What features do you think all manufacturers should copy ?

The latest Auto Car India has an article on features that manufacturers provide which are not useful in India. Reading that lead me thinking about good features that manufacturers should copy and introduce on all vehicles (since they are anyway copying from each other). This list is primarily from vehicles under 15 lakhs (mostly can be found on vehicles less than 8 lakhs in price).


  • Flat dashboard with non reflective surface and anti skid surface allowing small items to be placed there without sliding around
  • A/C vents that can be fully closed
  • Coin holders with soft inside lining that doesn’t rattle
  • Sunglasses holder
  • Cell phone holder on central console/dashboard
  • Glove box big enough to hold more than just a few papers with soft lining to prevent rattling
  • Cooled Glove box
  • Central console/dashboard space big enough to hold Cd’s
  • Front passenger under seat storage. Has to be reasonably sized – otherwise don’t bother. If it is lockable even better.
  • Storage space for 1 litre bottles in door pockets.
  • Netting in boot for luggage/straps
  • Clutch foot rest
  • Clutch lock that requires clutch to be pressed before cranking engine
  • Follow home lighting and theatre style dimming of cabin lights.
  • Lighted ignition key slot on the dashboard and easy to see rather than on the steering column (I know the photo does not have it on the dashboard).
  • Keys that have remote lock/unlock built in.
  • Valet keys that do not open the boot or lockable glove box. You can give these to the valet without worry of your valuables.
  • 60:40 split rear seats with adjustable tilt
  • Double/flat folding rear seats for storage
  • Fully flat reclining front seats – dangerous since they do not secure the passenger in case of an accident or sudden stop, but good for pulling over to the side of the road and catching some Zs.
  • Adjustable seat belt height
  • Height adjustable headrests front and rear
  • Steering mounted audio controls that can work with all stereos !
  • Power windows and remote central locking 
  • Lighted power window and other switches  
  • Auto up/down power windows
  • Power windows that close automatically when the vehicle is locked
  • Anti -pinch power windows
  • Stain proof fabric for seats.
  • Height adjust for driver seat
  • Pedal reach adjust – helpful for short drivers
  • Arm rest for drivers seat and for rear passengers. Armrests with storage space are useful to stow small items.
  • Access to boot through rear seat armrest/console
  • Rear seat/Boot hooks for shopping bags
  • Power adapter in luggage bay/ in reach of rear passenger
  • Middle row tray tables for SUVs/MUVs
  • Sliding middle row seats that move back for more legroom in SUVs & MUVs.
  • Flat folding 3rd row seats for SUVs/MUVs
  • Anti glare rear view mirrors


  • Blind spot convex mirrors.
  • Parking sensors front and rear. I wish there were side sensors too 🙂  (rear camera optional).
  • Roof Rails: Contrary to what ACI says I think Roof Rails for luggage are needed more for hatchbacks than for sedans or SUVS since they have minimal boot space. Well integrated good looking roof rails like the ones on the Chevy Spark but with additional rails to make it functional would make hatchbacks a really practical option for people on a budget not wanting to spend an extra lakh or so for boot space that is used a few times a year.
  • Under body rust proofing & cavity rust proofing from manufacturer included in warranty. Why nag us with it later for every service
  • Well integrated rubber “rubbing” strips around. Body color or close to it would be best.
  • Grab type exterior door handles
    Tilt steering wheel 
  • Lighted engine bay and luggage areas
  • Rear defogger and wash and wipe
  • Outside rear view mirrors on the driver and passenger side should be made mandatory

Engine /Technology 

  • Distance to empty indicator and rpm and speed ranges for maximum mileage. (“Green” driving performance indicators may be too much to ask for but would be good to have.)
  • Tachometers for all trim levels. Teach people to drive for mileage and performance.
  • Automatic time based switch off of roof lamps and headlamps if engine is off unless a specific override like keeping doors open is present.
  • Micro hybrid technology for all cars. Retrofit kits for existing cars if possible
  • Hands free in-car blue tooth kits.
  • Have ABS standardized on all trims. Lowered cost if it is mass produced.
  • Speedometer linked audio systems (automatically reduces volume at lower speeds by a little bit)
  • Speed sensitive steering
  • Radio antenna integrated into rear windshield glass
  • Cruise control for highways. (ACI believe it or not, 0n some of the highways in India we can actually use cruise control.)
  • Central locking which lets you open the doors and hatch/trunk without requiring you to stop the car and give the key to someone, especially for security checks at offices and hotels.
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Make tubeless tires standard. 

Dear Readers:
Can you identify the cars whose features I have listed ? (At least the ones in the pictures I have used.)  
Any good features you have come across that I have missed ?
Source of images: Maruti, Hyundai,  Mahindra, Skoda &  Ford product websites.

My Summer Fling

Oil on canvas
Image via Wikipedia

Wifey if you are reading this I’m sorry you had to find out about it like this but you gave me no other choice. I wish you had not gone away for so long as this wouldn’t have happened. Come back home soon!

