AutoExplosion is the annual event that drives us to transports of delight. However, in our rush to watch the sleek beauties on the ramp, like Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and other artfully spotlighted models, it’s easy to forget that austerity is AAP and flash is down. The state of the economy reminds us of that every day, but to celebrate turbo-charged aspiration, here’s our pick of the best vehicles at the show.
Taurus Bullfinder: A new model from niche player, SP Designs, this calls for a suspension of belief, and a couple of constables, and is aimed at markets with a large bovine population. Since buffaloes have a tendency to get stolen, this vehicle comes with a cow catcher to recover stolen property. SP Designs, floated by Azam Khan, claims that their SUV is more famous than Queen Victoria. Considering she’s been dead for 113 years, that could be a lot of bull.
The WagonA: Redesigned and renamed in honour of its most famous owner, Arvind Kejriwal, this is the people’s car and its latest upgrade is an electric model, which uses power in innovative ways. It also excels in its ability to make sharp U-turns, get out of the tightest of corners, keep everyone guessing whether the driver is going left or right, and the ability to ignore flashing red lights. The last may not be required if there is no light, which is what could happen to the state if the discoms disconnect power supply or Arvind targets streetlights with the same result. The upside is that the car is cheap to run, but the downside is that it is in perpetual danger of losing power if someone pulls the plug.
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The G Class: The high-end model sports three stars and boasts a long and illustrious lineage and exalted reputation among its fans. Earlier models were front wheel drives but, of late, the new models (the S class, R Class and P class) have focused on back seat driving. The P class (for Priyanka) is the latest, and allows the back seat driver to dictate directions to the person in front, just like the S (Sonia) class did for the last 10 years, and is now being phased out. The P class is meant to complement the R (Rahul) Class, and allow him to lead from the front without getting into the soon-to-be-vacated driver’s seat. According to auto industry sources, driverless cars are the way of the future.
The Model T-Front: This is a concept vehicle that has been put together by a group of enthusiasts with very limited success so far in finding adequate market response nationally. It sells in select regions and every five years, there is a strong demand by its joint promoters to being out a new model. Known internally as the Third Front model, it appeals mostly to women drivers, but what holds it back is its antiquated engineering and concepts like Left-hand drive which are closer to the original Model T which was popular over a century ago.
The Namo Sumo: Launched in 2013, it is taking the country by storm, mostly because of the storm over its 2002 model which created a riot when it was unveiled. The new, improved model is a macho off-road vehicle that has outgrown its humble origins and is striving to overcome the defects that the 2002 model had and become a Multi Purpose Vehicle which appeals to a wider audience. Its 56-inch treads give it the first mover advantage but the recent launch of new models in Delhi may eat into its market share.