colossal scale economies and a weak yen also enjoys global margins in that region, but in India they have to price the Innova and Fortuner exorbitantly to achieve the same result that Maruti, Honda and Hyundai achieve on sub-10 lakh rupee cars.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  3. jumu

    jumu Superiore

  4. Saket Sidana

    Saket Sidana Regolare

    Delhi NCR
    Linea T-Jet
    Well, I differ a bit on Toyota standpoint from @prabhjot. I had a chance ydy to sit next to driving seat in the new corolla altis. The build quality didn't seem too good at the price point. It appeared lighter, diesel was noisy and it wasn't as pliant over bad roads as a linea is. So toyota is getting this lighter thing on their more expensive offerings. I was expecting a much better ride but was disappointed. Once people start appreciating the safety aspects, only then they would move to vw, fiat, etc. Till then, "kitna deti hai attitude" will continue to rule the roost. Sad it is.
    prabhjot and Dr. Fixated like this.
  5. puntophile

    puntophile Amatore

    Indirapuram NCR
    Spot on: and the usual response for defending their shortcomings "we are totally in line with the law of the land bla bla" which must be read as "we know all loopholes and we will fool the herd with all our might, and even sell them lemons guised as oranges, and yes, we exploit your ignorance to the fullest"

    Everything said: an innocent question does the new evo door thud the same like in the outgoing version? I felt the "thuddiness" a wee bit "different" ??

    While I have a metallurgist as a sala, I bored him with questions related to this thread. He says thin sheet metal is not always synonymous with lack of strength, and high tensile steel again, may not be the epitome of engineering, even for low cost cars. So what does the aam car owner make out of all this info? Zilch...it is drive safe, and pray you don't get rear ended, head onned or side swiped or whatever. We (don't) believe ARAI mileage, why (not) believe NCAPs? Sorry I am as naive...
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  6. Dr. Fixated

    Dr. Fixated Novizio

    Linea 1.3
    Talking about thin metals; when I experienced rain for the first time while being seated in the Maruti Celerio that I drive, for a moment I thought it was a hail storm or something. But I hope Maruti Ciaz with all of its "high tensile steel" wouldn't make rain sound like a hail storm.

    Metal thickness and weight might not be the only factor that drives overall safety and would depend a lot on metallurgy and physics. For example, in Samurai sword making, they use carbon and iron efficiently to prepare a durable core and the edges sharp etc. The same quantity of iron without carbon would be fickle and worth nothing. Correct me if I'm wrong, they say SUVs with monocoque chassis are safer than SUVs with Ladder Frame even though the latter are heavier. However, at least with FIAT, there is some comfort to be derived in knowing that you got more metal for the same amount of money. That thud sound when you close the door is reassuring in a way. It even takes considerable effort to open the boot with one hand.
  7. prabhjot

    prabhjot Esperto

    delhi ncr
    @Saket Sidana

    I agree to what you're saying, entirely: it is a notably inferior car to the Linea and the Fluence, nevermind the Skoda Octavia, Ford Focus, Fiat/Dodge Viaggio/Dart etc.

    BUT: the Toyota brand is, with some justification, an ethical brand/firm. When they say 'reliability, quality, durability' and top-notch dealers and service, they mean it, and they live it. They deliver what they promise to, no more no less, even if they feel free to overcharge as well for these rare priveleges. It is not for nothing people everywhere (outside of Europe) swear by Toyota-s.

    Unlike Hyundai, Maruti Suzuki and Honda, or even Nissan-Renault and VW for that matter (in India).

    Honda's global ceo has just been sacked for over-aggressive cost-cutting, dropped standards of components/vendors, poor design decisions, poor quality new models, and for falling-behind technologically.

    btw, even the etios/liva have excellent engineering, good ride-handling-braking, and going by what taxi drivers say...fantastic quality, service and reliability, despite appearances, and despite the VERY heavy and difficult use they're put to by them. Of course, the corolory is that they've had to really cut-corners with design, plastics, equipment, nvh, sheet metal etc...in order to meet the price targets this market insists on, decided more or less by Maruti and Hyundai between them, and given their 10%+ MINIMUM profit margins (all over the world).

    The point being that Toyota will simply NOT compromise on its core brand identity/ethics/promise, while Maruti, Honda and Hyundai in India have the privelege in India of doing pretty much as they please, as far as engineering and safety and durability/tolerances/redundancy etc of components and modules and sub-systems, and their integration are concerned. And Nissan, though arguably not Renault, and VW are no saints either, of course.

    And that leaves who, then, left standing in these terms esp when one also considers prices? Tata, Ford, Renault possibly,... and Fiat of course!

    So, imo: Brand ethics, commitments and identity are deeply burdensome to these firms, in this market, even if the market were very open to them, which it is NOT, for the most part. Which is why an export-centric bias AWAY from India (mostly) is being adopted by even Fiat (we'll see in the next year-or-two) and VW let alone Ford and Renault, who pioneered that strategy?
  8. bibin

    bibin Regolare

    Passenger car segment as per the MP.

    EVEN with only 2 products in its stable, Fiat has been able to hold on in 2014 -15

  9. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Nothing to be happy about actually. Its 4 cars now. You missed Avvy and Classic. From 25 k during Tata tie up times to 10 k now. Fiat has lost market share every year. We as Fiat fans/lover should be worried not happy.
    dadasaheb likes this.
  10. acechip

    acechip Superiore

    not far from Ranjangaon
    Hold on as compared to what ? Force Motors, Hindustan Motors, Ashok Leyland ? They have been around in the car market much before Nissan, VW, Renault, Skoda. And have been peddling 2 models and their allied variants (a castrated Linea Classic is hardly an independent product) since 2009. Thats ridiculous. It shows lack of interest from the parent company, thats all.
    Raj_pol and dadasaheb like this.

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