After driving through craters and finding my way through the traffic filled with Olas and Ubers that zig zag the roads of Mumbai, I reached the place for dinner with a friend of mine. Coming from an automotive background I’m often asked for suggestions and opinions on cars. This was just another day, though more interesting as it turned out. My friend asked for some suggestions as he wished to buy a second hand car. Since, this would be his first car, I said “Go for a Maruti Swift;” Generally, this does the trick as it is well-known, affordable and durable.
However, he wanted better, a car that fits his specific needs. So he replied, “Come on. You can do better. Suggest me something that fits my style.” Now I cannot really make suggestions unless I know what they need it for and their budget. Also it matters if they have prejudice to Japanese, Indian (JLR isn’t Indian, it’s just being taken over), American, Korean, European or British.
“Is your wife prone to car sickness?” I asked him and before he could answer, “How many people are going to be using the car? Do you prefer extra airbags for safety? Are the people using it overweight?” Because these are the things that matter when it comes to choosing a car. If you are prone to car sickness, opt for non-fabric seats. If driving on the highway is routine for you, then you would need those bursting pillows hidden inside your steering and the dash, so that you can thank the modern invention like an airbag for saving your life in case of accidents. I went through a full range of necessary questions and based on his answers told him that the best car for him would be a Honda Civic.
He was convinced about it and we had our dinner assuming that this topic was over for me after that. Two days later, I get a call from him saying “Would you be free to check a Civic that I have shortlisted?” I decided to help him out.
The next morning, I went with him to the dealer’s place who seemed like a guy who never really wanted to run an automobile business but instead wanted to become an accountant. He took us to the parking lot where the car was. We looked around for the car wondering where it was, the dealer said “It’s in front of you.” Now, my friend had already seen the pictures of the car before paying a visit to the dealer, so it was obvious that he would recognize the car. But, even he could not.
There is an interesting story that unfolds about the car odometer after we get in terms with the condition of the car. The part two of the blog deals with how we unearth some truths about the actual condition of the car and what how the car odometer was rigged.
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