Tuesday, January 17, 2012

M&M doing a Tata Nano !

Dear Mahindra & Mahindra,

Ok, so now that I have your attention, first things first. What exactly you think you are selling to warrant a lottery? A Nano? So get this thing straight up your minds - consumers who are buying XUV can buy 10 nanos for this price. XUV, though a fabulous car, still has lot of niggles that we read about on various forums. Niggles likes steering rod touching driver, bad brake pad design that you are replacing free of cost, notchy
gear shifts etc. So first get those iron out before having an arrogance of lottery system.

Now coming to lottery system itself, who was the genius who came up with the idea? (S A R C A S M, just in case I need to hold a board for you to understand). Tell that person that he/ she is wrong in argument of "fairness", because it is not fair to those potential customers who have had their paper work ready and finances, including bank finances, streamlined for about 4 months now. So you can kindly suck-it on the fairness part. It is only fair that they get First-come-first-serve treatment.

Coming to Deloitte auditing of system, really M&M? You want to employ a monkey on the keyboard using "rand" (random number generator) command on excel, and you call it audited lottery? Seriously? Stop undermining intelligence of your customers. Anybody who has money to buy XUV is smart enough to know it.

But let me give you benefit of doubt for "fairness" play. Here are few options that your marketing genius (again, S A R C A S M) can use to be fair:

1. Allow first come first serve for first 7,200 bookings. You can put the rest in the lottery draw. Latecomers, lazy and lethargic should be punished for their laziness. Simple. That is fair, isnt it? You work hard, get in top 7,200 and get your car. You laze around and get thrown in lottery pool after 7,200 bookings. How is that not fair?

2. OK, maybe many customers are arranging finances and are genuine buyers, so a 9 day window makes sense to accommodate all. So why not spread 7,200 bookings through 9 days - 800 bookings a day on first come first serve basis. 801 and beyond on each day can go in lottery pool. That is also fair and more spread.

3. Why not have an online booking system as well? Consumers can book on their own, after all the DD is being made in name of M&M and not the dealer. Sure, there is a chance of fake bookings or covered bookings, but then you can comb through those later, and you have lottery pool to shift up into booking pool if you need replace a fake/ covered booking by genuine booking.

Infact, let me quote somebody from team-bhp,

Since the lottery scheme is anyway ridiculous, let me take it to the next level:
1. I demand 50% reservation for women
2. I demand 20% quota for the financially backward
3. I demand 20% quota for the minorities and culturally oppressed
4. I demand 8% quota for the locals - people staying within 15km radius of a particular dealership
5. The remaining 2% would be reserved for the people who do not belong to any of the above categories

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/official-new-car-reviews/109469-mahindra-xuv500-test-drive-review-109.html#post2648704 )

Lastly, let me tell you one thing very clearly. I will own a XUV, hopefully this time or whenever bookings open next. For all the troubles you are making us go through, I promise I would be very difficult customer if I'm buying an expensive car. One squeak from my XUV, whenever I get one, would result in whole marketing department and my RM squeaking. I would not tolerate shabbiness and will not settle for below quality vehicle. Period.

Enough of Chalta Hai attitude !


  1. precisely the feeling of a genuine buyer like me.

  2. you the MAN!!! , good article bro, I m planning to buy an xuv too but not at these conditions and the more I read on team bhp about the niggles of the car, I m rethinking my decision altogether. I d rather get a yeti or a second hand fortuner then go for an xuv as things stand right now