Work was annoying, I was bored and needing excitement in life after my wife and son had gone to her parents place in April for a month long break. The break had extended to a two month long break. Usual methods of immersing  myself in books, movies, painting, photography and net surfing were not successful in keeping my attention.

My friend Senthil was partly responsible for getting me into trouble. He showed me the ad on the net with her details and about her needing to meet someone with similar interests and passions. The moment I saw the ad I knew I would be in trouble if I went any further. My mind was working overtime and conjuring up images of what and how she would be like. Knowing fully well what I was getting into I quickly arranged for a meeting with her the very next day. I  didn’t breathe a word of this to anyone at home nor to my wife. I spent the rest of the day at work fantasizing and dreaming about my meeting with her.

Our meeting was to be on a Sunday morning at Ispahani center. I was not ready when the call came that she was to reach Ispahani in 10 minutes. On receiving the call I was ready in 5 minutes and reached there in 5 minutes. I noticed her driving in through the gates of Ispahani center while I was waiting to turn. She was really good looking in a very dignified and uncommonly attractive way and was drawing appreciative glances from many other men as well.  I managed to find a spot next to where she parked. I gave a big smile as I got out and went towards her.

I had never seen her before but I recognized her easily since she looked exactly like I had imagined. I got a good look at her for the first time. She looked much better than the tiny images in her advert. I knew from the ad that she was older than me by around 7 years.I didn’t know her name or any other details other than that she was originally from Chennai but had spent most of her recent past in Kerala and had finally come back to Chennai around a year ago. She seemed pretty calm and relaxed and didn’t seem to have any of the jitters I had.

She was currently with a guy called “J” and had been with him for over a year. Lets call her ‘K’ as that was her first name. 41 years old with a few expected wrinkles on her face but that didn’t detract from her looks. She was in extremely good shape for her age and anyone who saw her would think she was half her age. She obviously was taking good care of J and it looked like J was still in love with her. My first shock was that J was with her that morning and he wanted to first talk before we went any further. We  introduce ourselves and J suggests we take a trip to ECR where we would get some privacy on the fairly less congested roads to get to know each other better.

I was surprised by this turn of events, since all I was thinking was I would get to check her out, get to know her quickly and do what I have been waiting to do with her in some side street and then come back home like nothing happened. I agree quickly and we start off. J me and K. Only problem we had was J trying to drive out through the ‘In’ gate and was stopped by the security staff. They didn’t make too much of a fuss as they were ogling K.  K muttered something under her breath. On the way I hear the story of how they met and how J’s father and uncle had helped him hook up with K. I was amazed… did peoples dads and uncles help like this ? Wow ! J’s uncle even helped J pick out key upgrades to K’s wardrobe and accessories. She seemed totally cool about it.

On the way J showed me a copy of the legal document indicating his relationship with K. Though it was clear they were good together, it looked like they were tired of each other and wanted a change. J seemed to be wanting to get involved with his brothers mistress who was left behind when his brother went abroad. He said this openly in front of K. She didn’t even flinch on hearing it. I thought she has seen many such guys and is no longer surprised. What a family – phew !

I heard some stories of how they came to Chennai and of how J managed to overcome initial resistance of their landlord to having her in the flat with two other guys. Other chit chat also done we reach Thiruvanmiyur bus depot and get onto ECR. I was observing K and listening to her reactions to J’s inputs and orders along the way, she would never disagree but was never subservient to him, seemingly following instructions because of some need of hers to do so.

Finally we get clear of traffic and J feels it is a good place for me to get to know K better. I get to first touch her, feel her and know how she needs to be be touched before we go further. I practise with her for a little bit before venturing any further. My previous experience so far didn’t prepare me for the shock I was in to receive. She was in reality a bit too much for me to handle, a wildcat after lambs. She really did what she felt like regardless of what I told her to do. Keeping up with her was a challenge, one I had not had in any relationship especially my most recent committed relationship of the past 2 years since April 11, 2007.

She seemed very rough and instantly seemed to make everything else before her seem so smooth and soft. The sounds she made in reaction to what I was doing was also very exciting to hear, she would protest only when I was very slow. I felt a sort of need for her that that I have to date not experienced and therefore didn’t know existed. I had to get back home so I reluctantly stopped the fun I was having and returned home alone after taking some pictures of her basking in the sun.

I hope some day to add her or someone like her as my mistress provided my wifey doesn’t object. Before our wedding I had prepared my wife about the possibility I would have one wife and many mistresses, she seemed ok then and has been ok with my current two mistresses.  Maybe 3 is too much, since the question she asks is where will the newest mistress be kept. We don’t have room at home for more than 2 mistresses she says !

Hope you enjoyed reading about my summer fling with the Kaiser Jeep (‘K’) of my friend Joe (Joseph). She is a 1968 Jeep CJ3B short chassis 4×4, RHD.  I got to drive the Jeep for a little bit around 2 weeks ago and have been smitten hard and havn’t been able to look at any other vehicle since. In case you wondered about the date in April, that’s my wedding day to my Swift ;-). Now what is my real wedding date ? Uh-oh !

