Carmic Connection: Episode 1 – Honda Jazz

The Jazz in my Life

April 29th 2016 was a very big day in my life. After a lot of deliberation, discussions, test drives and waits I was finally going to lay my hands on my chariot for the next few years. She’s a titanium grey Honda Jazz and I call her the nightfury. To be frank she was not my first choice, I went around a lot and checked a lot of cars under 10lakhs with an auto box to the transmission duties. Finally, I narrowed down to the Polo GT TSi from the Germans and the Jazz from the Japanese. These 2 cars had completely different characters! The GT was this hot chick in red skirt (The test car was in red) who was living this fast paced life and didn’t care about the world. Other cars would move out of her way because she had this never stop attitude and solid confidence (which German cars give). What if she was reckless, she didn’t care a damn. She would break down (DSG gearboxes had issues), so what, she would have made you fall for her by then that you ignore her flaws! She can give anyone 2 levels above her in the socio economic segment a run for their money and proudly wore the GT TSi tattoo for others to remember who just owned them. Well one drive and I was smitten. The 105 PS engine, glossy red paint job, the beautiful 7 speed fast shifting DSG gear box, the safety kit and solid German built had my heart all over her. The drive left an ear to ear smile on my face! But this had to come to an end and my mom knocked some sense saying we should go to the next showroom as well.

Then we went over to the house of Japanese – Honda. The moment I entered I saw this titanium grey Jazz parked on the showroom floor. Ignoring the pleasantries from the salesman I went directly to her. Well she was pretty! She had a confident stance and each and every panel oozed pedigree, history, and she wore a badge called Honda which in my head was always a sign of aspiration, reliability and safety. She didn’t have the aggression but plain lines that defined her. The space was something that a sedan would offer or rather she could put some sedans to shame. To describe her, she was someone with a purpose and someone who ticks all boxes, practical, refined, confident, safe and well built. She was confident of her legacy and she knew she was more than capable of carrying this baton forward. I wanted to go for a drive! I could already see that my mom and dad had approved of her but for every petrol head the drive is what matters!

I was guided to a maroon car and since I had requested for an automatic they had arranged for it. The service centre person bought her to where we were waiting. When we boarded her all 4 of us along with the sales executive fit. This was my first surprise because mom had to stay back when I drove the polo because there was no space. I could already see the smile on my mom’s face so that’s a brownie point for the Jazz. I shifted her to drive and she quietly guided us out of the showroom with a sense of purpose. I was taken aback by the lack of any drama. The 1.2 litre iVtech engine was butter smooth unlike my love at first sight the GT TSi which was full of drama and let people know that she was coming. Not a sign of strain with 5 people in the car. It was as if she was gracefully holding my hand and guiding me and I was following her dumbstruck by her confidence and poise. In no time we were on the airport road which is one of the open roads in Bangalore. I was easy on her and I didn’t want to push her because she wasn’t that type! But when I looked at the Speedo I was shocked when I saw I had already touched the speed limit of 80 KMPH and nobody in the car even knew. The sales executive gave a slight smile looking at my face because I had a feeling she had done this to other people. She was solid, rock solid! No undulation could shake her and I was in her cocoon, safe and protected. The refinement and overall insulation is a class apart. The CVT gear box did a brilliant job at going through the ratios without any drama, as if they r meant to do this all day long and still come back and do this the next. Then the iVtech engine, God what a refined piece of machine! The engine just pulls and even at high revs it serves up power like Alfred would do to Master Wayne in Batman! The Honda impressed me, she ticked all the boxes, she was awesome and she was built like she will last a lifetime. She was a marvel. She is like this girl whom your mother would say is the right bride for me! But still my heart was smitten by the crazy red hot GT.

I was confused and like how! On one side there is this crazy hot chick who had taken my heart for a ride and on the other there was this pretty girl who ticked all the boxes the right way and did everything right and I wouldn’t have to worry about her for a really long time and she will stick with me till eternity. Then I did what every good son would do – ask mom! Her answer was quick, loaded with assurance and in a motherly voice she said Jazz is the best for you! That’s how our alliance got fixed and we were one on April 29th 2016 me and the titanium grey Honda Jazz V CVT.

It’s been 2 years and she has been an absolute gem. The convenience of a CVT is amazing and the iVtech engine; it’s marvellous! The airy cabin cocoons me from the horrible world, rain, dust, slush, ruts, and anything that the road throws on us. She goes on with a “bring it on” attitude and never ceases to amaze me. She has always silently heard my sorrows, taken my irritation, my frustration, my happiness, my calmness and so on. She does drop her calm demeanour once in a while and truly show what she is and boy o boy can she hit some serious speeds and acceleration in the sports mode. What never ceases to surprise me is the solid, stable and safe way she does it.