  3. Dear Raghav,
    Let me first thank you for taking time to express your anguish about the way Mahindra has chosen to do booking for the next lot of XUV500. I thought it would be appropriate for me to personally explain to you the rationale of why we have done what we have done. First let me assure you that doing a draw is not showing our arrogance. We are not sure we will get more than 7200 bookings, but if we do we wanted to be as transparent as possible by announcing up front how we will assign the bookings. The easiest thing for us to do would have been to do it first come first serve basis. We wouldn’t have needed to do all the planning and legal clearances that have gone into the so called lottery. We have given lot of thought to all the options available to us and decided this to be the best way. Just imagine that if we were to do first come first serve and if there is a strong demand there may be a possible long queue at the dealership and almost a fight to decide who came in first. Then imagine someone waiting for 5 hours and then being told, “sorry, we have reached 7200 and now booking is closed”. The way we have done it, at least there is no rush to beat your neighbor to the dealer. The orders are put in a very orderly manner. If the requests are close to 7200, no problem. Else we just do a fair draw. The dealer cannot manipulate anything. No one at Mahindra can manipulate anything. There is no question of “I submitted my application at 6 PM and someone who submitted at 7 PM, got his vehicle before me”, etc. etc. We assign order of delivery based on the draw and give a reasonably precise date for delivery.
    You may want to know why 7200. In our humble opinion to make a customer wait for the vehicle beyond three months will not be customer centric. Hence we decided to take bookings that we can deliver in about three months. Again it would be far easier for us to take all the bookings, give delivery date as far in the future as needed and keep the booking amounts with us till then.
    I think we are doing something that has never been done before, not to pull a fast one on the customers or to become high handed, but be as transparent and customer centric as we think we can be in the situation of demand far exceeding supplies. No matter what we did some people will feel we should have done the opposite. Unfortunately there is no right or wrong answer. There is a call that we had to take and we have taken this call to be the least of all evils.
    While you may still not agree with our decision, but at least hope you will appreciate that this was not a decision taken lightly and due thought was given to it.
    I do hope that you will buy a XUV500 and yes, if the vehicle gives you slightest of trouble you have full right to make our marketing Dept. squeak. But promise to me that if you are delighted with the vehicle, you will tell all your friends and family that you are proud to own an Indian vehicle that compares with the best you have ever owned.
    Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain.
    Best regards,

    Pawan Goenka
    President, Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors
    Mahindra & Mahindra

    1. that's like WOW. Hats off to M&M for replying it within hours.
      Fully agree to the statement above.

      However, one question is still unanswered:
      What if someone doesn't get "LuckY" this time. What happens to his case - will he be given a car in next booking reopen scene by default (if he is interested).

      Will he has to undergo a similar Lucky Draw next time as well ???

      That's a major hurdle. Afterall, it is no IIT/ CAT. Getting your kid to a Delhi Nursery School seems easier now.

    2. Dear Dr. Goenka,

      Thank you for your reply, and I am very much humbled by M&M's customer care initiatives. Firstly, let me give the credit where it is due - there has not been a car like XUV, especially by an Indian firm. M&M has always stood out as an ethical firm, I never had doubt about it, despite the post. A fleet of Scorpios and Xylos deployed on my father's project is another reason for this belief.

      However, I still believe that this idea has not been quite as brilliant as the car itself. While we all know that demand for the car would clearly outstrip supply, there are better means to counter. Obviously, lottery or a draw would form a part of the solution, as mentioned in my blog as well.

      If you want to control the chaos and avoid the rush, then you may consider following options:

      1. Open the bookings in a controlled manner, in reference to point number 2 of my blog post. I agree, many things might go wrong, sometimes a photocopy that didnt come out correct, or the bank took time for DD to be made etc etc. So it is fair that you control the daily numbers. And frankly, for the rush you are expecting, 9 day window is huge, as all the things can be done in 4-5days. Besides, on weekend during the booking, the chaos would anyways be unprecedented for you to control, unless everyone knows that bookings are controlled.

      2. Why not put a payment gateway on XUV site. It barely takes any time to be up and running. People can easily transfer money online and you would have better control over the rush, assuming XUV site would be capable to deal with 20,000+ people at any given time. You will get instant cash, and flexibility of combing through fake bookings at time of PDI/ Delivery.

      Sir, I urge you not to have the draw in an uncontrolled manner like this. Draw is required, and I am not against it (reference: my post mentions draw as complimentary solution, not as an overarching methodology) but it has to have a method to madness. You would not be able to control the rush on weekends any ways.

      Please consider the solutions. Online would work best, along with controlled draw after early bird bookings. And yes, I will own XUV soon !