Here are some pictures of  K:

PS: I thought I would be able to fool/scare my wife and sent a versionof this in email. No scare at all – I get a “LOL” email back and it says that right from the first few words she knew it was about some vehicle !

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Indian Super Hatches Comparison

The market segment of feature filled large size hatchbacks  in India is becoming very exciting with several new model launches planned for the next few months starting with the just launched Ritz in May, Jazz in June and the Punto and Polo soon after. If you were looking at purchasing a large sized Hatchback and puzzled with the options before you, you must have realised the need to do a lot of research to narrow down what fits your budget and your needs.

Suzuki Splash.
Image via Wikipedia
Suzuki Splash photographed in Tokyo Motor Show...
Image via Wikipedia

“Don’t Panic” – help is at hand. I have done the research on the key features, dimensions and specifications of the large hatchbacks available in the Indian market today for you. The focus of my comparison is primarily space,safety and features.  


Vehicles compared:  

  • Skoda Fabia 1.2 Ambiente
  • Hyundai I20 Asta(O)
  • Chevrolet Aveo U-VA 1.2 LT
  • Hyundai Getz Prime 1.3 GLX
  • Indica Vista Saffire Aura
  • Maruti Suzuki Swift ZXI  
  • Maruti Suzuki Ritz ZXI

These are all petrols only to keep the total on road cost under 7 lakhs. Indian Manufacturers have the highest trim levels with safety features only on their petrol models. The Fabia, Getz Prime, Swift & Ritz come in diesel versions as well but are usually not as well equipped (only exception being the Fabia) as the petrol equivalents.These vehicles have a good mix of space, are fairly new on the market and come with basic safety features. (**I have included the Indica Vista in the list only because it was similar in size to the other but feature wise it doesn’t come close).

The attached PDF file has this in an easy to compare format. Do take a look and let me know if you need any additional information. Click here for the PDF file. (I am not affiliated to any of the manufacturers other than through ownership of a Getz and a Swift.)

Do also take a look at these older posts of mine to help you

  1. select your first car
  2. select the best vehicle to upgrade to
  3. determine if you can add specific accessories later or buy them factory installed.

Updated June 14th:

Do also take a look at the following:

  1. Which car is better – the Ritz or the Swift ?
  2. Are you looking for a Diesel Hatchback ? (Comparison of Fabia,Fusion,Vista,Getz,Swift,Ritz, Indica and Palio) 
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Maruti Suzuki Invents Time Travel

To be launched one hour before now ?
To be launched one hour before now ?

I eagerly checked the Maruti Ritz Website this morning for details of the launch. Was very happy to see the counter say coming soon  “8” minutes, then “5” minutes, then “3” , then finally it went into a negative countdown with the screenshot attached with this post.  See the smug looking smiley in the middle of the time ? That’s Maruti smirking at all the suckers hitting refresh on their browser windows waiting for the launch of the Ritz.

Not sure how I can travel back in time to see the launch. Maruti – just say it you have invented a time machine called the Ritz  !

Buy these vehicles in White only if …

TATA Indica-Vista-EV
Image by SOCIALisBETTER via Flickr

If you are a cab/tourist travel /call taxi operator, these are your most favourite vehicles of business:

Call Taxi Favourites:

  • Maruti Suzuki Omni (esp the LPG version)
  • Tata Indica (Indicab version)
  • Hindustan Ambassador

Travels/ Tourist Favourites:

  • Tata Indica (Indica DLS with A/c)
  • Tata Indigo/ Indigo XL
  • Tata Sumo
  • Chevrolet Optra
  • Chevrolet Tavera
  • Ford Ikon 1.8D & Flair
  • Hindustan Ambassador (with A/C)
  • ICML Sonalika Rhino
  • Toyota Qualis
  • Toyota Innova

Possible Future Cabbie Options:  

  • Indica/ Indigo Vista (New lowest end trim just released for the Vista)
  • Hyundai Santro (New Cabbie edition is out)
  • Mahindra Xylo
  • Tata Sumo Grande
  • Maruti D’Zire

**Sad part is even if you buy them in any other color people see them as cabbie vehicles :-).

If you buy the above listed vehicles in white you have to get the following “Must Have” accessories  as well:

  • Annoyingly Loud Horns
  • Blazingly Bright Headlamps and controls to use both horn and light with just a press of the horn to flash the lights non stop and keep honking non stop
  • Terry Towel Seat Covers
  • More Horse Power than Driver IQ ratio
  • Stereo music system with more watts & bass than required
  • Pointless stickers or either the puppy peeping from under the sheet, row of dogs walking, cricket ball breaking window, keychain hanging from keyhole,Ferrari or other exotic car name/logo stickers, NOS, Sports, Racing, Rally etc.

