Focus on Small Cities, Service and Spares Improved Tata Motors Nano Sales

Last year, there were incidents of Nano car catching fire. Many who had booked the car in April 2009 lost patience and cancelled their bookings. Word-of-mouth publicity, which can make or break any new product in India, did not favour the Nano.

The numbers have recovered gradually. In the whole of 2011, Tata Motors sold 70,432 Nanos, way below the Indigo (87,925) and the Indica (97,845).

What the company didn’t realise was that the market for the Nano could be small towns and villages. The challenge was to reach the car to these markets. Tata Motors has, thus, set up Nano access points through its dealers. Tata Motors needs to provide buyers inexpensive spares and convenient service options. Exclusive dealership for Nano made spares and service easily available to the buyers.

The Nano is no longer the Rs 1-lakh car it was supposed to be, though it is still the cheapest thing on four wheels. For prospective buyers, it’s still a deeply thought out decision. To bring down the cost of ownership, Tata Motors has introduced warranty of four years on parts. It has, at times, also thrown in freebies like Tanishq gift vouchers and accessories with the car.


Who is the best, Independent car workshop or car dealer?

Globally car manufacturer has setup car dealers to provide car service during warranty period to all new cars. Getting extended warranty is easily possible depending upon the condition of car. You have no choice but visiting car dealer ensures car service as per car manufacturer standard guidelines. Not all car dealers are the best as quality service varies depending upon the skilled labour and processes.

After warranty expire, car servicing bill raises and mostly prefer visiting independent car workshop to reduce their bill. Even if you visit to nearest car workshop during warranty, you do need to be sure that nothing is done to the car that expressly voids the warranty. Some warranties, for instance, may prohibit specific cosmetic changes.

Few days back I visited to Sai Service, Maruti dealer in Mumbai. They claim retaining 45% customers even after warranty. These customers are more of quality conscious and believe in paying more for quality. Since the demand of car servicing is increasing and dealers are out of capacity to serve them all. For instance, if a car dealer is selling 250 cars in a month, they all coming back in the next 3-6 months, they have no capacity to serve them all. Car owners have to wait for their car service bookings. It is obvious, customer satisfaction at car dealers also gets affected.

As per survey 60% car owners visit to local car workshop after warranty got expired. Every car owner wants to save on car servicing bill. Choosing good independent car workshop is another challenge.

There are corporate like Bosch Car Service is trying making independent workshops organized by providing them authorization. Bosch has a network of over 260 car service stations in India. Carnation, MyTVS and Mahindra First Choice Services are building their car workshops to organize servicing industry at par with dealers.

So how do you decide? Dealer or independent? Not surprisingly, the answer to some extent depends on whom you ask.

Car owners who prefer going car dealer say …“I’m a firm believer that you should return to the dealership. Parts are installed by rigorously trained technicians. Nobody knows the car better than these technicians”
Even they acknowledge that the initial labor costs were often higher than independents because of steeper overhead, but argued that the dealers’ greater expertise and state-of-the art equipment meant the repairs would go faster — and in the end cost less.


Mobile auto repairs, a new trend globally

When your car stops working while driving on a busy highway, the motorist is left at the mercy of unknown strangers. There is new trend of mobile auto repairs to save stranded motorists globally.

Repairing costs have increased in auto repair centres because of their infrastructure. Car service centres are becoming costlier for minor repairs. Car owners still waste the whole day parking vehicle at car dealers for minor running repairs. Mobile repair can serve at their doorstep.

Mobile mechanic can save customers a lot of time. The car break down will continue and the obvious beneficiaries are the mobile repairs service.

Mobile auto repair can save a lot of money by going to car owners where their car broke down. They save on towing costs and the inconvenience of going back and forth from the auto shop.

Repair van equipped with tools, work mat, some basic service parts, repair manuals, and test equipment including fault diagnosis scanners, it can carry out basic cooling system repairs, suspension, electrical, transmission, gearbox, air conditioning, diesel, cylinder head, engine repair or simply a spark plug replacement.

In India, car break down services are popular. Car owners are familiar with their services but mostly are not happy with their services because they do not reach in time.

