Most Popular Vehicle Colors – 2000 to 2008

DuPont  releases data on vehicle color popularity for major markets across the world and in 2008 have included India data separately. I hope it will be tracked going forward as well.  Here is the DuPont report for 2008. Lots of interesting data point there including variants on core color types, finishing, textures etc. While mentioning the textures something very interesting is Chrome finish paint. An example is seen here.

They have been tracking such data for US, Europe and Japan for close to ten years now. Though they haven’t given it in one single chart – Zimbly Cars spent the time to collate it from data made public by DuPont.  Here is the trend for the past 8 years. 


**2001 – I wasn’t able to find data for this year on the net – if anyone has it or knows someone in DuPont please let me know.

The most popular colors over the past 8 years for cars are White, Silver, Black and Blue. These have been fairly consistent and have not lost their charm over time.


Red has been a consistent color with no changes in popularity since 2004. Grey has been steadily increasing in popularity since 2004 and may be a serious contender to Black.

Black though considered a timeless color went through a small dip in popularity between 2002 and 2005 but has been increasing in popularity since 2005.


Running Costs – Nano Vs Competition

Tata Nano -- 2500$ Car Launched In Auto Expo 2...
age via Wikipedia

I came across an article  in Money Today that talked about the running costs of the Tata Nano compared to the Maruti 800, the Santro and the Swift.  It was a very interesting read especially since I was wanting to put up a running cost calculator of my own on this website. I felt a better comparison would be of the Tata Nano with the Maruti Suzuki 800, the Maruti Suzuki Alto, the Maruti Suzuki Omni, the base Hyundai Santro and the Tata Indica Xeta GL. These are the 5 cheapest vehicles currently available. I feel there is no point comparing it with the Swift. The only true comparison is with the M800. The others are much costlier.

I have used Chennai prices as my reference. Insurance values come from For registration and life tax have used a standard 8%. I have used a different way to calculate costs and have added some parameters as well. Of course most of the parameters may need to be tweaked for actual use but hope this gives an idea.

Please click on the below image to view the comparison chart.


For 3 years the Nano has the lowest running cost with the 800 close behind. The Alto and the Omni are very similarly priced while the Santro and Xeta are also similarly positioned.

graphrunning1Of course the maintenance costs of the Tata Nano still need to be seen. Hope the quality of the finished vehicle will be decent enough.

Am still working on an online running cost calculator. Will add it in when I am done with it. Till then do let me know your comments on this comparison.  If you feel like you could also play with the excel I used to create it runningcostcalculator.

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Indian Market – New Vehicles Available (Part 1)

I have always been curious about the mass of information available in Auto magazines and the Internet on the various vehicle brands, models, variants, body-styles and price segments currently available in India.  I realized there was a lot of reference material available but nothing consolidated in one place. So I went about collecting as much as I could. So here it goes- My study on new vehicle types currently available for a buyer in the Indian market and primarily focused on Chennai. Most prices used are Chennai ex-showroom prices with some vehicles using a Mumbai price. I spent some time trying to categorize the vehicles by their price brackets and found it wasn’t easy to do but here’s my shot at it. 

A Maruti 800
Image via Wikipedia

 I call the various groups “segments” just to minimize confusion and they start at A with the cheapest and smallest vehicles with the least number of features and move through B, C and D where the cost , size and feature list increases.Beyond a price of 25 Lakhs I have called the segment as a “Z” segment which comprises the true luxury vehicles available in India.

The ASegment starts off currently with the Maruti 800 – but soon I will have to update it with the Tata Nano.

This grouping will be used all through my subsequent posts. Have a look at the following graph for the starting price points for the various segments and a more detailed sub section as well.



Accessorizing The Nano

If you are planning to buy a Tata Nano and want help deciding how to accessorize it-read on…

A lot depends on the trim level you plan to buy. If you go in for the base version, you spend less on the car upfront and have money to spare to accessorize. You could also go in for a middle-of-the-road variant as well and accessorize accordingly. If you can afford the top of the line variant and still are not satisfied with the accessories, you may want to look at a costlier car :-).

