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Everything posted by anjan_c2007

  1. This is an outside view of the Maruti Suzuki India Ltd factory located in Gurgaon on the old Delhi- Jaipur highway. A lot can be said by the impressions from outside for any automobile factory.A good thing I noticed is that there are so many bicycles moving around the factory and on the highway.We all are so used to cars, but lets for a while think as to how these people on bicycles help in keeping India green! Maybe, they will upgrade soon, but till then! The first pictures show the Car Despatch Centre gate.There are so many new cars parked inside.Some ACI ian may be the proud owner of one from among these! The main gate is where the action is. Its quite imposing, especially the two letters "Maruti Suzuki", that put India on 4 wheels and makes more than 1 million cars now.Its this main gate that Sanjay Gandhi used to gain his entry into the factory. The employee parking on the roadside (but barricaded)shows cars parked on the factory gate end near the exit, bikes, scooters next and bicycles (there are many bicycles ) towards its entry point. Then comes the entry point for the "Employee Parking". The "Employee Parking" area is between the Despatch gate and the Main gate and as I have said its the bicycles nearest just nearer to the Parking Entry gate, next bikes and then cars just near the parking exit point and very near the Main Gate. Its a parody that the cars parked are of other makes. A few Altos could be sighted however! And the Despatch trucks abound and are parked all along the highway.But the truck parking was quite orderly, with no obstruction or disturbance to the moving traffic. And there is a dealer who has his showroom just very near (not even 1 km away) near the factory. he parks the Test Drive cars outside. I am sure that this dealer receives the upgrades and new models from MSIL factory fresh and first in India. And does he get his cars driven out from the factory or loaded and unloaded from trucks ?These are intriguing questions??? ? anjan_c20072011-06-28 03:29:04
  2. Was driven around in a Tata Winger for about 70 kms very recently. The Winger is passenger friendly and one falls in love at first sight with the machine.The seats are ergonomic.Its more comfy than any other Tata bus (other than the newer breed of A.C. Buses they are making).The one I travelled in, had three seats behind the drivers seat (2+1). So the passenger near the exit door(the door is of the sliding Omni type and opens only to the left) has to exit himself for others to get out or get in. Much like the Standard Herald. There is no exit from the right. The front (driver's)row also has three seats, including the one at the centre.But its wiser to have only two seated in front, unless the passengers are too many.The seat (first row) just behind the driver's seat has to make some compromise with the legroom that abruptly ends due to some mechanicals being covered up by sheet metal.The other rows have better legroom. The bus has a lower ground clearance that is quite OK for city driving and to balance its centre of gravity. Its car like and the traveller feels he's in a SUV or a car at the most. Maybe for rural areas the going will be tough. As I said, the bus is quite comfortable by Tata bus standards, but its nothing so great to speak of. The suspensions need to be bettered to greater levels. This is an executive bus and cannot be left out of the factory with the old time tested and proven, Tata suspension designs. The A.C. is a bore and with seven plus one (driver) passengers, it was not in a position to do its duty properly.There are A.C. vents on the dash, two on the top of the A pillar and the rear unit is the biggest of them all ! Its located on the roof just above the driver's seat row ends. There are vents and the joints marked in the picture had water leaks all of a sudden. Tata for us all ! The dash plastic is a turn off and quite cheap looking. The dash is quite basic and has the glove box located at the centre. The exterior fit and finish is a tad better than the older Wingers, but nothing great to speak of ! The doors need muscle power to get closed- especially the sliding rear door needs a grrreat push to close and especially if there is a trim lady over there to do the job, the driver may say "bannd nahi hua deviji !" (meaning the door ain't closed).The drive is quite OK as the Winger could do 70-80kmph with ease on the expressway with low NVH and overtake many sleeker cars.It was never short of power to do its duty. I liked the running footboard as it was well located and the design is of a detached kind-detached from the body. Dirt accumulating on its can be washed away hence. Overall, its a great effort by Tata but needs to be bettered towards a greater perfection. n. BornFree2011-06-27 14:52:56
