Indian car buyers struggling with issues on brand new cars

Manufacturers seem to remain silent unless affected customers start calling them out on social media platforms.

BHPian shancz recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The topic has been bugging me for some time now, the state of the Indian Car Buyer (referred to as ICB henceforth).

Background:

With the advent of so many cars and makers, the ICB should be resoundingly happy, but why doesn’t it seem so?

Our various threads and posts reflect the reality of the ICB in honest detail. Something which is missed by all reviewers, established or amateurs alike, on all other channels. Their ownership reports are pointless since their vehicles are provided by the manufacturers themselves. And which SC would provide a bad experience to the company’s long term fleet car

When was the last time any “long term review” mentioned flaws like the ICB has faced/is facing?

The ICB’s purchase experiences are captured very well in our What Car section.

Ownership:

Recent and not so recent issues have been reported on almost all manufacturers with varying degrees of severity.

But what is common across all and what makes the issues either manageable or infuriating is :

  • workshop behaviour
  • competency
  • manufacturer’s oversight

These days a lot of issues seem to be denied altogether and if accepted but unable to resolve by the SC, there is radio silence from the manufacturer on this.

That is unless someone starts calling out/shaming the manufacturers on social media impacting brand image and sales.

This invokes some questions:

Is social media existence a prerequisite for car ownership?

ICBs who don’t exist on social media and can’t/don’t want to impact/tarnish the company’s “image” don’t matter as much as someone doing the opposite?

Question for fellow BHPian:

What do you think about these questions and the situation of the ICB in general?

Note: Have intentionally stayed away from naming any manufacturers to avoid getting sidetracked.

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

Want my advice?

  1. NEVER buy a fresh new model in the first year of production. Wait for 1 – 2 years. In fact, I usually buy cars from even later model years (C220 was after 5 years of model production but the fresh C180 was problematic, Civic was 4 years, 5-Series was ~4 years, Superb was 5 years). The more you wait for the model to mature, the better its reliability will be. Wait for the carmaker to sort out issues. Manufacturers can do all the testing they want, but the real testing only happens with real-world diverse ownership experiences. No OEM can simulate actual ownership & driving conditions. All manufacturers suffer teething issues – we saw it with the mighty Toyota Innova too. Anyone who is buying a 2021 XUV700 laden with complex electronics = all I can say is, “my best wishes” to you, and “thank you” for volunteering as a beta tester for the rest of us. Ditto for all the new Skoda Kushaq owners who are having nightmares of their own.
  2. Even after the model has been in production, be sure to read ownership reviews on Team-BHP. E.g. the Harrier has been around for 2+ years now, but it’s still far from niggle-free (ditto for the Safari). On the other hand, there are several ownership reports of car models that have been delivering excellent reliability. Invest some time in research; every hour you spend reading ownership reports could save you 10 (hours) in the longer run.

Here’s what BHPian iamahunter had to say on the matter:

I have an idea, should not be very difficult to implement as well, but surely involves the Central/State government.

Its like this:

So whenever a new car is supposed to be launched, the manufacturer hand over a finite number of vehicle specimens to the state/central government.

These can be used over different divisions such as police patrolling, Officer/minister duty, army duties(not where it’s critical), taxi fleet etc.

The fleet can be used parallelly or serially over time.

With the way the authorities treat their cars, currently involving Bolero/Ertigas/Sumo etc.. manufacturers would sure find way more bugs in 6 months than in customers’ year of usage.

Gadgets to paint quality to the vehicle strength would be tested thoroughly.

This is just my thought. Of course, there will be costs involved in all this, which I have conveniently ignored to focus on the newly launched car experience.

Here’s what BHPian giri1.8 had to say on the matter:

My bitter experience was only with one of our Desi brand’s cars, for most issues the A.S.S’s only response was “This is common in all the cars of this model”. There was another customer with an ABS warning light, their response was the same and asked the customer to change the sensor and pay for it.

It was clear that they will never give me a trouble-free car no matter how much I try. I took around 35% depreciation hit for my 1.5 years and 22k KM run.

Here’s what BHPian fhdowntheline had to say on the matter:

I agree and disagree overall with the proposition of waiting for things to improve with car models. Agree because it would be appropriate for good models from manufacturers with a problematic past. But models with an established pedigree? If we have to wait for these, there is something systemically wrong with the auto industry in India. Manufacturers supposedly invest so much in getting things right in their ecosystem, and they surely know that making and selling a car is not a neighbourhood cake shop business. So expecting high levels of reliability is but natural as a consumer.

Perhaps standardizing, digitizing and publishing Maintenence & (by implication), reliability data through an independent agency ( not paid survey agencies) may help.

Manufacturers must be made to report Initial and Long term reliability reports which include the downtime for each car owing to non-accident maintenance. Of course, it must be de-personalized for consumer privacy.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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