    3. Dear Sir,
      Let me first of all congratulate you and your team for this stupendous effort. This car is a world class product.
      I really wanted to buy this beast but now I have to wait for my luck to shine in the draw.
      My query is regarding the charging of Logistic/handling/miscellaneous charges by your dealers for any and all vehicles. Delhi Transport Authority has given a public notice in a newspaper directing all dealers of Delhi NCR not to charge any such amount from the consumers. This is not as per the Motor Vehicle Act 0f 1988 and 89.
      But sadly dealers are still asking the consumers to pay these charges. Also dealers outside of Delhi are also enforcing this undue charge on the hapless consumers.
      I have tried to contact Mr. Sunjoy Gupta, your VP customer care on mail with my query :

      whether Mahindra patronizes the dealers to collect such logistic/handling/miscellaneous charges from the consumers when the Transport Authority publically bars all dealers to do so ????

      He passed me on to Mr. Deepak Kapoor who is DGM Regional sales. He has been giving only political statements but not confirming your company's stand but all the while admitting that such charges are there. If this is your company's official stand then this is against the directive of the Transport Authority of Delhi and the same applies to all the regional authorities as well as the law in the country has to be same everywhere in the country.

      When dealers get their margins on every vehicle sold ( duly paid by the company ) then why do they force the consumers to pay these supposedly illegal charges ?? Just to increase their profit ?? The company also is not doing anything to help the harried consumer. Where does the consumer go ???

      I have also forwarded the entire trail mail to AFS.PRESIDENT@MAHINDRA.COM also. This id was on your website. But even after 2 days there is no reply whereas the website says that the revert will be there within 24 hours.
      Kindly do guide me where do I go to have my grievance redressed. My mail id is ashutosh_gopal@yahoo.com.
      Appreciate if you could provide me with a solution to this.
      Thank you.

  4. This is fantastic. I tweeted to @anandmahindra of this post and Pawan replies back! This is fantastic show of actual corporate responsibility!

    I am so looking forward to get an XUV for myself!!

  5. Brilliant Raghav

    Completely agreed with you on all points.

    As a Scorpio owner who actually had to make the hierarchy look up and notice (or squeak as you put it) before a host of issues were resolved (starting from squeaks to replacement of gear box and tyres)I can understand what an owner goes through after spending so much.

    My suggestions to M&M :

    1. Make the vehicle perfect (almost) first & dont make guinea pigs out of customers.
    2. Increase the production capacity, I think the first lot sales would have given enough inputs on the sales.
    3. Remember that the free run is there only till there is no competition, with more SUV's (minor differences here and there) coming in things
    would become interesting in the very near future (Honda learnt this the hard way with City despite having an excellent product).

    1. @maneesh: you are there on t-bhp, right? Green color Scorpio, I followed your posts. I was going to buy Scorpio, but decided against it after TDing XUV :)

      Let's see how it all shapes up.

    2. @Raghav: I am the one :)
      My scorpio was probably a one off case of a complete QC failure, couple of my friends bought it together with me and had absolutely no issues.
      I got great support from M&M management to have my all the issues resolved satisfactorily.

      I was eagerly waiting for a couple of my friends (same ones who bought the Scorpio along with me)to get their XUV's (W8 AWD & W8 FWD)delivered in lot one, sadely the niggles, negative feed back and remembering my ordeal with the Scorpio forced them to cancel the bookings just days before delivery dates.

      After having learnt driving on a M&M Jeep i am still partial to the company but I too am not willing to go through the same circle of issues again, so I am currently waiting for some new offerings in the market before I make a final decision on my next SUV.

  6. I can fully understand and appreciate the tone and matter Pawan has put across, but what hurts me is why they are not so perfect in rectifying the niggles of the XUV5OO, before going for a second round of booking !!!

    GET US THE IMPROVED VERSION FAST. Hope you have not forgotten your granny's quote 'time and tide waits for no man'. Don't let the publicity gained on the XUV5OO go down the drains. Rather, build on it. Get stronger by sealing the lips of the existing customers. There goes your biggest ad.

