Monday, January 15, 2007

Cars and cabs

Once upon a time in India when Premier Padminis and Ambassadors ruled the roost, nobody feared that their cars would look like taxi cabs. Nobody had a choice. Cars and cabs looked alike. This is not such a big thing in many other countries - Germany has Mercs for cabs - but in India, with the launch of new cars, the car-cab equation is big. The equation is simple. If your car model sells well as cabs (tourist operators, taxis), it sales as a private vehicle will suffer.

The Indica is the first one which sort of suffers - the number may or may not reflect it since India, as far as automobiles go, is a far from saturated market. But you can hear it from prospective buyers - well there are too many of them running as cabs. The Sumo and the Qualis were the mainstay for fleet owners and they never really caught on as a private vehicle. The Tavera is also, for all practical purposes, considered a cab.

The Innova seems to be the only vehicle at this point that sells well to individual buyers despite being a premium cab (perhaps because its premium cabs and not ordinary cabs). Lets see which one wins...


Prasanth said...

This sentiment has been exploited by advertisers too. I recently saw an ad for Alto which had the tag line - who wants to buy a cab - implictly making fun of Indica.

D said...

Yes, you're right. But have you seen the strategy of Innova, revolving around Aamir Khan. I'm not sure if it will work but it sounds music to someone who still has a big family in this small world. Anyhow, with the emergence of call centre cabs, things have changed drastically, or say even the airport cabs - Esteems I believe. Anyhow I enjoyed reading your blog. Good thought process.