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Changing Tastes and Trends

The Car India Awards for 2023 were presented last month. There were 26 cars vying for the coveted Automobile of the Year Award. Of these, only three were entry-level cars, the remaining 23 were either mid-segment or top-end ones. This shows how the Indian car market has changed over the years. Earlier, majority of the cars would belong to the entry-level segment and there would be only a few luxury cars. Now it is the other way about.

More and more mid- and high-segment cars were launched during the year gone by. Incidentally, manufacturers like Hyundai have stopped manufacturing entry-level cars like the Santro because there are not enough buyers. Secondly, they are not as profitable as sport utility vehicles (SUV).

I did two long-distance drives last month: one to Nagpur, a distance of 700 kilometres, and the other to Goa, a distance of 450 km. The drive from Pune to Nagpur took me six-and-a-half hours. The return from the Tadoba Wildlife Sanctuary to Pune, consisting of a distance of 800 km, took me eight hours on the new expressway, while the drive from Pune to Goa (450 km) took me eight hours. The new Balasaheb Thackeray Samruddhi Expressway is a road comparable to any expressway or motorway in the world; it is truly world-class.

Earlier, I always held the opinion that cruise control was a waste of time in India; not any longer, though. On the new expressway one can click on the cruise control button and just steer the car. It was possible to average over 100 km/h without any stress. The expressway has overhead and underpasses for people and wildlife, for which I would like to congratulate and thank Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. He has done a fantastic job with the new expressway. In contrast, it took me two hours to cross Karad due to the closure of a fly-over bridge on account of road works on my way to Goa.


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