The world order has changed. By the time we all come out of the COVID-19 outbreak – and no crystal gazer can circle the date boldly on a calendar – things will be different. For once, people literally might start sleeping in offices after getting tired of WFH (work from home) or corporates could be more relaxed in policies and make WFH compulsory 1-2 days a week! On the positive side this might be the answer to our global climate change battle and will give us empty stretches to accelerate – both in life and on roads. No one in their lifetime – and this applies to whoever is alive now – has seen anything like this. The word ‘pandemic’ was a text book term that has formed the basis for movie scripts, until now that is.
The automotive industry was fighting a slowdown as it is, not to forget the BS6 emission norms hanging over it like a sword of Damocles, but COVID-19’s brutal attack might just push that sword into a clean sweep. Inventories piled up with dealers would have added to the woes by means of mounting interests and colossal rents. To add to it factories have stopped manufacturing due to the lockdown, sentiments are down and buying a car is perhaps the last thing on anyone’s mind. Manufacturers are already feeling that offering any further discounts is akin to a death wish. It’s surely not going to be the end of the world and the wheels of the economy will start rolling again in the next few months, but with jammed brakes. Moreover, after being quarantined for so long, the urge to drive and escape will be at its peak. People will realise the uncertainties of life and want to buy the car or bike they longed for and live with a nicer set of wheels for as long as they do.
This issue for us at BBC TopGear India was no less than having an Aston Martin but with flat tyres. Having just rebooted for our 2.0 version and with only the first issue out, we were just about getting our tyres warmed up, ready to dish out great automotive content. But due to the virus outbreak we’ve missed driving some cars we were really looking forward to, for instance the new generation Honda City, though we did manage to drive a few good cars and SUVs before the lockdown, like the new generation Hyundai Creta that got launched days before the mayhem – the Creta is still beaming in our garage!
We’ve decided to keep our advertising to a minimum and not to print this issue to keep things fair and square and it will be distributed for free via our digital platforms to help you to see the brighter side of things.
For now I will go back to listening to some V10s and V12s and dream of driving on the scintillating roads of the country that has given us brands like Lamborghini and Ferrari and is currently among the most affected by COVID-19. Let’s pray for the world to recover soon and let’s keep the engines off and stay home and stay safe!