Ed Speak

Evo India - - News - SIRISH CHAN­DRAN @SirishChan­dran sirish@gtop­ub­lish­ing.com

II SAT 16 HOURS ON A plane this month to at­tend my first mo­tor show in North Amer­ica and I can re­port that there is noth­ing much to re­port, ex­cept that the run­ners-up in the World Car of the Year awards pre­sented at the show (A4 and GLC) are In­dia bound. Un­like Europe or Ja­pan there’s very, very lit­tle con­nect be­tween In­dia and the USA, af­ter all, the best-sell­ing ve­hi­cle in Amer­ica for the past 34 years is the Ford F-Se­ries pickup. That’s like us switch­ing over from Al­tos to Xenons! Last year alone, Ford shifted over 7,80,000 of these F-Se­ries trucks, de­spite a slow­down as they strug­gled with alu­minum con­struc­tion and down-sized tur­bocharged en­gines. Mean­while the likes of Chevy, GMC, Dodge, even Toy­ota and Nis­san con­tinue with mas­sive V8 mo­tors, and they’re housed in trucks and sport-utes that are both in­cred­i­bly large and in­cred­i­bly cool look­ing (while be­ing rather av­er­age to drive, I tried them out). Heck only in Amer­ica will you see eco tags on 5-litre V8s; and only in Amer­ica is the Corolla a com­pact and the Camry car­ries a mid-size tag!

No con­nect then, and we’re not miss­ing out on any­thing – ex­cept for those all-Amer­i­can mus­cle cars. Big, gur­gly, low-tech V8s light­ing up the rear tyres and wrapped up in in­sanely de­sir­able body­work. Stick them against a Ger­man sports car – a TT, Z4 or Boxster – and they won’t stand a chance but that’d be miss­ing the point en­tirely. In their own way – the noise, the way the nose lifts when you ac­cel­er­ate hard, the de­vo­tion to quar­ter mile times and that over­whelm­ing mus­cle-car feel – these cars are damn good fun, and when they start at un­der the equiv­a­lent of 20 lakh ru­pees you will for­give the pla­s­ticky in­te­rior and lack of pol­ish. At least we will be get­ting the Mus­tang later this year (though sadly, not the cheap­est but the most ex­pen­sive and lav­ishly equipped pony car) but why doesn’t Chevro­let, who tease us at ev­ery Auto Expo, se­ri­ously look at the Ca­maro and Corvette to re­vive their brand name and im­age? Ho­molo­gate Bum­ble­bee, price it un­der 50 lakh ru­pees and ev­ery­body will be happy. Ah well…

Other thoughts from my two weeks driv­ing around New York and Wash­ing­ton? Amer­ica is a great place to drive. Sure the mo­tor­ways are ar­row straight but get off them and there are lovely roads pass­ing through fab­u­lous coun­try­side that you can stretch a V8 on. Amer­i­cans also love their cars, es­pe­cially their V8s, and with an ap­pro­pri­ately large and gur­gly V8 in the GLE 63 AMG Coupe (which is made in Amer­ica), I had peo­ple nod­ding in agree­ment and even the cops in our West New York neigh­bor­hood com­ing over for a (friendly) chat. We prob­a­bly looked like a bunch of Sil­i­con Val­ley nerds who sold our start-up to Google! Yet for all their love for gas-guz­zlers, Amer­ica is right now at the fore­front of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. I was in Wash­ing­ton when Elon Musk an­nounced the Tesla Model 3 and in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing frenzy, my un­cle threw down 1000 dol­lars to book one, even though he had only seen pic­tures of the car. Tesla is now the Ap­ple of the car world mak­ing cool, sexy cars that can go very fast – the Model X has fal­con-wing doors; the Model S in Lu­di­crous mode (yes, that’s what it is called!) can outrun an Aven­ta­dor on a drag strip. More Amer­i­cans want a Tesla than a Ca­maro. And by the way things are go­ing, we might get the Model 3 in In­dia be­fore the Ca­maro.

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