A VIS­UAL DE­LIGHT FOR CAR BUFFS OF ALL AGES

Sunday Express - - CHENNAI - @ Chen­nai

RAIN was not a damp­ener for the Ex­press Auto Expo that was con­ducted at the Chen­nai Trade Cen­tre on Satur­day.

The two-day event was in­au­gu­rated by racer Alisha Ab­dul­lah, and saw vis­i­tors of all ages flock the premises to ad­mire the wide range of cars on dis­play while gath­er­ing knowl­edge about the lat­est in in­no­va­tion and the best fea­tures of each model.

The high­lights of the event were three cars — in vary­ing shades of red — parked right near the en­trance of the ex­hi­bi­tion hall: the fiery Ford Mus­tang, the slick Mercedes AMG C43 coupe, and the ma­jes­tic BMW X6.

As one nav­i­gated their way through the hall, there were high-end lux­ury cars from the likes of Mercedes, BMW, Skoda, Ford, Isuzu, Dat­sun, Hyundai, and Honda. Even lo­cal play­ers like Mahin­dra, Tata and Maruti Suzuki made their pres­ence felt. There was some­thing to suit every bud­get and taste. Apart from the cars, there were a num­ber of two-wheel­ers on dis­play. These in­cluded Honda’s, Vespa’s, and BMW’s range of bikes.

“I am very happy to be here and I wish the expo good luck,” said Alisha Ab­dul­lah, In­dia’s first woman to win a na­tional rac­ing cham­pi­onship, who also said that she adores the Mercedes AMG C43.

The racer is mak­ing a come­back to bike rac­ing af­ter eight years. “It was dif­fi­cult but I man­aged some­how, be­cause four-wheel­ers are very dif­fer­ent as com­pared to bikes, both in terms of tech­nique and skill. It’s very sad that we are not get­ting spon­sors (for women’s rac­ing). It’s a very ex­pen­sive sport and we can’t man­age on our own. Though it’s pop­u­lar, we don’t get enough sup­port from gov­ern­ment or cor­po­rates.”

A num­ber of car en­thu­si­asts at the ex­hi­bi­tion were seen wide-eyed or flash­ing their toothy smiles while tak­ing pic­tures in front of ex­hibits. Some vis­i­tors, like V Na­va­neethan, de­cided to mix work with plea­sure. “I work on the Ford ac­count for Tata Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices,” he said. “I had de­cided to drop by at the expo so that I can un­der­stand the in­no­va­tions be­ing used in up­com­ing ve­hi­cles, and also to gauge the com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket. Since my son is very pas­sion­ate about cars, I brought him along as well. He loves rac­ing cars and re­fused to come to the expo without his toy car.”

Chil­dren were seen hav­ing a field day at the spot, most of them ac­com­pa­nied by par­ents. While the lat­ter dis­cussed things like bud­get and safety, the chil­dren com­pared colours, de­sign and speed.

“My brother loves cars,” said 14-year-old Sanika Manoj. “I have school to- day but since my fa­ther was tak­ing my brother, I tagged along. Af­ter we have a look here, I will get dropped off at school. I am not crazy about cars, but I love look­ing at the colours and like com­par­ing the outer fea­tures of dif­fer­ent cars. My favourite colour is red and I’m happy that as soon as I en­tered, the first three cars were all in beau­ti­ful shades of red.”

While Sanika loves red, her 6-year-old brother Thomas, who not only knows fea­tures of cars but also their prices, prefers blue. To his de­light, there was a BMW X1 in Mediter­ranean blue at the expo.

How­ever, it was not just fun and games at the expo. There were many who came in or­der to find out more about the op­tions avail­able in the mar­ket be­fore mak­ing an in­formed de­ci­sion on which car to buy.

SU­N­ISH P SURENDRAN

Alisha Ab­dul­lah, coun­try’s first fe­male na­tional rac­ing cham­pion, in­au­gu­rat­ing the Ex­press Auto Expo 2017, at Chen­naiTrade Cen­tre |

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