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Checking in from India and God Bless American roads!

Hey guys. I used to post here long time ago and got some excellent advice from docknick, texases common sense answer and the rest of the gang.

That led me to buy an excellent 2007 Chevy Cobalt 2 door coupe stick shift which I used and enjoyed during my time in the states.

Now I am back in India, my native land…cars over here are much smaller than what is usual in the states. A civic or a cobalt is a small-ish car in the US and it is a medium-large car here. Most cars are Honda Fit sized.

Driving is a pain here…Indian roads are dotted with potholes for extra comfort. Jam packed, it seems as if all 1.2 billion Indians have decided to drive all at once! Rules are made on the fly, red lights are negotiable, driving lanes are non existent and road rage is a common occurrence. Given the incidence of road rage in New Delhi, where I live, thank God Indians don’t have guns like in the US!!

The Tata Nano is a style statement for the richest Indians. But, the target market, lower middle class Indians havent taken to it as well as Tata hoped, because of the worlds cheapest tag.

Most popular in India are Suzuki cars. They made an excellent decision in the early 80s to partner with the old soviet style state owned car company, thereby getting a 30 year head start in India, on the rest of the pack. The next most popular car here is Hyundai.

India is a big small car export hub; the southern tip of India, Chennai has very large automotive clusters.

BMW and Mercedes sell at 250% of the equivalent price in the US. And they’re made in India, to Indian specs, having usually 100 bhp less than the same model of BMW in the US. Its strange that they are able to get away with such a premium price. All the same, sales of BMW are booming and it surprises me as to how many people have a BMW.

All in all, its great to be back home…at the same time I miss my home of the past 4 years in Houston.

Best wishes to all you good folk in the States. You guys do a great job of helping people.

cheers!

Good luck and happy driving to you back in your home country. Thanks for reminding us how good we have it, road-wise, here in the US.

Everyone’s just a mouse click away. I was reading an artilcle about the Royal Enfield motorcycles and found out they have been made in India since they went belly up in England. See many of them around?

What do you drive now? How does it compare to your Cobalt?

Thanks for the interesting report. I’d read that about the Nano. A shame, as it is cleverly engineered. There was talk about bringing an enlarged Nano to the US, but I’ve heard nothing of late. I suspect people here wouldn’t go for it, either. Some people still remember the Yugo. No one fondly.

^^^

I see many Enfield Bullets around. They are an excellent , poor man’s Harley Davidson, and I will encourage the average American reader to take a test drive or buy one. The average Enfield Bullet is around 2000 USD in India. Solid build, the earlier versions had cast iron cyclinders. Very old style. I test drove a few weeks back, and some of the models even had an AMPs meter for the battery! Very old school. Fuel indicator was non existent----does anyone here know about the “Reserve” tank concept? Its a little tank-within the larger petrol tank that many two wheelers possess. When you run out of fuel and your vehicle stops, is when you switch your reserve fuel switch ON and use it to get to the nearest gas station.

Enfield Bullets are wasted on Indian roads. They would be excellent for america.

To be honest, and the avg. american reader can use this as a call out…why dont more people in the states ride bikes? If you compare to the safety of bike riding in India, American roads are infinitely safer.
And bikes are far more fuel efficient, fun, and easy to park.

^^^ The cobalt was my baby, my first car that I bought with my own money. I drove it from Houston to Boston and back, and just loved every inch of it. It was my constant companion in the otherwise solitary life I led in the US of A. So you can guess that my feelings for the 150 hp Cobalt stick shift on the wide open smooth roads in America will be far more positive than my current Suzuki Swift (60 hp?) stick shift OR my Honda Civic Auto (118 hp) on Indian, slow as New York City -but-worse- roads

The Cobalt , hands down. Even though the Suzuki and the Honda are probably more reliable…the Indian traffic experience is horrible. Indians use a combination of roads, railways and air…Americans dont use railways and hence the emphasis on roads in the US.

As an aside, the Indian Railways don’t have the white elephant High Speed Rail that the Chinese love to build, are shoddily run and dirty, but , but , but, they are the number 1 in the world for transporting the largest number of people-miles annually for the lowest price possible. Far more efficient transport than in China. A very strong and old Indian/British institution.

^^^

The Nano is a wonder of design engineering. Very well made, designed. Small things like having 3 lug nuts instead of 4, having a rear engine, and many other cost cutting advancements, it is a modern wonder. The end on road price varies from 2500-2900 USD. Fantastic achievement. Now all they need are the sales!

Also, Tata, like GM in the 80s is a truck manufacturer that has been making cars only since the 90s. They do not have the millions of man hours of practice in making small engines that the Honda’s had, making motorcycle engines. Hence their stuff will always be lower in quality, and Jaguar Land Rover ain’t going to teach them reliability engineering , I don’t think ! :smiley:

Still, I would buy it anyday over a ripped off and reverse engineering Chinese Chery QQ (Chevy beat/ spark Daewoo Matiz)

I dont think it will be introduced to the US, at least not at the moment. However, I think its a DAMN good platform for something like an electric drivetrain. The Chevy Volt is 40,000 USD out of which I would think 20,000 USD is the additional cost for the battery associated stuff. (lets assume) . Lets again assume that the Nano after meeting US crash requirements is around 5000 USD.

25000 USD for an electric car sounds MUCH better to me than the 40000 that the Chevy Volt currently costs, or the 32000 that the Nissan leaf costs. And then after the tax break, 15000 USD is a mouth watering price for the Nano EV, I would think…what are your opinions on this matter??

houstonrice
Several years ago I spent a month touring Northern India on a Bullet. We rode from Shimla to the Nubra Valley and ended in Shrinigar. Yours is an enchanting and challenging Country. Everywhere I was impressed by people’s industry, ingenuity and friendliness. IMO the Bullet is the absolute best way to travel India. The Bullet is comfortable, stable, and will thump a rider and 70lbs of gear through most anything. We were able to get around miles of traffic backed up behind stuck Tatas and were always the first through roads closed by landslides and washouts. Respect to you and your countrymen.
Julay

Link to part of our ride down Zoji La:

The fuel reserve: The petrol tap has two pipes in the tank, one higher, one lower. You run until the fuel drops to the higher pipe, then switch to the lower (reserve).

^^^
Thats pretty adventurous of you. I was in Amarnath last month, and it was a terrifyingly achingly beautiful experience.

To all; The Himalayays and Tibet are no mans land. Tough mountainous terrain, inhospitable as hell. There’s a reason why people do not stay there.