You are eligible to drive a vehicle with the above specifications only if you meet the following must have “Driver Attributes”: 

  • Cro-magnon/Neanderthal intelligence (maximum IQ has to be atleast 20 less than vehicle Horse Power) & features
  • Cat like reflexes – to keep twitching between lanes
  • Bat like vision – to see atleast some things/vehicles on the road
  • Must not be able to hear other road users expletives. Otherwise hearing should be fine.
  • Rhinoceros Spec Skin (to ignore all the curses of all other vehicles). Buffalo spec skin is too thin.
  • Must know how to operate cell phone to keep asking cab company for directions
  • Must know how to navigate vehicle without using brakes but with only horn, lights and accelerator
  • For high end tourist/travels must be fluent in native language and butler style english if foreign customers are to be served. 
  • Be able to sleep and drive. (Work all day/night and sleep whenever a few minutes are free)
  • Be a good runner, to out run mobs on foot after sleep and drive accidents

Any essential points missed out ? Do let me know.


PS: The car in the photo up top is an Indica Vista EV. It has not yet been launched – but when it is launched am sure it will be done with an Indicab trim as well.

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Driving in India

Crank (film)
Image via Wikipedia

In my last post I listed the basic official rules for driving in India. Most of us drive like rules do not exist.  Here is my take on why/how some people drive the way they do in India and why the official road rules are not followed. These are tied to the road rules from my previous post. Why the “Crank” picture ? Read on to find out.

Keep Left:  Some motorists think they are in America since they “Keep Right” and hog the rightmost lane next to the median. Others are probably communist and therefore “Keep Left” and try to vehemently oppose any progress (passing) and want to involve labor unions before any passing even of vehicles is allowed.  The undecided ones keep switching from Left to Right and back and forth or just drive in the middle of the two lanes – simple.

Turning Left:  To turn into a road on the left, they stay close to the far right side of the road and make the turn only at the last minute. Making sure to cut across at least 2 lanes of traffic on a minimum. Reason :  If 3 or more lanes of traffic are cut across, it makes them instant heroes in the eyes of the local pretty damsels (ugly betties actually). After turning, they check if they can scare motorists on that road for a few minutes by driving in their lane before going back to the left side of the road.

Turning Right: When turning onto a road on the right side, they first approach the left side of the road, stop, and wait till a stream of fast moving vehicles approach. Then they show off their daredevilry by cutting across the vehicles speeding towards them. If they didn’t die from being hit by then and the vehicle is still moving, they proceed to cut across the speeding vehicles on the other side of the road. Bonus points if this is done with eyes closed in front of an interstate transport bus.

Passing:  If there is a need to pass traffic proceeding in the same direction, they always pass/overtake on whichever side has less space. Why ? Because the vehicle being passed would never think anyone would pass them there and therefore wouldn’t block the overtaking. Bonus points: Honking at the last minute when realization hits there isn’t enough space and scaring the driver of the vehicle being passed.

There is no ban on passing vehicles ever.  Danger/inconvenience to others is never thought about. All that should be thought of is getting to the destination a whole 5 minutes earlier.  If the driver behind has attempted to overtake – it means he is calling for a race. Allowing him to overtake  is the equivalent of dishonouring favorite family deities.  Proving that the vehicle being overtaken(usually grossly underpowered)  is more than a match for the vehicle attempting to overtake(usually adequately powered) and also preventing  this overtaking at any cost is mandatory. Life and limb of self and others being safe is not relevant – being able to boast of having “raced and beaten a larger and more powerful vehicle” is priceless.

The solid lines in the middle of the road mean nothing. Passing is to be done whenever felt like. Most usually after overtaking a vehicle at 80+ Kmph on hills and corners they may feel the need to slow down and stop at the left side of the road. Suddenly!  To explain this watch the movie “Crank” with Jason Statham . He is injected with a mysterious toxin which will destroy his heart and the only antidote is adrenaline leading to some hard to believe sequences.  I suspect these drivers have been injected with the same toxin and have to keep getting their heart rates as high as possible and then suddenly bring it back down again.

Right of Way: The vehicle that gets in front of traffic has the right of way. This is why all buffoons on small 25cc mopeds can cut across national highways and do a wiggle of the moped in front of high speed streams of cars and trucks. They are in front and therefore get the right of way. Every one else has to stop – they have brakes don’t they ?

Emergency Vehicles:  Fire Service Vehicles and Ambulances are to be allowed free passage only to create space just large enough for a vehicle behind them. Everyone knows that driving close behind the ambulance or fire service vehicle will cut down their commute time. Only stupid people who “do not know how to prosper” move to the side and waste such golden opportunities like some poor sod needing to be taken to the hospital by ambulance since he/she is dying.

Pedestrians:  Pedestrians at zebra crossings (and wherever they feel like crossing the road) play the roles of deer  in a hunting game. The vehicle drivers are hunters and their aim is to spot a good pedestrian at 100 feet and aim for them with the vehicle. (Will Smith in “I am Legend” chases deer in a Mustang GT). Honking repeatedly increases the thrill. Speeds should be as high as the vehicle supports. The pedestrian plays the act of the “deer in headlamps” very well. They also perform classical dance steps that they know, in the middle of the road and demonstrate their deep cultural and artistic background including sublime facial expressions of horror , fear and disgust. Don’t worry it is all an act. The younger ones can put Ussain Bolt to shame the way they dance out of trouble. Older slower pedestrians usually have to be watched out for as they do not play this game well and end up getting hurt. It is not much fun scraping pedestrians off SUV tires and bumpers.