  3. Saw the car at the Ambiance Mall, Gurgaon in black. They have displayed an automatic 2.0 L petrol Fluence. When asked they said the price will come to Rs 15 L on road in Gurgaon and for the 1.5 L manual diesel, they said the price will be Rs 14.25 L on road (Gurgaon).At the start these two versions will be launched it appears. The car looks quite chic and the design is too good for a French car. The matured and cool looking design is least expected from the raunchy French designers who mostly get finalised eccentric designs with the least of scrutiny and moderation at higher levels. The Fluence is a welcome change.In the fit and finish department the paintwork and the chrome are quite upmarket. The car has alloys as standard fitment.The boot is cavernous and the car cover is also a giveaway to the buyer it appears.. The dash and the meters have quite an upmarket look. Rear legroom is good. There is another rear AC vent for the back seat passengers (who mostly call the shots in such cars)who have Forward Control (of the driver). The car will compete with the likes of the Altis, Laura, Cruze, Sonata ( where is it now?),Civic and so on and Renault knows that this segment means more profits but the car should click! With the Logan they were treating us as a third world country and with the Fluence, we appear to be on a higher ground - kudos to Mr Carlos Gosn for that. that. BornFree2011-06-26 17:58:52
  4. This is a second death anniversary eve remembrance and tribute to the great KING OF POP! Michael Jackson died owing to a drug overdose on 26/06/2009.Really feel so sad and sorry. His later years were so very bad for him. The allegations came and came and almost annihilated the once vibrant and glamorous personality. Some of these were totally cooked up, all for money and nothing else. I think the phase from 1979 till the early 1990's was the best part of his life. Thriller (1982) was the best thing that happened to him and to the pop music world.Even as a child he was never happy, as he was into some sort of "forced labour" under the autocratic supervision of his father Joe, who made money and more money. His famous and recent Mumbai trip and concert here during his fading years showed the child like persona he was.He had developed an instant rapport with INDIA and all his fans out there who had cheered him. MICHAEL WE MISS YOU A LOT! anjan_c20072011-06-24 02:25:40
  5. A belated HAPPY birthday wish to Manish. Many Happy Returns of the day.
  6. Nice to know that your father will be discharged within a few days.Thats a relief for the whole family. About the 16 lane toll booth at the DL-Haryana border I was told a behind the scene story by a somewhat influential person here in Gurgaon. He said that there are 150,000 cars passing this toll booth every day. Each one is charged Rs 21 for one way. The Build Own Operate and Transfer system has provided the lessee M/s D.S. Constructions (the 8 lane highway maker) a 25 year lease by the NHAI.The lessee has entrusted the job of toll collection to an ex-armyman's company. One of the clauses in the contract is that if there is a huge jam of say nearly 200 cars in a single toll lane, the toll collector must release all the cars without collecting any toll tax to avoid jams and delays. But this is never followed. The categories exempt are the ambulances, VIP cars and motorcades and govt vehicles, commercial vehicles carrying food products, defence vehicles and some other categories that I may have missed here. Another category is the NHAI owned vehicles. So it is amusing that many trucks have got NHAI painted on their bodyline, though these have some other private ownership. Coming to the tag lane, there are many who when in a hurry move into the tag lane because this is a faster lane. If detected without the wanted tag, they are charged Rs 21 but not fined.The person manning this lane is under moral pressure not to waste time and argue with such users because there are cars following the non tag car who may be unnecessarily be delayed. So when in a hurry the tag lane is handy to move out at a brisk pace. I am sure many locals may be aware of such manoeuvrings on the toll lanes by users and the operators.