  7. I would like to mention one thing To Mr pawan Goenka and let's see if you have an answer for that. Agreed, that you have decided to hold a lottery system for bookings more than 7200. But why did you guys make it public before the bookings are offered? you could have simply asked us to book the vehicle directly by paying you the DD and then once uhave reached the 7200 number, you could have gone for the lottery. By announcing the lottery before hand, you would see a lot of fake bookings or multiple bookings from different members from the family just in case they do not want to lose out on the lottery. I say this coz in this scenario there is a 100% possibility of you guys reaching that 7200 bookings thanks to the multiple bookings from the same family. But if it was not a lottery, only one booking would have been made from potential buyer and there was every possibility that this entire lottery would have been avoided since there is every possibility the number of bookings would certainly be less than the lottery bids.

  8. Well said Raghav and Ramesh. I'm pretty sure there will be multiple bookings by members of the same family now and this idea of a "fair" lottery system is total BS.

    I'd have booked the XUV the first day the bookings were announced but decided to wait because I knew there would be niggles in the first lot of vehicles and I'm glad I waited it out. And looking at things now, I think I'll wait for a few more booking periods. Some of the problems being reported by users will definitely take Mahindra at least a year or more to fix.

    I'd suggest that everyone just wait for another year or so and then only buy this car. Customers spending ~15lakhs for a car shouldn't be treated like guinea pigs.

  9. All of those who have commented here have spoken out-rightly honest & I comply to it with my complete voice. I out of keenness to know the new marketing strategy deployed, visited TM,TOYOTA,MS & HONDA showrooms at Bangalore after Mahindra announced their re-booking for XUV500 (in the not so surprising feeble draw pattern & system)and realised that these guys are hitting the rod when the iron is hot(pun intended). A sales person at Toyota just devalued XUV500 by mentioning the fact that If the vehicle indeed garners such demand like it did then the customer would not mind waiting for any length of time to obtain its delivery. Just the satisfaction of booking a good vehicle itself will make a customer overlook the fact that the booking amount itself would have generated some interest if it would have been invested wisely or simply gained 4% lying in an SB account. Even today customers wait for months on stretch to get their hands on the INNOVA or even an year for the SWIFT Diesel patiently..

    They are seizing the moment to introduce new cars like the Renault Duster & Maruti's new MPV etc..Honda is releasing diesel versions of the CITY soon...TM slashed prices of ARIA etc..and best of all these International Brands simply are ramping up production plants & units to cater to demands. Anybody can walk in Book & walk out..

    I wanted to know what would Mahindra do if customers who have been lucky to be picked in the draw decide to cancel their booking? When for sure there are going to be multiple bookings from the same family at different dealer outlets or same dealer there is a probability that more than one application has been chosen in which case one for sure is cancelled!! What will happen to those cancelled bookings??? Is it not true XUV500 is assigned in the customers name from day 1 of production after booking???

    Early Bird gets the worm is absolutely true & rightly said. One last note for Mr. Pawan Goenka, here below is an used case study..

    Karnataka Govt receives around 1 lakh applications for a meager, not more than 2000 housing board houses which are to be doled out..Yes rightly they conduct a lucky draw..After all how many can actually dream of owning or constructing a house? They definitely need lady luck..

    Here! who is Mahindra to worry about long queues or somebody missing out on the booking by five minutes or who have been waiting for six days??? People still stand & wait in queues at night just to buy an I-Phone. To get their wards admitted good in schools or to even refuel their vehicles full just moments before they hear that prices of fuel may get hiked. Definitely Mahindra is not being customer centric but being an agony aunt. Rather than investing time & money to set the draw procedures, the permits & permissions, hiring a third party organization that too an accountancy firm to do the proceedings could have easily rectified the technical snags & improved production overall rather than it being only 20% improvement in chakan plant..

    It is only a car and if a person is capable of investing on an XUV500 then I don't think he wouldn't mind shelling that little extra for a tried & tested international brand?? and most of those true hard customers would not have accumulated lakhs of rupees for a car by sheer luck...