Required Signals: The hand signals to be used are mentioned in point 13 of the rules of the road. People with air conditioned cars cannot keep opening the windows to use the hand signs so they just do not bother to use their vehicle indicators. Very few people in non- air-conditioned vehicles actually have the hands to use the hand signs.  Especially the Auto and bus drivers, these poor souls have to use other limbs to indicate their lane changes. Auto drivers without proper hands usually stick their legs out of whichever side they want to turn to. Sometimes the bus/truck drivers use their big toes pointing out of the bus windows to indicate their intention of turning. If they have fingers left on their hands, a few fingers may also be used to indicate their turning. This is usually done only at night so that people do not notice their disfigurement.

Indicators: Indicator lights can be smashed as soon as the vehicle is bought. This minimizes the need to use the indicators and the battery charge can be saved thereby extending the life of the battery. Pre-smashed indicator lights are a preferred dealer installed option package on large vehicles like buses and trucks and of course autos, and low budget two wheelers. 

“U” Turns:  “U” turns may be done whenever felt like. Doing so when explicitly prohibited by a sign adds a new heightened thrill to the act.  When there is traffic or if it is safe to do so or not is irrelevant. If they felt like taking a “U” turn, they just do it. It’s all cool – they showed their little finger or big toe correct? Then it is a safe turn – why make such a fuss?

Parking: When parking the vehicle they first make sure that it does not cause any inconvenience for themselves or their family. Other road users can figure out for themselves. Basically the goal is to park as close to where they need to go regardless of whether it is the cause of a bottleneck in traffic or cause a traffic jam for everyone else.

Registration: Having vehicle number plates displayed is not advisable in India since the police could actually track people down for prior driving violations. Since it is not legal to drive without plates, make sure the plates rust in such a way that just the outline of the plates and something that looks like a number remains. This is the preferred option for cargo vehicles and trucks. If it is a fancy new vehicle with private plates the previous approach will not work. The nearest “rice writing” expert will be glad to write the registration number on a grain of rice in “Comic Sans MS or Times Roman” font and stick it onto a regulation number plate. Though costlier than the standard number plates this is a novelty plate and will make sure the vehicle stands out. The free magnifying glass provided by the rice writer will come in handy if there is a doubt while trying to locate the vehicle in a parking lot since this is getting really popular.

One Way Roads: On “One Way” roads, if travel is required in the direction indicated on the road signs then things are cool. If the direction of travel is in the opposite direction then either drive in reverse or just drive on the edge of the road – people are cool they will understand the driver is a cool dude who cannot be bothered to drive around half the city because of some stupid one way sign. Just show the peace sign while doing so re-affirms coolness.

Driving in reverse:  Ever since Tyrese Gibson acting as Roman Pearce drove in reverse in “2 Fast 2 Furious” every driver in Chennai has had a secret wish to drive in reverse. They do this every chance they get. Especially on divided highways where the spot for the “U” turn is over 10 feet in the wrong direction our local “Romans” drive in reverse to save a few drops of fuel and therefore save money and the environment. This skill in driving in reverse can also be used for “One Way” streets.

Stop Lines:  Those white lines perpendicular to the flow of traffic are markings on the roads to indicate the starting point for races with other vehicles.  The races are typically multi-segment races all on the same road, I mean track where cars, bikes, cycles, trucks buses can participate. The race starts when the “race” signal lights counting downwards flash “3-2-1-GO” just like in F1, NASCAR etc.  The objective of the race is to reach the next starting point capturing a good pole position. Each and every junction can start a race and our drivers live life “a quarter mile at a time”. Vin Diesel would be so proud if he only knew. Vehicles who have missed a favorable pole position indicate their frustration at a poor starting point by honking at those with a better pole position. Just like the 3rd installment of Fast & Furious featured drift races in Tokyo, Fast & Furious 5 will definitely be based in India and will feature these races.

Noise: Drivers have to keep sounding the horn as that is the only way their safety is assured as their brakes do not work. If someone is honking continuously please – understand they will not be able to avoid an accident unless given way to pass. There are no “no-honking zones” since it is not safe to drive without honking. Sick dudes/dudettes in hospitals should go away to remote villages or the mountains if they want peace and quiet. What will happen to them because of a million honks? They will wake up? Or die? Bah – humbug this whole silence thing is overrated!

Loud exhausts are usually due to mufflers rusting away to create the loud sounds. This is another safety feature as it minimizes the need to keep honking.  I wonder why people make such a fuss about loud exhausts. Only stupid people go pay money to get their exhausts louder and claim to have “tuned” their cars when all that is required is to encourage the natural rusting process. If rusting is not a natural process, people in such cities can resort to poking nice wide holes in the muffler or removing them altogether. It “adds” horsepower 😉 and lots of it and actually more of bull excrement than horse power.

