The Indian automotive industry is finally slotting in a gear, after being stuck in neutral literally for the past couple of months. The Government easing restrictions has meant the wheels of commerce and life are both beginning to rotate again, though the fight is far from over. Previously impossible to imagine, an invisible, unknown virus slammed the brakes of the economy and life hard and has taught us some invaluable lessons. That WFH is possible and can be more productive. That life can be lived with only the ‘essentials’ and that it doesn’t matter who you are in the society – a minister or migrant labourer – you are equally vulnerable. Another lesson COVID-19 has taught us is that the indomitable human spirit cannot be tamed and the show must go on. The world bounced back after the catastrophic Spanish flu 100 years back without any of the technological, medical, media and communication advancements we have today and we are sure to bounce back yet again.
For us at TopGear India, we continued churning out great automotive reads and kept you informed and entertained from Lockdown 1.0 to 4.0, through our website www.topgearmag.in and the magazine as well. We were ready to print our previous issues but chose to go with digital distribution only, given its wider reach during these challenging times. On a positive note, our following on Instagram has skyrocketed during the lockdowns, as our official Instagram handle has crossed 110k followers in less than three months! And we thank you, dear readers, for your unwavering support. We’re finally set to hit the press once again and are raring to hit the roads to ride and rive, having ogled at scale models the past couple of months and only warming our engines in our parking lots.
The automotive industry has been hit severely and April was perhaps the worst time in the past century as manufacturers registered zero sales, but the numbers going up once again. That said, the road ahead is still tough with huge challenges on the supply side as well, not to forget, restrictions and challenges on working at less than half the capacity, social distancing norms and getting the workforce used to the new normal even as the threat of the virus continues to loom large.
We rose to the occasion during the past two months and got the industry together with many though-provoking panel discussions – my favourite of course was when the country heads of Mercedes-Benz India, Audi India, Volvo Car India and Ducati India agreed to come together and engage in conversations and also to learn from each other despite being direct competitors. That’s the true way of saying #wearenthistogther. Just like Adidas and Puma shared Nike’s film, Just Don’t do it on their social media platforms – this shows a very human side, well above our economic interests. With monsoons knocking at our doors and nation beginning to ‘unlock’, my only hope is that we all adapt to our respective ‘new normals’. Stay safe and drive safe – behind the wheel and in the saddle is one of the only escapes we petrolheads have.