How you choose your car?

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Hi friends,

Of late, while discussing among friends & colleagues about which car to buy, I have come to conclusion that logic behind choosing a particular car varies from person to person. However what are the factors that our fellow members mostly take into account while determining a particular model? I wish to structure our thoughts so that a distinct pattern could be observed. I zeroed upon five main parameters which are vital from a prospective customers point of view.

Now, how much weightage our fellow members give to each of the following parameters:

1. External look & brand:

2. Interiors, feature & quality:

3. Performance:

Engine pick up, acceleration, ride & handling etc. (in short fun to drive factor)

4. Space & size:

Size means: do we like a bigger car with less feature or smaller car with full features (e.g. Dzire or i20)

5. Cost:

Initial cost, running cost, fuel economy, resale value etc.

Let us assign 100 points to each member which shall be distributed among these parameters in accordance with the weightage. Finally average of these weightage shall be plotted to give a clear picture. A graphical representation shall be made like this Chart


However in this chart equal weightage has been given to each parameters. Final chart will depict actual weightage.

Let me put my requirement & weightage:

1. External look & brand: : 30

2. Interiors, feature & quality:: 20

3. Performance:: 35

4. Space & size:: 05

5. Cost:: 10

Kindly chip in with your thoughts and weightage. Also if any other parameters to be included, then same may be discussed. Thanks.itssanguine2011-02-04 17:26:07

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I would first give priority to budget plus fuel option and car type.

Second would be brand. (not by premium factor but by sales in India)

Third would be performance and economy

Fourth would be safety and essentials

Fifth would be space

Sixth would be the last and is the looks

Providing percentages is not wise because in each section I would search for one with maximum of the credentials.

sb-alto2011-02-04 17:31:46

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I barely do 7500km per year on each of my cars.

I change my cars once every six to eight years

My wife only drives ATs.

To me reputation of manufacturer, quality of local service,  trouble free running are paramount.

Take last year I was looking to replace/upgrade my Accent. Se shortlisted Toyota & Honda. There was very little to choose between the Alits & Civic. Went for the latter due to better AT. Also, while Honda service is 10km, Toyota is 25+km from my home.

Next in line in about a year will be my Santro. Will love to see a Jazz AT, otherwise it is open season. Hope the Brio AT, Etios AT show up!

sgiitk2011-02-05 04:11:06

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We keep our each car maximum for 1 year. Buying a car can be a hectic decision as it may lead to several discussions between my brother , dad and me.

All have different choices.

For 2 of the cars out of 4 we look for diesel and comfort since they do the maximum run around. Then it comes down to performance and goodies. Service centers don't play an import role because our cars rarely leave Bombay.  Badges never play an important role at all.

The  other 2 cars will be luxuries so that is where i come in. Performance, comfort , gadgets and styling comes in here. We don't plan for any particular segment , a car is finalized after test driving it.

It is  always like you are looking for  a swift and end up buying a Laura

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I feel it works in order of cost & economy,   Space&size, look&brand, interior feature&qualty, performance is the order of preference ,the maintenance cost and parts cost will play vital role ,hence cars like Maruti ,Hyundai, Tata Are selling well , ex Audi service for every 10-12000kms costs you 40000 rupees ,imagine other parts costs ,Toyota cars dependable ,Honda collects premium on efficiency ,but does it benefit ?need to be calculated how long u are retaining car ? And number of kms ur running ,if u calculate the premium calculated justify ?

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@itssanguine: Real good topic, all of us can chip in. We(I'm) are a 'one' car family. My ride has to be 'ultra' reliable. My running is not that much so can live with an 'iffy' fuel efficiency. Service costs have to be as low as possible, Hyundai has spoilt me; safety features and gizmo's: car has to be loaded, all at a terrific price. Resale value: If I like the car very much, I can live with a low resale as I retain my car for at least 6 years. I don't intend changing my car, at present. (Just completed my EMI's Nov 2010.)

There's a good chance that my next car will also be a Hyundai. All of you will sneer, but I have a soft corner for Hyundai's D-segment 'under dogs' they come for a bargain and service costs compared to others is 'zilch', they are as reliable or even better than most brands.

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All that you mentioned depends upon the primary factors, isnt it? If the basic foundation is sound then the car will have all good in the long run.

Judging the car is the most critical factor. At present we have so much choice for every segment, that it is even more difficult. The major problem is with first time buyers.

I agree that Hyundai is the best small car manufacturer but still cannot understand why i10 sells less than new WagonR.

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I feel the preferences basically depends on budget and once you have budget in mind the preferences can be derived.

If budget is for VFM the preferences would be as below.

1. Cost : 30

2. Space & size:: 20

3. Interiors, feature & quality:: 20


4. Performance:: 15

5. External look & brand: : 15

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For me its reputation of brand, bang for buck and hassle free ownership. Bang for buck does not only mean featurewise, it also involves ownership costs and other misc expenses that need to be done on the car.

Cost obviously makes the first shortlist but if for a little more we can get better car, I feel its better to spend.

Case in point when we bought ANHC. Our initial budget was 8 lakhs and we had almost decided on SX4 but decided to go for ANHC, as it is more premium car, better quality feel, and most importantly the extra amount we paid would be given back to us by better resale and fuel efficiency.