Few companies are trying to implement similar concept but few trust those mobile repair van. Car washing and detailing services are another doorstep services which are becoming popular. For India, this is customer habit change which is taking sometime to allow mechanic to do repair at doorstep. It is sure to change the way car servicing are done now.

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Faulty car engine components in the new car. Check out if your car is defective

Honda’s Indian subsidiary will recall over 50,000 of cars to replace a defective part that could stall engine restarts and will affect new Hond city cars. This is second recall by the Japanese major since last January when it recalled 8,532 City cars made in 2007 to replace defective power window switches that could cause fire.

Honda car manufacturer are not the only one did this recall, last year Toyota ran into problems after recalling close to nine million vehicles globally. A bulk of those recalls were in the USA. The move dented Toyota’s image and the firm announced that it could face losses of $2 billion due to output and sales slump globally.

According to The Economic Times news today, India has been witnessing a spurt in recall as the domestic automobile industry has been growing at 30%. Maruti Suzuki recalled 40,000 A-Star cars last year due to leakages from the fuel tank. Other companies such as Tata Motors faced recurring problems of fire in the Nano and has asked the owneers to re-check their cars but stopped short of calling it a recall. The first ever recall of sorts was that by Maruti Suzuki (then Maruti Udyog) which recalled its popular hatchback Zen in the year 2000 due to a faulty steering system.

Here is what you can do when your new car has defective components

Since total recall is every manufacturer’s worst nightmare – the product that the company has spent millions developing, producing, marketing and shipping all around the world may have a fault. (Source:worldfinance) so they avoid total recall unless there are many disputes arise.

Preferably they would try to avoid giving you “replacement” or “refund”, but it is customers right under Sales acts that customer can demand full car “replacement” from car manufacturer. There are many cases when car manufacturer has no recall but few vehicles have faulty parts.

There are few suggestions if things go wrong with you.

1. Take the car back to the dealer and tell him about the problem.

2. Probably car dealer will offer you replacement of spare parts under warranty, but you can even reject it and hand over the keys and give your reasons in writing, requesting a refund.

3. Since mostly cars are under finance, so you have to give Finance Company your rejection reasons, and then let them deal with it on you behalf. If the dealer refuses your rejection of the car, you’ll have to speak to the manufacturer; they may be able to negotiate a solution.

The Economic Times
The BigPondNews

The Right to Repair Act- Car owners to decide where car is serviced or repaired

The car manufacturers sell and service cars through franchised dealers. The car dealers have large infrastructure and they charge heavily. It increases cost of car maintenance. Car owners have no choice during warranty period. Usually car owners prefer get their service done by independent auto repair shop, garage to reduce car maintenance expenses. That is possible once car warranty gets expired.

With advancement of car technologies and complexity of new car systems, there is insufficient information available to independent repair shops. In USA, some car manufactures claim to provide technical information and car manuals with some cost, but still there is a demand of The Right to Repair Act.

Right to Repair Legislation Introduced to US Senate which says:

“The act would require car manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information, plus other data, to independent auto repair facilities.

“Consumers should have choices about where to take their cars for repair or maintenance,” says Boxer.

“This legislation is beneficial for smaller, independent auto repair shops that are currently unable to access some information about the cars when that data is held exclusively at the (automobile) dealership”

The need for Right to Repair legislation has become a necessity in order to protect the rights of car owners to decide where and how they have their vehicles serviced, whether at a new car dealer or an independent service facility. Right to Repair ensures that the person who bought the car and not the car company, can decide where that vehicle is repaired and maintained.

The act has not been passed fully in USA yet, but you can see trends globally. You can guess growth of independent auto repair shops in the near future globally.

In India, we can not imagine similar kind of act soon, as car servicing industry is still unorganized and there is no common association which can raise similar demands, but YES, yes…. scenario is changing.

Presently car mechanics change their job frequently, they join independent auto car workshops (or open their own) with a greater role of responsibility and use their experience. Upgrading car mechanics skills is not easy but Indian believed to be smart enough to understand technology (that is not easy though). India needs associations which can train them and raise similar demands of Right to Repair as in another countries. I am looking forward India grow faster >>>>