Traffic Lights & Signs:  Obey the traffic signal lights when there are traffic policemen or designated /authorized people present and checking is going on. Otherwise the lights are there to add some color to otherwise boring roads and to kick off races. The amber light is not required at all – removing that from signals across the country would save a lot of power for India. The reds and greens are interchangeable after the cops go home till the time they get back on the beat.

Following Distance: As long as the front bumper has a hairs width gap from the rear bumper of the vehicle in front it is a sufficient gap. If the vehicle in front stops suddenly, the best approach is to loudly and repeatedly accuse the driver of the vehicle in front of “putting sudden brake”.  The person who was driving in front becomes at fault when those magic words are spoken.

Loading: Vehicles should be loaded as much as possible in all possible directions and as long as the vehicle can still move it is fine. Protruding objects like sharp iron rods can be marked by one tiny red hankie or if not found a tiny white polythene cover should do just fine. The sky is really the limit for vertical stacking. Two to three feet to the sides can also be used for loads. All those crazy people who build flyovers and run low cable/telephone wires across the streets need to get their heads examined. Why are they obstructing the free flow of load bearing vehicles just trying to make a living ?

Documents to be carried/ produced on demand: The person driving the vehicle is to always carry just one form of documentation in the form of sufficient amounts of cash in denominations of 10s, 20s, 50s and 100s. As long as this is present no other vehicle documents are required. When these documents are demanded by any Police officer in Uniform, Officers of the Motor Vehicles Department in Uniform or by any officer authorized by the Government, the driver has to start low and start handing out 10s, then 20s etc till such time the thirst of the person demanding the documents is satisfied. The higher the rank of the person demanding the document requires a paper with a higher number written on it to start.

Request: Please do NOT follow these driving practices as this is NOT the way to drive. If you drive this way please do NOT drive a vehicle and just take public transport or do not leave your home until you learn the official rules and really Drive Safe!

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30 Basic Rules of the Road

With new vehicles coming out each day and lot of new drivers behind the wheel, it is imperative that we get back to the basics and make sure we are following the rules and making sure everyone else we know is following the rules. No exceptions – if you are behind the wheel of a car or riding a two wheeler you have to know and follow the rules.  All you new Tata Nano owners and first time drivers – this post is dedicated especially for you.

The source of these rules is the official website of the Department of Road Transport and Highways. The language on the government website is a bit convoluted and difficult to read and the rules are in separate PDF files which makes it tedious to read. I have tried to make the rules easy to understand and have consolidated them all into this post. These rules are referred to as the Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989 and came into effect from the first day of July 1989. Here they are:

  1. Keep Left:  Drive as close to the left side of the road and allow all traffic going in the opposite direction to pass on the right hand side.
  2. Turning Left: When needing to turn onto a road on the left, stay close to the left side of the road and after making the turn continue on the left side of the road. (Do not cut across lanes from the right side of the road and then turn left).
  3. Turning Right: When turning onto a road on the right side, first approach the center of the road as safely as possible and then turn to the right and stay on the left side of the road.
  4. Passing: If there is a need to pass traffic proceeding in the same direction, always pass/overtake them on their right side. The only exception to this would be the case where a vehicle that is trying to turn to the right (and has indicated their intention to turn right) is occupying the center lane and therefore requires passing them on the left side.
  5. Passing Prohibited: Overtaking/passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction is prohibited in the following scenarios:
    1. The passing/overtaking would cause inconvenience or danger to any vehicle proceeding in any direction.
    2. On bends/curves in the road or on hills or there are other obstructions present that prevents a clear view of the road ahead.
    3. If the driver behind the current vehicle has already started to overtake the vehicle
    4. The driver of the vehicle in front has not yet signaled that he may be overtaken. (
      Please Note
      : The solid lines painted on the middle of the road indicate passing is prohibited for as long as the line is a solid line- you will notice them on bridges, curves and where visibility of the road ahead is not present. Overtaking when safe to do so is allowed when the line changes to a dashed line.)
  6. When being Passed/Overtaken by another vehicle: The driver should not speed up or do anything to prevent the other vehicle from passing.
  7. Intersections:  Drivers should slow down when approaching road corners, intersections, junctions or pedestrian crossings and not enter until sure that such an entry will not endanger the safety of pedestrians or people in other vehicles there.
  8. Right of Way: When entering an intersection that is not regulated by a traffic signal or by a traffic policeman and which is an entry onto a main road, the driver of the vehicle is to give right of way to the vehicles already proceeding on that road. In all other cases the driver is to give way to traffic approaching from his right hand side and only then proceed.
  9. Emergency Vehicles:  Fire Service Vehicles and Ambulances are to be allowed free passage and drivers of all other vehicles should move their vehicles to the side of the road to do so.
  10. Pedestrians: Pedestrians have the right of way at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings.
  11. “U” Turns:  “U” turns may be done only when
    1. Not explicitly prohibited by a sign
    2. Only after indicating the turn is being planned either through a hand signal or through the vehicle indicators
    3. After checking the mirrors  to make sure there is no traffic from behind
    4. Checking the road to make sure that there is no other traffic and it is safe to do so.
  12. Required Signals:These are really hand signals are mentioned in point 13 of the rules of the road. Very few people actually know the hand signs and use them.  It is good to learn them and be prepared to use them if you have any issue with your indicator lights or with your brake lights. The hand signs for the following should be followed if the vehicle brake/indicator lights do not work:
    1. When the vehicle is about to slow down
    2. When the vehicle is about to stop
    3. When the vehicle is about to turn to the right side or pass a vehicle on the right
    4. When the vehicle is about to turn to the left
    5. When indicating that it is safe for the vehicle behind to pass
  13. Indicators: The signals indicated in regulation #13 can be simplified by the use of mechanical or electrical devices (indicators).
  14. Parking: When parking the vehicle make sure that it does not cause any danger, obstruction or inconvenience for other road users.
  15. Registration: Loads or goods should not be kept on the vehicle in a manner that obstructs visibility, the headlamps/tail lamps or the registration number of the vehicle. If any obstruction of the registration is done a duplicate is to be kept in a visible spot. […]

