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Missed opportunities!

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Indian Automobile market is growing at a very fast pace, per capita infiltration is low which can be further tapped by timely introducing models that are required. Many Auto companies in India missed the huge opportunities by simply mis-judging the scenario or had other plans in mind. They can simply repent or still take corrective measures & bounce back.

 

The story of HM is completely different its not riding the band-wagon altogether, talking of its missed chances will probably go on & on, lets leave it there.

 

There are other pro-active players like Maruti which resisted the introduction of diesel engines until late & when they finally woke up to the fact, success was history.

 

Honda for some reason(traditional Japanese mindset) also failed to bring up its diesel tech. & as a result has suffered significantly in sales. Honda could have brought in the diesel avatars of CRV & Accord & seen the numbers swell. Fortuners huge success should still be an eye-opener for Honda.

 

Mitsubishi established itself as a credible manufacturer with Lancer & Pajero but soon lost track & gave up all it had gained. Timely introduction of new models of Lancer, Pajero, a small car, diesel Outlander could have re-surrected its fortunes.

 

Most manufacturers have a story of failure but some have managed to take corrective steps & rise while others still continue to loose track. There are certain segments in the market that still lie untapped & have a huge potential for growth. The SUV, MUV & Jeep market is almost vacant & there's a huge scope for manufacturers to tap.

 

Like wise there are numerous stories of missed opportunities in the Indian Auto industry & shall be shared in this thread.

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The biggest missed opportunity was with VW when Govt had approached them 25 years earlier.  Had VW come to India then, I dont know what would have been the impact on both VW and India, but I am pretty sure VW rues that a lot.

Another group that missed was its child Skoda. It had created some serious image with its Octavia and Superb. The cars commanded respect and were received wonderfully. They strategised it nicely, and planned a hatch to become a numbers player, however they did not provide a proper engine, and neither any proper A.S.S, and highly priced. they lost their values. They still sell nicely above 10 lakhs but had they provided affordable A.S.S and priced it competitively they would have been someone who would have been in many hatch buyers lists now.

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Yes, VW missed it bigtime then. Skoda's story is well-known but I guess they haven't lost much due to the after sales debacle. Laura & Superb continue to perform above industry average but if Skoda does not rectify its image now, there's a fair chance of it receiving a sever beating as the competition hots up. Lets see how VW stays clears of Skoda's misdeeds.

 

Actually the Indian market has grown by leaps & bounds in the last decade or so. Most of the opportunities have been created in post 2000.

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European Manufacturers's common Mindset is that they always wish to command a premium price for their products and they fear they may loose their image if they price their products at affordable values.

This way they loose competitiveness inspite being experts in great design  & cutting edge manufacturing.
bossottoelango2010-05-16 08:42:01

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Even the Premier Auto Limited lost the plot after there very successful Padmini & Uno(though their plant was shut down hereafter).

In 2wheelers the LML who could not keep up with time & Kinetic whose gearless scooter was super success untill the Honda entered the same business. Though i feel it was a nice idea to sell whole business to Mahindra.

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Premier Automobiles was a lost cause. There has to be the basic attitude and desire to make cars in the first place. They never wanted to.

I believe daihatsu was also approached in the 80s by the Govt.

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Fiat had its miss but then realized its mistake in time & took corrective measures & all its efforts seem to have paid. Still its time to do more & improve further.

 

Premier Auto lost the will al-together long ago but Im surprised by their revival strategies viz the Rio.

 

On a different not, is Maruti missing out on Jeeps? Actually Jeeps cost more than a hatch/similar sedan to manufacturing & the selling price point can't be kept high. So, profit margins are restricted. Therefore, manufacturers are not interested in the segment. Interestingly the magic of numbers could well play in favor over here if the product is good(a la Nano).

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Although my post will seem off-topic, but I hope you agree with me.