The Jazz is an absolute gem of a car and she deserves respect for what she does. She never ceases to surprise me and that has been the constant with every drive. With her it’s the road and not the destination that matters to me! Here’s to the 2 years that’s passed and here’s to many more to come. Like I always tell people “I live my life quarter mile at a time”.

(The article was submitted by Mr. Manu Sasidharan. He is a hardcore petrol head, an auto enthusiast and an amateur designer. He has been in close touch with the industry for a long time and is abreast with the action in the automotive sphere. Driving is his passion and combined with a love for travelling makes him a nomad by nature. On the education front, he has done Engg in Electrical and Electronics from Cochin university and Management studies from Symbiosis Pune.)

New Feature: ‘Car’mic Connection

We believe in the philosophy that ‘Cars are not just machines, but a lot more‘. These days we spend more time in terms of finalizing our car purchases and we ought to feel more connected with the one. Many of us even name our cars and go to the extent of celebrating their Birthdays (Day when the delivery of the car was taken). Many special moments of our lives are connected to these machines (Ex: Car purchased before marriage / post birth of a child / anniversaries / graduation, etc).

The kind of connection that we build with our cars is surreal / Karmic. Hence we are terming the series as ‘Car’mic Connection. We shall feature the stories that emulate the passion of the individual towards his/her automobile on our blog. If you want to feature your review / experience kindly mail it to auto.punditz@gmail.com. We shall review the same and post it on the website.

Global Car Sales Analysis – 2017

Global Auto Industry is growing at steady rate since 2010. With buyer’s preference shifting to SUV, automakers are getting more and more innovative with their products. Let us have a look at the bestselling vehicles across the globe for the first eight months of 2017 (Jan 2017 to Aug 2017).

Top 50 Best sellers

Top 10-Manufacturers of 100 Best Selling Vehicles Globally

Ford seems to be having most successful product portfolio here, dominated by SUV. Ford F-Series, a pick-up, is America’s bestselling vehicle, surprisingly a pick-up and a best seller. Well Americans love their pick-ups! Toyota has very balanced portfolio and wider global coverage, with Corolla being the bestseller globally. Despite diesel gate scandal, VW continues to maintain a steady lead in the list. Success emanates from hatchback led grip in Europe and sedan’s success in China. New design language since 2008 has catapulted Hyundai’s products in global favorites, with Tucson and Elantra being in top 10 in 2016. With 5 of Jeep’s product in top 100 list, one can surely learn that having SUV in portfolio is sure footed success mantra.

Country-Wise-Manufacturer of 100 Best Selling Vehicles Globally

Though Japan and Germany lost the Second World War as villains, now they have conquered the world of automobile and how! I am pretty sure their third partner Italy would appear in the conquering list when it comes to the supercar arena. These countries were defeated, destroyed to rubble and were devoid of resources in post war period. Still with great minds they have in their country, has made them to conquer the world with technology and resurrected giants like Toyota, Honda, VW and likes. Have you ever wondered that we have our independence, freedom and control on our resources since 70 years, still we don’t have such feat. One can always argue that Tata owns marque like JLR, but owning is different from making, for example Chinese car company – Geely, they too own safety obsessed marque Volvo, and they sell blatant copy of Rolls Royce in China! Speaking of China their products are not exported much outside the country and right now the number of product in this list is virtue of China being largest producer and consumer at the same time. America is home of Pick-up, SUV and muscle cars. Their products are more powerful, simple and cheap and Americans love to keep on changing them like a razor blade cartridge. Korean manufacturer, Hyundai and Kia, have really transformed themselves in past two decades and gained huge acceptance worldwide and that’s a feat. Wondering why Romania is in this list, it is because of Dacia which is owned by Renault, it’s the same car company which has conceived Logan and Duster, sold in our country under the Renault brand umbrella. France is anchored by Renault and Peugeot. Ironically the UK which actually won the Second World War is missing in the list.

Body Type Analysis

SUV – Flavor of the season

  • Close to 40% models are SUV!
  • New fondness for compact SUV – Top 10 list is dominated by 5 seater and more of a softroader
  • Ford & Jeep each having 5 models in top 100

Sedan

  • Toyota Corolla is bestselling vehicle in the history and still holds #1 position
  • Volume wise sedan and SUV are neck and neck
  • VW having 3 in top 10 because of China connection

Hatchback

  • Despite being relatively inexpensive, 13 is too low of a number for hatchback!
  • VW accounts for 30% of hatchback sales in top 100 ranking
  • Europe is anchorage for hatchback

Pick Up – American love

  • 6 models in list of 100 is not a surprise, but for pickup it is!
  • Ford F Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Pick-Up are bestselling “vehicle” in USA for years!
  • For reference its contribution to global 100 rankers is 9% slightly less than hatchback in terms of volume!

MPV – Chinese love

  • Only two Chinese MPV in the list of 100!
  • As Americans love their pickup, Chinese find practicality in MPV

 Luxury Cars Sales – 

How 100 Global Bestselling Vehicles Performing in India?