JK Tyre Tops JD Power Customer Satisfaction Study

The J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2009 India Original Equipment (OE) Tire Customer Satisfaction Index (TCSI) StudySM  ranks JK Tyre the highest with a score of 811 out of 1000. MRF closely follows at 804. These two are the only companies with scores higher than the Industry average of 798.

The 2009 Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 3,363 new vehicle owners surveyed between 12 and 18 months of ownership. The study was fielded between May and August 2008.

OE Tire Customer Satisfaction Index
OE Tire Customer Satisfaction Index

JD Power Study Findings:

  • The percentage of customers reporting a problem with their original tires has increased from 19 percent in 2008 to 22 percent in 2009.
  • JK Tyre posts the greatest improvement since 2008 among the brands included in the study across all parameters.
  • A notable shift in customer tire maintenance behavior in 2009, compared with 2008 –  increase in the proportion of customers using organized service providers—such as selling dealerships and tire manufacturer stores—rather than roadside tire servicing workshops.
  • Customer satisfaction with original equipment tires has a strong impact on brand loyalty and advocacy for replacement tires. Customers who are highly satisfied (with satisfaction levels averaging above 884) are twice as likely to recommend or repurchase their current tire brand when buying replacement tires, compared with customers who are less satisfied.

Sushil’s thoughts:

  • One has to take these satisfaction numbers with a whole lot of salt and pepper and chillie powder – just 3,363 new vehicle owners were surveyed. Last year in 2008 March to 2009 March Maruti alone sold over 7,00,000 vehicles, and Hyundai and Tata did around 2,00,000 each. This is a very tiny sample of the number of vehicles sold last year. Not anywhere near enough coverage. I would love to find out what the distribution of the above manufacturers vehicles were in the total sample.
  • Is it possible the numbers for JK Tyre have had a positive  impact due to being the OE tires for Maruti Cars ?
  • Is the quality reducing if more people are finding issues ? 19% increasing to 22% ? Not Good !
  • The part about satisfaction determining repeat business –  is it true ? Or just out of laziness/lack of information on the part of the customer ? It is easier to stick to the same brand than more to another ?
  • Few customers actually look into understanding their vehicles tyre specifications and think if  the OE tyres are safe/adequate in the first place. For example the stock Maruti Swift VDI/VXI/LXI trim levels come with 165 wide tyres. These may be adequate for sedate driving in the city but the moment you get onto highways and at higher speeds  it looses grip. However just a few owners of the Swifts have gone in for aftermarket upgrades of the tires.
  • I have to agree with going in for more organized outfits becoming more popular for the maintenance of the tires- this has to be an offshoot of more people going in for new vehicles and sticking to the recommended service intervals and service guidelines. 
  • I have also seen highly educated people with enough money to spare running their vehicles on bald treadless tires just to eke out a few more miles before replacing their tires.   
  • In an emergency the roadside puncturewallah is still sought after. Unless of course you have tubeless tires or have Nitrogen filled tires in which case the fancier repair dudes are required.

Source:  Published by J.D. Power Asia Pacific as part of the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2009 India Original Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study.

Updated : May 5th: AThandapani via Twitter brought up a very valid point that the 18 month duration used in the study doesnt make sense since issues rarely happen with tires in the first 18 months. Unless of course you  have a puncture. Routine issues are rare.

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Shoot/Refresh these cars or this blogger gets hurt !

To ” Shoot” List

The following list of vehicles are old designs and haven’t been refreshed recently, are no longer popular and  sales are really down (under 3000 units per year). Don’t wait to let them die a natural death – shoot them in the head with a well placed bullet and put them out of their miserable sales cycles. 


