Opinion: Is first really best?

    Sometimes it’s wise to let someone else be first, particularly when buying a new automobile

    Published On Jan 23, 2022 07:00:00 AM

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    Opinion: Is first really best?
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    We’ll be in the first month of a new year by the time you read this, which got me thinking about the strange obsession we Indians have with all things first. Glance at the comments section on any popular Indian YouTube channel and you’ll see the joy people seem to get at being the ‘First!’ to drop a comment on a video.
     
    Pointless as this may be, it’s also quite harmless, but the same doesn’t always hold true for our other obsession of being the first to buy a newly launched vehicle. Granted, this can be found well beyond our borders, but that doesn’t make it any less of an unwise thing to do.
     
    As drawn out in last month’s column on Ola’s EV, traditional automobile manufacturers typically take a minimum of three to four years to develop a brand new product. A significant portion of this time is dedicated to rigorous testing – both in the lab and out in the real world. However, despite a manufacturer’s best efforts, things can slip through the cracks and the first lot of customer bikes often end up with teething issues.
     
    With how rigorous the established auto industry has now become, it’s rare that an issue simply wasn’t detected in the testing stage. More often than not, the problem comes down to a faulty component/batch of components from one of the hundreds of suppliers that every manufacturer relies on.
     
    This is something that no manufacturer is immune to. For example, even Honda, with its most revered reputation for engineering and reliability, has already had two recalls for the new H’ness CB350 – one of those being a quite significant transmission issue. There are countless other examples out there, be it the latest hot new Italian sportbike or a compact SUV specially engineered for India by a giant German auto conglomerate. And there are plenty more that you won’t even have heard about if the offending component can easily (and safely) be swapped out at a regular service.
     
    Some manufacturers typically do better than others, and more often than not, the issues are an inconvenience rather than a danger. But either way, these are hassles that can be avoided with one simple action – patience. I am fully aware that this can be extremely hard to do in an era where showing off a new bike on the ‘gram is perhaps more important to some folks than the actual bike itself. However, that doesn’t change the fact that waiting can really be worth it, especially if the bike debuts a brand new engine and chassis platform.
     
    So, how long should you hold on for? Well, ideally, you want to buy the following model year iteration. Manufacturers generally give their bikes small upgrades as the model year changes, even if you don’t hear about these changes. If there are any widely reported issues over the first year, these are generally quietly addressed and fixed through new or redesigned components. If that’s simply way too long for you to wait, give it a few months at the least. That should be enough to hear if there are any repeat issues that the first adopters are facing.

    Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.

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