Automobile recalls in Indian Market

May 2013: Updated  with the new Nissan Micra & Sunny recall data.

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Aug 2012: The recent and much covered recall of the Ford Figo, sparked a lunch debate  – which is the most re-called brand of car manufacturers?

We did some quick Googling and here’s what we could find out:

Manufacturer Brand Year/Month Issue # of Units
Nissan Micra/Sunny 2013/May Brake System 21,000+
Ford Figo 2012/Aug Steering & Suspension 120,000+
Maruti Swift 2012/May Petrol Leakage 100,000+
Toyota Etios/Liva 2011/Dec Faulty fuel inlet pipe 40,000
Honda City Sedan 2011/Sep Power Windows 71,000
Maruti Swift Dezire Diesel 2011/Apr Connecting Rod Bolt 13,000
Honda City Sedan 2011/Feb Valve Train Component 58,000
Fiat Punto 2010/Nov Faulty AC
Maruti A Star 2010/Feb Fuel Tank 100,000+
Honda City Sedan 2010/Jan Power Window Switch 8,000

Ford Figo. (09/23/09)
Disclaimers from our Googlers:

  • Does not include Global re-calls where Indian market was un-affected
  • Maruti recall numbers are way higher than the true impact on domestic market as some of these were global recalls.

So which is the most recalled brand? Maruti/Honda/Ford 🙂

Going the last mile in integrated advertising

Just came back from a Mahindra showroom here in NOIDA. Its a mess out there with the much hyped launch of XUV 500. There were almost 6 guys trying to check out each of the 3 pieces of this new toy that Mahindra claims will put them in a truely global league.

XUV 500And looking at how things were being managed there, I was thinking about all the debates that keep happening about spends on Digital media Vs traditional ones. Unfortunately, even my friends from the digital world are more concerned about spends on advertising, not on making the customer experience superior. No one is managing the moment-of-truth.

Here’s what happened:

  • We could barely manage to see the interiors of one version of the vehicle
  • The staff was overwhelmed with the customers within the showroom, they just couldnt give you enough time to answer your queries
  • One bloke had an Acer tab on and was happy to show us the features, when we asked for a brochure. They also had a wall mounted touch-screen display operated my another chap
  • Test drives had a queue and one had to leave his/her number at the dealer to get a chance behind the wheels
  • No idea/clue on delivery dates. I really appreciated the frankness with which the customer expectation on this critical parameter was managed
  • Booking amount was very clearly communicated. Its Rs 40K, but you could do a token Rs10K and deposit the other 30K in 2-3 days. Smart move looking at the popular response.

I saw a huge missed opportunity here, esp in terms of leveraging the digital channels to stay connected with the customers.

  1. If only the chap with the tablet had asked for my email id and at the click of a button sent me a ebrochure. I might even have liked the Facebook page button on it 🙂
  2. They could have checked with me on test drive and done the same. Many like me didnt leave the mobile number. Its only SMS that TRAI has managed to stop as of now
  3. If I was on their email list, so many more things could have happened- sending me updates on delivery dates, early positive responses from customers etc etc.

I feel that in a dealer led model, the parent brand/company needs to bring the digital tools right at the dealers showroom and manage the conversation from there on. Its only then that we would have leveraged the true power of customized communication. Other wise its just ads and Facebook pages that will keep happening.

I hope some of the ad agencies are listening to this and would build this in, in their next pitch.

Ambassador push-starting a Santro

AmbassadorYday while driving to work, I witnessed a not-so-uncommon scene, a hassled guy trying to push his car since the battery had conked off in the Delhi winter. But what was uncommon, was how he finally got his Santro started !
And while many zipped past this old economy metal monster pushing the “smart people’s” car, I was quite amazed by this scene, as it said a lot- depending on what you wanted to hear.

Leave aside the sturdiness of Ambies & weather challenged ignition coils from Hyundai, I felt as if the Amby owner was the only one not in a hurry- to stop & help. Does this mean that the wheels you own are an extension of who you are, or just that the Amby owner is used to doing things at a leisurely pace 🙂

TATA’s Nano- A Streetcar named Desire

Never before has there been more frenzy in the strongIndian Automobile industry/strong- and understandably so. Never before was there a car with a tag of $ 2500. TATA’s have done it !

NanoAnd the pride that the nation feels is best captured by the fact that even my grandma knew about the Nano- though she thought the name was “Naina” the reporter got it wrong !

Some one asked me whats the BIG deal about Nano- apart from the fact that its the “cheapest” car around. There are so many other models just launched by probably better established players. The answer lies in the fact that probably this will be the only launch this year- which will add to the demand in the market. The others variants have just given more options to the same set of car buyers, but the Nano- will open whole new segments in the car market.

– ET/Crisil says that Nano corresponds to a 65% increase in # of households that can afford a car

– Autorickshaws want to migrate to Nano- Is that why Bajaj motors is reacting the way it is. Will govt allow the 3 wheeler license to hold good for Nano also?

– Second hand car sales had already started slipping when TATA’s had announced that their 1 Lakh car was soon to be launched. Will this mean that you should have sold your Santro a few months ago?

– Will the biking segment(currently estimated at 50 million) upgrade themselves to Nano- if yes- this could be the growth engine for Indian Auto industry.

– And amongst all this domestic excitement, lets not forget the global footprint that TATAs TATA Motors has. The fact that NANO corresponds to all Intl safety/eco norms gives early indicators of the export-driven-growth plans at TATA Motors.

The next few months will be interesting to see how this pans out …