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Alas, No Respite in Sight

The Indian car industry has been going through a tough time for over a year and we saw a further dip in the sales of new cars in the month of February. Now the Coronavirus has hit the world economy and this, in turn, is adversely affecting the Indian economy which is already in trouble. This means a further drop in car sales.

Crude oil prices have crashed and the price of fuel has dropped by 30 to 40 per cent in the US. However, there has been no reduction in what we pay for petrol and diesel. In fact, the government has increased the duty on fuel to fill their coffers even further.

The manufacturers are going to be stuck with a lot of BS6 cars because they had not factored in the effect of the Coronavirus. Now people are not venturing out and buying a new car would be the last thing on their mind in a situation like this.

The only positive outcome of the virus scare is that the roads are empty and driving is a real pleasure; not the usual bumper-to-bumper pain. Nevertheless, we still have those riding or driving on the wrong side of the road and drivers/riders asking why others should complain when there is hardly any traffic on the road!

At the end of February, I was in Phoenix, Arizona, to drive the new BMW X5 M and I was amazed by the co-operation given us by the local police. They cordoned off the road so that we could do a car-to-car photo shoot without traffic interfering in it.

The X5 had set a benchmark for the segment and now the X5 M takes the performance, handling, and braking to another level. You may read an in-depth first drive report in this issue.

Safety is of paramount importance, so stay indoors and go out only if it is absolutely essential. If possible, travel in your own car and avoid taking flights or using public transport. Stay home, stay safe.


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About the author: Sarmad Kadiri



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