  7. Whatever said and done, the Brio is a terrific example of the Japanese resilience. The 11/03 earthquake had sent jitters all across the Honda management both in Japan and India.The Indian arm was not sure as to whether it will be able to keep up with the production schedules in the post-launch period. But the committed Japanese have done it and the Brio is coming on the roads soon. The design is a bit off the conventional ones. Look at the staid and conservative lines of the Toyota Etios and the hatch variant.Toyota has not taken any risks whereas Honda has! Owning a Brio will also make a style statement! But the sad part is that the body panels look so chic. Any simple hit or brushing by the rowdy road elements like most of the autos, Tata Aces and many other vehicles in this category will disfigure the lovely Brio and the owner will be poorer by huge amounts (sums which the insurance chaps don't pay).
  8. In Gurgaon the power supply is interrupted nearly five to six times a day. The maximum time is for about 30 minutes, while the minimum is around 10-15 minutes. This is an important auto and IT hub of the country! anjan_c20072011-06-21 13:28:24
  9. Thanks asethi919, TSiVipul and GOLF for the hearty welcome.Golf wish you all the very best for your exams. How is your father now Vipul ? I again wish him a very speedy recovery. Please explain him in a cool way the disadvantages of having the chocobar now at this moment. Patients get restless usually when their point of view is not well taken. I do not have my car here.These people with whom I am associated here are engaging taxis for my movement. Yesterday the driver did not pay toll tax at the Expressway Toll on the DL-Haryana border. I asked him why so? Were Haryana registered cars exempt? He said they pay monthly fees to the toll people and get badges.
  10. Just reached Gurgaon today evening for some work here.This town in the NCR falls on the Delhi- Jaipur Highway. The highway is an expressway and the whole sector along the highway from Palam to this place is full of architecturally ultra modern, high rises and concrete all around. Gurgaon is an auto hub. MSIL, HH, HMSIL,Honda SIEL (in the vicinity)are all here. I had travelled on this highway to Jaipur from Delhi more than two decades back. Even then it had motels and was buzzing with economic activity. Again I had been on this highway about 12 years back. There were a lot of changes with concrete taking over the greenery. But the changes seen today were unbelievable and drastic that has been consistent with our growth. Cannot believe that the founder of Maruti Udyog Ltd., Mr Sanjay Gandhi would drive from Delhi to Gurgaon in his famous green diesel Matador, during the emergency days. A very famous emergency story went on that he got a village that fell en route to Gurgaon shifted because livestock and cattle that loitered on the highway were speed breakers for him.The Haryana government did his job! anjan_c20072011-06-19 17:13:16
  11. Thanks Dr Nishu for the update. Some more details here. The 13 day strike as a majority of us have read or seen in the media, has been called off after a truce was reached between the management and workers. The finer details of the agreement reached are not made public, but the major decisions agreed upon are: - Reinstatement of the 11 dismissed workers, who will be however be subject to a departmental inquiry. -The company has agreed for the constitution of a new union for the Manesar plant. -The workers who participated in the strike will not get paid for the period they did not report for duties- the curt no work no pay logic applies ! Maruti lost a whopping Rs 380 crores for the estimated 12,600 cars that could not be produced.