Teana  (58 sold) – A refresh made it look nice but the price hasn’t been in the sweet spot for buyers. Getting into spitting distance of Mercedes/BMW/Audi. People are going in for those.  

X-Trail (100 sold) – Again not a VFM or a great performer. Has to be replaced either by something with good mud crawling capabilities/looks.



Versa( 1440 sold) – this is to replace the Omni that is still selling 76K units ? Wouldn’t it make sense to kill the Versa and get an engine update for the Omni to make sure it is still compliant with emission norms.

Grand Vitara(270 sold). Maruti has to realize people do not think too much of large Petrol SUVs from Suzuki. Bring some refreshes to the Gypsy/Jimmy with the DDiS and at a good price. That will conquer the market.


Skoda :

Octavia(2910 sold). Giving a 70K discount on this old old model isn’t going to fool anyone. The Laura sold here is sold world over as the Octavia.



Camry(514 sold) – this has to have a price revision/ (be assembled in India) like the Accord to fight Honda. Else forget about the Camry sales.

Land Cruiser Prado( 109 sold).  Just import these for the movie stars and do that through illegal means. Don’t bother publishing sales numbers and do cash transactions only :-).


Hyundai :

Tuscon( 50 sold) – Hyundai hasn’t done well with SUVs anywhere. India is no different. Latest stunt – SRK to move around on one of these during IPL in SA ? Yuck. 

Sonata(486 sold) – Time for a change in the flagship of Hyundai. The Sonata now looks very dated. The “Transform” hasn’t done much. Azera/Genesis anyone ?



Lancer(1570 sold) – Kill this one and bring in the EVO at this price – please. A lot of enthusiasts would gladly donate kidneys for this. (Especially the guy who runs www.virtu.in Madan you reading? )


CRV(2245 sold) – Guess the new shape isn’t to every one’s liking. Too futuristic ? 


The following are low volume cars but as an enthusiast I think they should still be available in India:

BMW 7 Series(279)

Mercedes Benz S-Class(474)


“Die Another Day” List:

The following are models with huge sales % dips YOY. This has to be taken seriously unless the manufacturer wants them to be gradually killed. Most of these haven’t been announced as being chopped. I am suggesting this since these are good cars and have been successful in the past. they could still be given “mouth-to-mouth” of a refresh or value up-gradations and saved to “die another day” :-).


Hindustan Motors:

Ambassador – 5610 units ? Has dropped 34% from last year – it is beginning to look like death might be near for old Methuselah. 50+ years is a long run for  model. Next year it may be on my “Let it die peacefully in its sleep” list. No more discounts/refreshes. Let it become the collector car it is destined to be. Only option – come out with a hot-rod type version with an unheard of amount of power, chopped and lowered. Do not let Dilip Chabbria near it though – some disfigured ugly thing like an ambassador hit by an asteroid (Ambierod) might happen.



SX4  Down 55% – desperately needs the 1.6L diesel engine

Zen Estilo down 35% but still sold 32K units. Discounts and offers may be in order or a mild refresh.



Civic – Down 53% needs a refresh/ value package / discounts


Mahindra Renault:

Logan – Sales are down 48% and Mahindra Renault sold around 13K Logans. The refreshed Logan is needed immediately else Renault can close its existing plant as well. It isn’t helping to see a flip flop from Renault Nissan almost every alternate day on it introducing new models. A clear strategy is required and the models to be launched have to be announced. Buyers will wait if a good car is just a few months away. For. e.g.  a lot of people are waiting for the Splash, Jazz, Grande Punto.



Getz  – Sales now at 9K and down 44%. The price has to be reduced for the diesel. Then watch the Swifts take cover. Hyundai come on wake up at least now. It is still a popular car and I have personally seen people drool over the Getz and go in for the Santro since they couldn’t afford it. The high end Santro comes fully loaded while the base Getz is a tad sparse.



U-VA (6097 sold & down 47%) – The biggest crime of GM to keep the pathetic dated looking U-VA still around. The US has already gone through a refresh of it. am listing it here because of a large decline over last year.

Aveo– Needs a refresh and price adjustment as it sold only 4K and is down 25%. The Fiesta which was launched around the same time has had one refresh and several trim level updates already. Plus the Fiesta has a diesel engine which is still popular. Aveo – at least go get yourself a diesel engine.

Optra– Almost got into my euthanize list as it sold 3204 units and is down 47%. Needs to be reduced in price and space made for the Cruze. I hope the Cruze is as good to drive as it looks.

Tavera   down 35% and sold 13K units. Looks are very dated. Needs to be put out of its misery. Nowadays only cabbies seem to buy it. 



The Palio Stile has shown an increase of 11% over last year but it is still selling a pathetic number – 3679. Am not sure what can be done – other than replace the Palio with something like the Grande Punto at a nice price.


Do you agree with this list ? Or am I smoking something really good ? 🙂 Please let me know.  If you like this post do subscribe to my feed through email or a feed reader.

PS: These numbers are taken from the May 2009 Issue of Autocar India.

For more slice and dice take a look at this PDF I put together to keep this post short.