Suggestions of a Car Driver: How Can Car Manufacturers Lower Car Prices in India

I never thought, leave aside thinking; not even dreamed, forget about dreaming; not once hoped, set aside hope; this should be beyond all this. While driving in the mad traffic on the roads of Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad –  not saying NCR since the ‘Region’ has long extended beyond these more popular and recognizable cities, I came up with some unsolicited suggestions for the car manufacturers in India on how to save cost, hence lower car prices for the Indian buyer. In a season of new sedan models, auto transmission in hatchback, and a few newer options in lower segment – this could be a threat as well as opportunity.

First the confession

Before I run into any kind of trouble for making not just unsolicited but wacky and some highly debatable suggestions, I think I ought to start off by confessing that post what I suggest I may be construed as cynical, wrong, stupid, a few other things and all of  these and not particularly in any order. So I confess at the start, ‘guilty as charged’. Nonetheless:

Then the suggestion

Considering the car manufacturers have to keep the cost and hence the price in check through too many things like new technology, rising and varied customer needs and demands, size/dimensions and what not vis-à-vis excise duties, it is my duty neither to burden them with too many suggestions nor suggest anything exclusively to only one of them. After all everyone should gather equal wisdom and profits too.

Suggestion 1: Remove the left-right indicator

Each car has the left-right indicator functionality which means cost of lever to operate it; cost of two indicators next to headlights in front, two indicators next to back-light, two on either side fenders; cost of bulbs, casing and wiring; etc. Now when you are driving in and around Delhi you realize it soon enough that only indicator that the driver in the car next to you uses is the one in his/her head and that can be premeditated or last minute, in either case you’ll never know about it till he/she starts turning the steering wheel and the car starts to follow its master obediently. For you it’s all like ‘magic’.

So the car manufacturers should take note that the indicators they have fitted are rarely used and if at all used, most drivers use them at the last moment – couple of seconds after turning the steering wheel. The cost and hence price we have to pay for these indicators is a waste of money.

Suggestion 2: Why the low and high beam in headlights?

I read or heard (maybe both) that the Motor Vehicles Act mandates that drivers should use the low beam only at all times during the night and the high beam is only for the purposes like overtaking, and few other indications. My experience and I am sure of most in Delhi tells otherwise. Drivers strictly use the high beam at all the times during night, period. The only exception I have seen is while I am driving at low beam and get blinded by the high beam of the car coming towards me, I use my high beam and the 1 in 10 drivers – mostly of a car whose headlights lie lower than my car’s and hence gets blinded in return when I use high beam, makes an exception and turns to low beam for a while.

But good thing is – any smart car manufacturer would save money by removing this functionality and the smartest ancillary manufacturer would make the first move to make the best of ‘untapped market’ of single beam kits. The main purpose of this suggestion, like all others, is to make cars cheaper for the customers and I hope car manufacturers will pass this benefit on accordingly.

Suggestion 3: Power brake can be done away with

Power brake was supposed to be a good thing, you apply it and the car stops immediately. Well, that sounds good, after all it makes sure the driver controls the car. However, when the car ahead of you stops with no notification, indication or logic – right in the middle of the road and that too in bumper-to-bumper traffic, your car only ends up banging the said car in front. End result is a fight, a traffic jam and a trip to workshop not necessarily in this same order.

I guess the good old brakes were better perhaps and cheaper surely. The car manufacturers should do the needful.

Suggestion 4: Seat belts are a hindrance and a nuisance

I know I know. Seat belts are for safety, a must. And a fan and supporter of Formula 1 (seat belt was first used there and it’s innovations like this which presumably justify millions of dollars spent on F1 cars), I am definitely in. But to my understanding these seat belts or safety belts (a name which is more appropriate and I propose should only be used going forward) are useful only when actually used. Providing them can’t and will not serve the purpose till drivers and passengers use this.

But that’s not what you see while driving in and around Delhi. At times we can’t really blame the people also after all how can someone who is driving a car with a child in his/her lap wear the seat belt, it’s so uncomfortable. Same is true for the passenger sitting in the seat next to the driver, after all he/she also has a child in the lap and if he/she wears the seat belt, he/she’ll feel ashamed that the child being held in the hands has no seat belts. And we can surely not expect two persons sitting on the single front seat to wear the seat belt which is meant for one person only – I guess that is totally the fault of the car manufacturer. My reluctant advice to car manufacturers is to not waste money on seat belts anymore.

Suggestion 5: Driving seat and each foot paddle must be height and/or length adjustable

How are our 12 to 14 year old kids supposed to drive a car when the driver’s seat and the foot paddles have not been designed appropriately? Before giving any suggestion here I want an answer from the car manufacturers first. Don’t they know our kids have the birth right to start driving car when they feel like, age no bar? Thank God the parents, schools and now play schools (have to include them esp. when talking about Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad since the next generation is learning everything there only) still teach A for Apple, B for Ball and C for Cat and not A for Accelerator, B for Brake and C for Clutch.

My suggestion to the car manufacturers is to make the height of driving seat adjustable in all cars – I know quite a few cars offers this but that’s usually in higher and costlier models and that’s biasing. They should make lengths of the three foot paddles adjustable too in all cars. And while they are at it, the steering wheel and other related paraphernalia should also be customized keeping the needs of our 14 year old drivers in mind. This suggestion may not look like a cost saver but trust me it will be.

And Lastly the conclusion

We the Indians are not particularly very fond of following rules and regulations or abiding by the law especially when no one is watching and clearly when these don’t suit us. Driving without license, no pollution checks or better the ‘Gurgaon PUC – certificate of perfect non-polluting vehicle with no real test ’, driving in the lonely (wrong) lane – one in which no one is giving you company in fact every other vehicle seems to be against you and is coming towards you; I won’t go into offering any suggestions related to these after all there is nothing our car manufacturers can do about these issues that can help lower costs. There will have to be some other time for taking these up, today it’s only about 5 suggestions and that’s surely a start.