  12. The Rolls Royce Silver Spirit continued followed by the Bentley Mulsanne:
  13. The strike continued on its 12th day yesterday. The production loss is a whopping 12100 cars! The total monetary loss is pegged at Rs 340 crore. The AITUC has said that the strike could soon spread to other units in the Gurgaon- Manesar-Dharuhera belt. The demand is reinstatement of the 11 dismissed workers and green signal for the formation of a new Union for the MSIL Manesar plant. The Haryana Labour Commission does not want any new labour union to come up. While the MSIL's stance is that they could permit a new union, but with no outsiders as office bearers. Meanwhile MSIL was also toying with the idea of shifting a part of production of the models made in Manesar and resume manufacture at its other facility. Cannot really fathom how that will come by? The impasse is quite a blot to the largely peaceful going MSIL has been having all these years. Meanwhile all the plants of MSIL will be shut for production w.e.f. 20-25 June 2011, for the annual maintenance ritual. Way back in 1984, when they started production at Gurgaon, the Japanese management philosophy and culture was a favourite for the media to write about, discuss and debate. Therein, all workers right from the lowest rung to the Chairman and MD would wear the same grey uniform and go to the same canteen. The Managers and workers would be free to discuss issues. Any worker finding fault anywhere in the assembly line had the power to ring the alarm bell and the production would stop. The concept of
  14. The V-2 ( Vento-Verna ) phobia has taken its toll on the Honda SIEL management. Guess they had to take the nod from the Honda management in Japan. The management is already shattered with the 11/3/2011 quake and the supply of components to the Indian arm, though most of these come from S.E. Asia. There is a domino effect and the just price slashed Jazz prices (first ever by Honda Siel) will be nearer to the newly slashed City as I was reading in the media. However, to overcome this problem they can launch a new combo model CITYJAZZ with the best of both worlds. Having diesels in the range is the only way to taste success in the Indian car market today. Honda has been doing without it for more than a decade, whereas MSIL with no diesel in its armory was shrewd enough to rediscover its family tree via the GM-Fiat route and then get the MJD's.
  15. They have it all Discover 125/135/150, the XCD 125/135, the Pulsar 125/150/180/220? I am not sure which ones I have listed here are being manufactured or not? Its brand confusion at its best by Bajaj. Earlier the Boxer / Platina were entry level bikes followed by the Discover and then the Pulsar. But its not so now.
  16. True sgiitk, West Bengal is also an old and chronic case, where trouble in the Uttarpara works of Hindustan Motors made the management set up plants near Chennai (now used for HM- Mitsubishi cars/SUV's assembly/manufacture). HM also had a plant in Halol ,Gujarat to make Isuzu engines for the Contessa. GM came to India initially with HM as their partners for the Opel Astra. GM later took over that plant (to the best of my knowledge) and now the GM cars/SUV's are manufactured/assembled there.
  17. The newer Maruti plant at Manesar is suffering a production cut because of a strike that has started there since last weekend(Saturday 4th June) .This plant manufactures the A Star, Swift,DZire and the SX4. These are the higher end MSIL models.The Chairman Mr R.C. Bhargava now says that the sales may be hit if the strike continues.The company is already beset with long waiting lists for some of its diesel models.While the Swift and DZire diesel variants have waiting times of 3-4 months, the SX4 diesel has a one and a half month waiting time. The A Star is a favourite for the export market which is likely to be impacted. Yesterday was the fourth day and the production loss was estimated at 3000 units.The company has sacked 11 employees (including 8 office bearers of an unrecognised union) which has now got the nod from the Haryana Labour Commissioner. The plant rolls out 1200 units per day during normal times. On June 4 about 200 workers struck work from the second shift.There is no sign of an immediate breakthrough.The workers are demanding the recognition of a new union "Maruti Suzuki Employees Union" along with retention of casual labourers. At present there is one union "Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union" which is mainly dominated by the workers from its Gurgaon facility.The Manesar workers say their issues are different from those of the Gurgaon plant. Truly so, because they make the premium and mega models and their problems may be of a mega scale and at a premium. The industrial belt around Gurgaon-Manesar is reeling under such labour disputes. The recent Honda (HMSIL) strike ended up in police firing. MSIL is planning expansion of its capacity but the newer plants are being located in Rajasthan. anjan_c20072011-06-08 17:14:50