The lancer petrol which is very old costs ~8 lakhs on road in bangalore and the diesel ~ 9 lakhs! Forget about features,it doesnt even have ABS or airbags as an option. And it has been a really really long time since HM did anything to revive it. They are selling them in double digits every month. And 8+ lakhs is too steep a price thats basically very old. If we remember,before the City arrived, Lancer ruled the roost. These two had tough competition between them.The difference is,Honda kept and updating it and brought on newer models and now they sell 4000 cars every month at 10 lakhs a piece,while Lancer has been struggling with double digit sale figures. Its really sad because the Lancer was a very good all rounder. You can barely see any on road these days. And the technology it has is IMO worst, I mean the engine has no damn refinement. You start the engine and you feel the vibration, the noise. I wish Mitsubishi was more sensible and would have revamped the Lancer around few years back so that it could still have a hold in the Indian market. I dont think the Mitsubishi has much respect left in the market.

Today, I dont think anyone would buy a Lancer. Having nothing at almost the price of a HONDA, why would anyone buy?

No AIRBAGS

No ABS

No Extended Warranty

No Engine Refinement

Low Mileage (todays diesels give ~20 kmpl, but Lancer ~16-17kmpl.

High Noise Penetration into the cabin

Outdated Design

No Automatic Climate Control

No Steering Mounted Controls

Basic Audio system

No height adjustment of seat

Low TOP-SPEED

No Turbo

0-100 kmph = 22.6 secs. HUH !!

13 Inch tyres.

Why ????

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@Cyrus Daihatsu is Toyota's brand. Might not be exactly missed opportunity but rather a delayed reaction.

 Another company who lost it was Peugeot. Had they been able to stay here

a little longer they would have reaped in great benefits. But their

partner PAL were just not interested. Their Hatches would have sold in

good nos. I assume.

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Want to cite cases of two Indian companies here:-

PAL: PAL and Fiat collaborated to make the Uno (came to the market in 1996) at its Kurla plant, which had thousands of bookings and a huge waiting list.The car later bombed saleswise when buyers realised they were buying something that was discontinued in Europe in the early 1990's.Fiat then wanted to modernise and get in their Palio which needed too much investment. PAL was starved of cash. It was then jointly decided that Fiat would infuse all the funds and PAL was caught napping when its equity held in the joint partnership was just minuscule. To compound matters a new company PAL Peugeot was formed with a new plant in Kalyan. The 118NE and 1.38D were produced alongwith the Peugeot 309 sometime in 1995 at Kalyan. The Peugeot 309 again bombed. Europeans always thought Indians were crazy of "Phoren" stuff and would patronise outdated models.The only plus point for the 309 was that it had sold very well in the African continent where road conditions are worse. PAL became cash starved and sold its Kurla plant to Fiat.The Euro norms made them stop production of the 118NE, 1.38D and the last produced Premier 137D (the PadminiS1 was also discontinued by 1996).The 137D was selling as taxis but that too stopped.

Mahindra:M&M are  much shrewd when it comes to marketing savvy and model introductions.Their first salvo was fired when they made the CJ500D in 1975 on the CJ4A platform/body.Petrol prices were up and up.M&M had the in house International tractor diesel engine. With some minor modifications and altered gear ratios, the very crude and rattling CJ 500D became a best seller.Their tie up with Peugeot for the 540DP and later XD3P engines to upgrade the Mahindra range of models was very well received.

A similar PAL like situation came in when it collaborated with Ford, UK, to make the Escort at the Nasik plant in 1996.The Escort got a good response and sold better than many other cars. Soon Ford tried to shoo away M&M by again talking of huge equity inflows from Europe, asking M&M to also up its investment in the joint venture with the view to modernise and also indigenise.Ford  had seen PAL running away and selling everything it had in Kurla to Fiat, thinking M&M will also follow suit. M&M in turn told Ford that it wanted to disinvest all its investment in the joint venture.Ford then fled from Nashik to set up its own plant near Chennai.

M&M's recent Renault story and acquisition of the rights to make and market the Logan in India again smacks of the vintage way in which it treats its collaborators when things don't click.

anjan_c20072010-05-16 17:32:17

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I think it's still not too late for Hyundai to usher in Kia with her product's, it must make an interesting entry...also latest ACI has a news item to that effect. People will have more choices in the lower, mid size and SUV/MUV option's. It may also help Hyundai/Kia reach Maruti's figure of 1 million unit's, that much faster with help of Kia. Kia with its funky hatchbacks must really set the segment afire.

Durango Dude2010-05-17 08:31:19

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