Past – Vehicle which got discontinued in India but still Bestseller Globally

Hyundai Sonata

It kick started a segment where it never was able to make its value realized against the competition. Re launched in 2005 and 2011 with reasonable pricing, but no success at all. Not all global bestseller do well in India.

Wuling  Hongguang

Chinese bestseller! In India it was launched as Chevrolet Enjoy. Chinese cars really don’t go very well with Indian buyers who are used to Japanese quality and pricing since quite a long time.

Ford Fiesta

Older generation of Fiesta was launched in India in 2005 and was quite successful. Later when newer generation was launched in 2011, older was rechristened and sold with classic prefix. 2005 generation was developed in Australia for emerging market. It struck a chord instantly with Indian buyers because of engine under the hood and balanced ride and handling characteristics.  1.4L diesel engine was a gem, having excellent fuel economy. No wonder 85% cars sold in India were diesel, despite being slightly cramped in comparison. Newer generation just bombed due to overambitious pricing, lack of space at the back and a design which did not catch buyers fancy. Numbers has been so bad that Ford has to pull it out even before product’s normal lifecycle end, which in India is around 6 years from launch including mid-life update around 3 years.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Recently got discontinued. Overpriced perception took a toll on its numbers.

Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, Chevrolet Cruze

Refer to my older article which talks about the entire segment (http://www.autopunditz.com/autopedia/mahindra-xuv-500-cheetah-that-killed-a-segment)

Present

Hatchback

Alto got its global 100 ranking because of Indian connection, second being i20. Since launch, i20 has been real money spinner for Hyundai in India. No surprise as its sales is as good as younger sibling i10. Honda Fit in India is known as Jazz, was not able to make much mark in the segment but in its new avatar as WRV, its getting much needed respectable figures. Polo is now too old in India, new generation already launched in Brazil let us see when we will get the new one. Usually global manufacturer take their own sweet time for launching global product in India.

Sedan

Except City all are struggling for numbers. Some really had good run in the past but not now. In India SUV in respective price range are killing the sedans. This phenomena is catching up fast since the introduction of concept called compact SUV, or as what I comprehend – pseudo SUV. Nissan Versa is called Sunny in India, space at the back is simply great, but looks is certainly uninspiring, hence poor show.

SUV

Compass, Ecosport and Creta are boy wonder for respective manufacturer. For others, they don’t stand a chance in India due to their (over-) price (-d) tag.

Future – Cars which May Come to India

Honda HR-V

Biggest question is will Honda be able to slot it in between BRV and CRV? Can it bring numbers for Honda what others have failed to? All I have is dramatized questions, but no answers!

Peugeot

Sometime back, Indian media has reported that Peugeot has planned an investment around ₹ 4000 crore  to set up a plant in India in partnership with C K Birla Group. They even bought Ambassador Car Brand name from defunct Hindustan Motors. Would 208 and 2008 ever touch our shores? Plans are still in air!

Kia

Kia is working on new manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh. Product portfolio is still not announced yet, so could we see their global bestseller Rio, Sorento and Sportage in India. Only time will tell.

Jeep Renegade

Being tested extensively in India, may get launched sometime in 2018. Likely to be positioned below Compass, competing against likes of Brezza.

Renault Captur

Soon to be launched in India. But we are not getting the bestseller which shares its underpinnings with Clio. What we are essentially getting is Duster in fancy frock which is on sale in Russia. Renault wants to keep cost low for emerging markets,  thus selling old platforms with new body styling. Same thing they did with Datsun, by introducing older Nissan Micra platform as Go and Go+.

Toyota Yaris (Hatchback) & Vios (Sedan)

India should have got these way back in 2011, instead what we got was bland Etios and its derivative-Liva. Toyota decided to compete against Renault Logan (Now Mahindra Verito) rather than segment Leader Honda City. Etios design too was inspired from Logan. Take a Logan, round all its edges and you have bland tasting Etios! But cost-cutting inspiration came from Tata Nano, it has a single front windshield wiper and dreary looking instrument cluster placed unconventionally in the middle of dashboard. Hopefully Toyota is serious this time with competent Yaris and Vios.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi is well known in India for its macho SUV – Pajero. So what they were thinking when they launched petrol guzzling soft roader with not so mean SUV image. Certainly it reflected on its performance. There is a news that it could be reintroduced.

Nissan X Trail

Sometime back Nissan has showcased hybrid X Trail to Indian Media. No launch dates announced so far. They are already struggling with poor portfolio performance. Moreover, Indian Government’s policy flip-flop is not very encouraging for automakers long term drivetrain planning.

Data Source : http://focus2move.com/world-best-selling-car/

(The article is written by the Newest Pundit on the team – Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at emailrohanrishi@gmail.com)

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