The 3 variants details known as of now are (Source:,

Tata NANO at the Auto Expo 2008
Image via Wikipedia

Base ( On Road Price  Approx: Rs. 1,10,000)

    Seat Belts (ELR Front, Static Rear)
    Engine opening through rear bumper
    Speedometer and Odometer
    High mounted Rear Stop lamp
    Centrally placed exhaust
    Only Driver’s seat adjust-sliding and reclining
    Fixed front passenger seat
    Folding Rear Seats
    2-Spoke Steering wheel
    Grey bumpers and interiors
    Driver side outside rear view mirror

CX(Adds the following on the Base)( On Road Price  Approx: Rs. 1,30,000)

    HVAC (Air conditioner with heater)
    Tinted Glass
    Both Driver and Co-driver seats slide and recline
    2 tone grey interiors and seats
    Optional Metallic paint.
    Hopefully the CX gets body colored bumpers.

LX (Along with the features of Base CX Adds the following)( On Road Price  Approx: Rs. 1,60,000)

    Front Power windows
    Central Locking
    Front and Rear fog lamps
    3-Spoke Steering wheel
    Moulded door trim with fabric inserts
    Floor console with glass holder
    Anti-Glare inside rear view mirror
    Sun-visors on both sides

You have to define your vehicle budget as the first step. Based on that you

Tata Nano
Image via Wikipedia

can determine what you need to or what you  can add on as an accessory. Also decide if you have that sum all at once or if you need to spread it over a period of time.
For an all-at-once deal you could either spend it all on ICE and interiors, exteriors or on performance options or on a mix of it all. For a bit at a time you may want to do the exterior at one time, interior at another etc.


Factory installed options (must do at booking time):
The stop start technology is a must have in addition to getting a diesel if this is at all given as a factory option. This would improve mileage by a great deal. As of now only the petrol’s will be launched.

Must have exterior list:
Get exterior rear-view mirrors to make sure you are aware of what traffic is there outside. A single one shouldn’t cost more than Rs. 500. (Required on all models from Base upwards)

Must have interior:
Music system and a set of 4 speakers. This on a minimum would cost you around Rs. 8, 000.


When upgrading your existing car

The options available to a buyer have increased many-fold from early days where India had only the Fiat & Ambassador to choose from.This post attempts to help a buyer who already has owned a vehicle for some time and is looking to upgrade/change the vehicle. The way society/your peer group works you are expected to go on a path of A segment to B segment to C to D each  time you look for a new vehicle. This approach is fine for someone with money and not very clear requirements and just wanting to ape the peer group.

 This post is not for them but for someone who has a budget limiting them and for with a lot of unclear requirements. This is for someone having to squeeze out the last bit of value from their hard earned money.

Most usually you are changing your vehicle because you need more space. Be clear if you want interior space or luggage space or space for more passengers. 

If you just need interiors that are roomy you can choose from a large tall-boy or B+ segment hatch which is still cheaper than most sedans. (  Hyundai GetzHyundai I10,  Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R,  Maruti Suzuki Swift ).

 2nd generation Suzuki Swift(2004 - 2007)
Image via Wikipedia

If you need luggage space then a vehicle with a proper boot is required while if you need to ferry many people a mini-van /SUV is required.

Longer drives with luggage and mainly adult passengers may need a sedan or  SUV / MUV while 2 adults and 2 children a hatchback may still be fine.

Frequent Long trips/road trips for multiple days warrant a look at SUV / MUV/minivans. (  Mahindra Bolero , Mahindra Scorpio, Mahindra Xylo , Tata Sumo, Tata Sumo Grande , Tata Safari, Toyota Innova, Chevrolet Tavera )

2006 Toyota Innova
Image by Shanghai Daddy via Flickr


 Is there a vehicle that appeals to you in the list meeting all or most of your requirements? If there is you are lucky – just take a test drive to make sure.

If you had issues/missed features in your prior vehicle try looking for options that overcome those limits. For e.g. you didn’t have power windows & central locking on your first car and got tired of rolling up the windows and checking the doors were locked each time – you should look at a car with all of these.

Choose a color that you yearned for while you were driving your previous vehicle and for better exterior finishes. Maybe try a switch from a metallic color to non metallic color or vice versa. Or try a bright/bold color after a dull one. (I have made such a switch from driving boring silver cars one after the other to bright red and bright blue –

Tata Sumo
Image via Wikipedia

makes finding your car in a large parking lot very easy).

Look for better quality/ looking/feeling interiors. Nowadays beige or two tone interiors are available instead of the usual dull grey. If your car will need to withstand a lot of rough use you may be better off with grey interiors since beige ones look dirty with rough use.