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1. Interiors, feature & quality: (25) Quality plays a very important part when it comes to choosing a car. Hence our apprehensiveness to choose Fiat recently when we bought the ANHC.
2. Cost: (25) Regrettably this is one factor that has to be considered a prime factor in any decision. A big example is the conundrum I am in right now about buying my car. 
3. Performance: (25) I would anyday give performance a factor over external look and brand. Another reason we picked the ANHC over the Linea.

4. External look & brand: (15) If looks were given precedence we would again, have the Lineasmiley2.gif.
5. Space & size: (10) Its mostly 3 or less people in our cars so space and size are never really an important factor.

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For me it is like this.

External appearance:20.(like a beauty)

Brand :10 (let us not speak cast or religion)

Fuel economy and performance:20 (let it be worth)

Basic cost :10 (One has to pay)

Interior:20 (what of use if skin is white and heart is black)

space and size : 10(let us be cooperative)

Robust :10(safety that I like)



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If you ask me, all are important factors to buy a car.My weightage will be like this...

1. External look & brand: : 20

2. Interiors, feature & quality:: 20

3. Performance:: 20

4. Space & size:: 20

5. Cost:: 20


Most of the first time buyers will prefer to buy Maruti/Hyundai cars because of it's lower ownership cost in the industry and Service network.But after that people will look to other manufacturers.

External looks:-

I think this is one of the important factor to buy a car.Recently some of the manufacturers came with Love or hate designs like Swift,Ritz and second gen Honda city.Mostly manufacturers try to introduce cars with conventional design.

Interiors ,Features and Quality:

Here Honda and other premium cars will score more than Maruti and Hyundai. Most of the VFM cars will come with limited features and they will compromise in quality of interiors.

But Maruti and Hyundai has changed their strategy in recent years with the launch of i20,Ritz and Kizashi.Most of the buyers are preferred to buy higher end versions which will add nearly Rs. 800-1000 to their Emis.


In recent years companies are concentrating more on launching high performance diesel engines than petrol engines. CRDI engines in Verna,Scorpio,Laura,Vento are improving their fan base day by day.

In petrol engines,Maruti's K-Series engine and Hyundai's Kappa engine has helped manufacturers to improve their sales.

Space and Size:

If you ask me this is unavoidable factor while buying car.During purchasing my car i was looking for a car which will give more leg and headroom for hassle free driving.Here Ritz was standing tall with it's European characters.Later on Figo came with better space.German and other European cars score more here.


The reason for the sales boost of Swift ,Laura,Verna CRDI,Old Octavia RS,Ikon 1.6 etc.


VFM this is the Mantra of Indian car buyers. The reason for Failure of Honda Jazz which is getting only 300 owners/Month.

Indian car buyers prefer low ownership cost vehicles.As per the spare parts prices published in Autocar July 2010 edition ,BMW & Audi spare are more cheaper than Merc.

Even Ford motors recently reduced their spare prices drastically to get more customers for their cars.

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There are two kind of car buyers

1. The herd mentality/ VFM car buyers.

                  80% of Indian's are of this kind,they look for low initial cost,low      running cost,good resale value etc.Even good cars fail to sell in our market due to these factors.Performance,Quality or looks doesn't matter in the market.

2. People who don't care about the costs involved

               Most of these people buy expensive cars to show off their wealth but a 20% of them really love cars and driving the rest of them don't even drive.

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Your mentioning 80% of Indian following herd mentality is wrong. It is simply  mentality and not ' herd ' mentality.

FYI  ' Herd ' mentality  means "Herd mentality describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items" - ref : wikipedia. 

In India buying decision is not influenced but people wants maximum from their hard earned money they spent on car.

There is nothing wrong if one chooses VFM product and global car manufacturers such as Toyota, Ford and even Mercedes are considering to design specially "Made for India" cars .

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          Don't we all buy the cars that are popular in the market,to me resale value is a big deal so I bought a car which everyone else is buying but now I don't like that car now.I don't find an explanation for the low sales of Beat & Spark other than the 'Heard' mentality.or is it due to alleged 1or 2 km difference in fuel efficiency or the small rear window.i10 which is not a vfm or better car compared to others in it's segment like Figo diesel or the cheaper beat sells because of the 'Heard' mentality only.Only a few of us buys a Polo1.6 or Laura TSI.

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Thanks for your responses. Chart has been updated (Link in first post.)

@Crazy Doc does have a point regarding herd mentality. It has been reported that in India people believes more in ownership review of peers/word of mouth than expert review.

Also for majority of us, purchasing a car is a big decision and hence we want to play it safe. Rather than venturing into an unknown territory, we would like to go with a tried & tested (by peers,relatives, neighbors etc) product rather than the best available product.

A statement appeared in ACI (IIRC) that: 80% of car owner knows little about cars. Thats why word of mouth plays a big role. However many of times these words are unreliable & biased. I have heard many absurd opinion of many educated person/colleagues such as:

--Swift Diesel has a better engine than Ritz which in turn has a better petrol engine than Swift.

--Swift Dzire is the more efficient Swift.

Please note that above statements are not out of my imagination. They come from some well educated human beings.

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Pls go thought the tech spec of Swift ,Ritz and Dzire. All these cars having same engine (K12M) with same CC,BHP,Torque Etc. Power to Weight ration may slightly defer because Swift is lightest these cars and aerodynamic design is better than other two siblings.

Petrol Engine:(CC,BHP,Torque,Weight) LXI




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