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Why prices of same model cars vary

Last updated on: September 24, 2009 15:52 IST
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Ever wondered why the difference between a Santro Xing GL and a Santro Xing GLS was over Rs 30,000 although both looked the same?

This article will try to give you a breeze through into what adds cost to a car.

Fuel option

The biggest price adding factor to a car is the type of fuel on which it runs. The currently available options in India are: petrol, petrol+LPG, diesel and electric (though it must be said that electric cars are yet to create a significant impact in the market).

The rule of thumb in terms of cost is that petrol models will be cheapest, followed by petrol+LPG and costliest would be the diesel models. Apart from the technical aspects involved, diesel models are costlier as their per km running cost is lesser on account of the price difference between petrol and diesel in India.

City of purchase

The second most important price adding factor is probably the taxation involved vis-a-vis the city of purchase of your car.

The price variation between a Maruti Swift bought in Chennai and one bought in Mumbai could be even up to Rs 25,000 costlier in Mumbai.

Similarly, there exists a huge price difference between models bought in Delhi as compared to those bought in bought Mumbai and Chennai. As a general thumb rule, Delhi is the cheapest followed by Chennai and Mumbai.

Although this is a big price-adding factor, not much attention can be given to it when considering the purchase of a car as it is not logical to stay in Chennai and buy a car in Delhi. The issues to be sorted out in moving the vehicle are enough to give you sleepless nights.

Power steering and power windows

The availability of a power steering and power windows is probably the most prominent price differentiating factor while choosing a car.

Mostly the fuel type and the city of purchase are predetermined. The variants called differently by different manufacturers (GLS, VX, LXI, GLE, DLE, GL, etc) are based on the options of power steering and power windows.

Many car models also have the option to have all four power windows or else only the front as power windows. Over a period of time it can be surely assumed that these would become regular features. But as of now these are the ones which will add that extra bit of pressure on your wallet.

Safety systems

Over the past few years this has emerged as a key price add-on to car models. When talking about safety we can mainly think of four features.

  • Airbags
  • ABS-Anti lock braking system
  • TC - Traction control
  • ESP - Electronic Stability program (control)

Although TC and ESP are new to Indian roads, airbags and ABS are becoming more common.

On a cost basis the price difference between a car with airbags and one without could be anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 300,000, or even more. Most of the high end models come with airbags. Maturi Swift was probably the first at the mid-level segment to introduce airbags.

The anti-skid braking system is a mechanism which helps the car to avoid skidding when driving on wet/icy surfaces. The chances of skidding are very high especially when braking.

What happens is that if applied very harshly the brakes could lock up and cause a vehicle to spin. With ABS the chances are almost nullified. But this safety feature comes at a cost.

A Hyundai i20 Asta without ABS is cheaper by around Rs 25,000 as compare to a Hyundai i20 Asta with ABS.

A TC and EPs could also add on close to around Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 to the cost of the car.

A Chevrolet Aveo without ABS, TC and EPS comes for almost Rs 30,000 cheaper as compared to one with all the safety features. But while thinking of the safety of the family, Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 is peanuts and hence most car buyers would be advised to go in for a car, which has all these safety features.

The minor add-ons

Apart from the major price adding factors discussed above some of the minor aspects which add to the cost of a car are:

Central/Remote locking: The ability of a car key to simultaneously lock all the four doors (central locking) could add a neat Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 to your cost. The ability to do that with a remote control could add another Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 to the total cost of the car.

Revolving cost (Alloy wheels versus steel): Although steel wheels are more than sufficient and equally safe if not more, still cars with alloy wheels demand a higher price tag. The life of alloy wheels is higher than steel wheels and the proneness to dents is also considerably less. An alloy wheel also adds a sophisticated look to a car.

Seats (leather or. . .?) This is a small cost in small cars, but in high end cars the cost added could be even over Rs 100,000.

Rear wiper: The additional facility of a wiper on the rear window can add another Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 to your car cost. Add another Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 for defoggers.

Other aspects which add to cost are more of a luxury aspect. This includes MP3 player with/without option to play from USB, fog lamps, sun roof, etc. And, of course, there's the added cost involved when you fit a car with all those accessories for music and comfort.

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