  18. Today I attended the seventh death anniversary prayers of my close friend Dr Shrikant Ramchandra Jichkar, India's most qualified person (Limca Book of Records), who was killed in a tragic mishap this day seven years ago. For a change I would like to take the scenario back to 02/06/2004- a seven year old incident. The incident makes me very sad, as it is one of the saddest day's in my life. He had gone to attend an associate's marriage near Katol, about 80 kms from Nagpur. While returning at noon he halted at his Gurukulam (managed under the aegis of Swami Dayanand Saraswati) near Bazargaon. He was very god-fearing and observed many rituals.The very day he observed fast and feeling hungry, he asked the driver to revv-up the car so that he could reach home faster.On NH 6 (Mumbai-Kolkata highway via Nagpur) the car was about 40kms away (west) from Nagpur when the speedo had touched about 110-120kmph. A slow moving, truck was ahead and so the driver overtook it rashly (there was an uphill section where the visibility on the other side was nearly zero). To their horror, the Nagpur-Pune ST bus was speeding from the other direction. To duck the bus the driver tried to move his car to the extreme right (off the road), but there was hardly any time. The bus came and hit the Mitsubishi Lancer on its left side. Dr Jichkar, seated on the left side at the rear seat and his close friend Prof Shriram Dhawad seated on the right were killed. The car driver was seriously injured as he was on the other side (right) which was not so badly damaged. Critically injured, the driver soon recovered and was again employed with the Jichkar family. So forgiving they are! But he left the job on his own as he would get traumatizing memories of the gory accident being with them! The news reports say it all! Sadly, my friend had lost the election of 2004 (Lok Sabha) on a Congress ticket from the Ramtek constituency. Had he won it ,he would have been in Delhi attending the first day of the Monsoon Session that began on 02/06/2004. Its fate always that decides what it shall be NEXT! anjan_c20072011-06-02 15:08:17
  19. Sandy its confirmed that the EX has a 75 bhp CRDe power plant. Thanks for the thread and the information. I was having my doubts as the huge 1800Kg body may feel underpowered. But thats true! It is a marketing tact by the company to slot the stripped down version above the Tavera/Bolero/Sumo in the taxi segment. They had launched a stripped down version of the Xylo for the taxi segment. But we don't see that setting the sales chart afire.In fact Xylos are depreciating faster in the second hand car market vis a vis the Scorpio. So the next step was Scorpio has brand equity and who sees the engine after all? "Highway drive karne se ka ghode ki kami driver jheelaga" ."We have given the taxi operator a Scorpio with a lower price tag and an economical powerplant. It has both the front and rear AC vents intact. And if one engages this taxi, all will say "woh to Scorpio mein ghumta hain".This is what M&M may be chanting! The rear AC could not face the M&M eco-butcher's knife as the taxi driver will get all the cool air from the air-con, leaving the passenger who's paying for his or her trip fuming. As I had said, the Bolero VLX CRDe has a 97 bhp engine which could have done the job much better. But we don't know what goes on in the boardroom of the company? The cost factor (ex-showroom price and fuel consumption) may have led to the decision to plonk the crude DI engine now made into a CRDe. True "Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman" but the mannerisms of the crude engine may remain as traces. It was however soothing to know through a road test that noise intrusion into the cabin is minimal. It has no roof rail, no fabric upholstery, no power windows and so on. The power window buttons butchering and "gaib ho jana" gets time to get used to.The hand brake lever travel appears to have been increased, to have a "more efficient" hand brake than the LX,SLX, VLX, A/T. Now henceforth, the M&M Scorpio sales figures will also include this "handicapped" EX and so we will not be able to say exactly how many of the "better and fit" Scorpios are being sold. And at the M&M authorised service stations, more than 70% of those at the customer's waiting lounge are drivers and now the figure may surpass that. I would now suggest M&M to also introduce a higher version above the A/T (with a 16 L plus price tag) with the best of goodies, so that the lowest and the highest versions have at least an 8 L price differential (the price of the EX). That may help them create a world record, wherein the base version comes at half the price of the highest version. Buy two EX's or one A/T GOODYFULL m-HYBRID (if they agree with that nomenclature for the highest version).
  20. Thanks TSVipul for the appreciation. More to come later on! anjan_c20072011-05-29 15:20:25
  21. Some images from the Mercedes Benz company brochure of 1965: