A Photoessay of the Hangout with Honda Event at Bangalore 3rd August 2013.
A Photoessay of the Hangout with Honda Event at Bangalore 3rd August 2013.
It was a nice setting, a Saturday morning in Bengaluru’s weather and driving the pot filled roads. I reach Taj Vivanta not before being introduced midway to Karthik, a privateer rally driver. Very interesting exchanges on motorsports and entrepreneurship follows.
At the venue of Honda Hangout, get to meet those bloggers at arms and the Bloggers Mind team! And we settle after a nice breakfast! I could see cars lined up for the day.
The official itinerary had the normal stuff and we were led through a very long and interesting presentation on the Honda Amaze and how it came to be the car that it is today.
Also got to see a couple of nice Honda television commercials: Check this one!
The Honda Amaze is a greatly conceived car and has the Honda DNA and the Diesel version has the power and sensitivity to a great extent. This is a culmination of studies and insights from ground zero. In one of the answers the team said they had studied some 20 different road bumps to get to the right ride height. The space in the back seats also marks the importance of leg room and they have optimised the boot.
So we were all set, in groups of three people and a member Bloggers Mind. It happened that I was a part of the first car!
All set the first impressions were obvious ones, a grand looking car, nice front grill with trademark Honda Logo the lights were also clear and flowing with the lines, then there was the fog lamps.Oh these cars comes in beautiful colours too!
The back of the car was also very well styled. Looks pretty with the lights on! The chrome band adds to the look.
Look inside is a nice console, would have loved the music system and the AC panel flowing down rather than being two different sets. You will find three colours on the panel , its pretty sleek to an extent, and the plastic look actually makes it little cheap.
Otherwise the dual tone interiors are a delight to soak in. One serious stuff they missed is the BLUE TOOTH! Yes it doesn’t have blue tooth connectivity.
The steering is collapsible ie tiltable, has Airbags, has music controls at your fingertips, so you dont strech yourself in the city riding. On the other hand the seat has a height adjuster, so you know if you are not able to reach the clutch, you know what to do!
The wind shield is a special one with heat control, another amaze-ing feature if you can call it.
I must admit that noise control is par excellence, you would wonder if the car is on, well checked with revs to confirm it.
The ORVMs can be handled from inside and it also has a sporty feel to it with the indicator lights on.
So we were all set to drive and test it to the limits, yeah we mean that!
Before that let me add the cup holders were a delight it actually was able to hold real 2 bottles. The back seat also had bottle holders very amply spaced out.
A tidbit here: The product team actually collected over 200 bottles from the people at office to finalise the size of the holder.
So we hit the road!
The car was responding so well to the city roads!
Very comfortable in 2nd and 3rd gears too, pretty responsive steering and very close turning radius helps you navigate the city, the traffic the signals and the pot holes in abundance.
The verdict is out half way – very nice city car!
So we would be touching the high way to actually try going that extra distance and feel the car.
And here we tested it to limits, just look at the snap below! Its a manual setting in the camera, and i was able to take this shot on the highway, it felt like breeze no hangups and no pretence of being fast!
Pretty nice build I must say! But when I drove I was wondering if we needed an extra bit of power, may be its the light weight on the aluminium engine that makes you feel so! So far its been a great ride and Honda Amazes truly!
The engine is pretty powerful and makes for a great drive in city and also on the highway! A 1.5 L iDTEC gives a 100 ps power! Very peppy and responsive as already discussed.
The boot space is optimum, and you have a nice package from Honda! Altogether a great packaging for the Indian consumers and Amaze does the most important thing in fuel efficiency, we did clock over 18 Kmpl on the go and we had really taken it for a ride literally, while another team did make it at 22.4 kmpl! Thats the one big news you were waiting for. So you have a cool sedan and a nice mileage, did someone ask kitna deti hai?
A very nice package value for money and you will love the Honda tag! Going by the waiting period you know they have done the rightest thing, and they are working overtime to reduce that to a half the time with a third shift at their facility.
A nice Honda Hangout with even the team coming from Product management and the marketing made it awesome, simple because they were all ears to the feedback, and that I would say would make all the difference.
Some offbeat shots below!
Thanks to Bloggers Mind for this wonderful opportunity! Had a great time and will cherish this experience forever. It was different social media experiment taking it offline and discussing things online!
My take on Ambassador was revived once I read this article from Firstpost, and here we go with down memory lane! The following is a blogpost I did in 2005!
While I was driving down the office these cars today caught my attention at the traffic signals. Well I am talking about the white Amby with a siren decorated atop and a sunshade to complement. And the usual red board with golden letters whatever…Commissioner, Judge, Mayor….. So today two such cars caught my imagination.
Here are some facts, Since its inception these cars have been used as the official cars except under very strange circumstances. There are a real show of power especially white ambassador cars and has been in use even now as a the car of the politically powerful. Every farmer makes Ambassador their first car.
With so much to styling and the aerodynamics in car design, Amby has always stood its mite being the same car for almost over thirty years. No major design changes have happened in the car and it keeps going strong. Of course you should not take it face to face with todays cars in terms of sales but I believe it had had its enduring value as a car and more to do with politics. It will be sometime before these cars can be replaced. Just imagine if Laloo Prasad Yadav or anybody comes in a Merc, it will be a real contradiction.
As for safety, this car is the favorite, they even had a campaign running how reliable these cars are since the army is using them out there in the borders and other terrains.
Probably ask Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, he would vouch for the safety of the Amby. Analyst say no other car would have made it through if not for Amby during a grenade attack on the Ex-CM.
Ask some of the best people in tinsel town. they use an Amby, The southern superstars, Rajinikanth and Mamootty still own an Amby and Rajinikath is supposed to be really driving it around.
And abroad there is a Car Rental company in UK which runs only Amby and you wont get it cheap, you got to pay more to go in these cars. Japan also imported these cars for their sturdy ‘design’.
And come to choosing colors, I am reminded of Ford who said ‘any color is fine with me as long as they are black’, but then as for Amby any color is fine as long as it is white.
It rules the roost atleast for a topic like this. And to remind you this year Amby celebrates the fiftieth year in being of service to this nation. Long journey ahead and you could always take your bet on an Amby. It is an enigma on Indian roads, which will last for a lifetime.
(This is a #replug and was posted at http://o3.indiatimes.com/provokingthoughts/archive/2005/09/01/238886.aspx on Sep 01, 2005 )by
This was one of the best moments in my life! Being with the F1 car atop the Khardung La – the highest motorable road in the world!
Thanks RedBull for the opportunity!
So that’s was a pleasant surprise when I heard from Blogadda that I am getting to test the all new Tata Indica Vista D90 the one which is yet to be launched.
The car arrived at my office on that day, was feeling elated, it’s a new car and few people have access to it. The ever smiling Tushar Shah from Tata Motors was my connect for the car.
Very sporty look with a dual tone alloy wheels, and a standard TATA front grill, chrome plated fog lamps (front & rear) and a pretty wide eyes – triple barrel headlamps almost going to the door greeted me at the first look! The car comes with ABS, the airbags as standard, in the car I drove which is spice red it had a contrast roof a black one!
You open the car doors to a wide interiors looking menacingly with the beige interiors adding to the space. You could seat comfortably smug in the bucket seat and with steering tilt adjust it to your convenience.
A look at the steering wheel and you get the smart controls at your finger tips. The music, the phone which can be connected via Blue tooth and much more! A peek into the clean dash board gives you the nice interface on the speedometer and the rpm you rev.
The centrally located dashboard has the 2din music system which has connectivity on USB and also the Blue tooth! You could pair upto 5 devices and the moment you are in the car it will automagically connect you to the device, well you could prioritise the device list.
So you know you got to only think about driving your passionate vehicle and only enjoy the drive. You can pick up the call right from the steering wheel, don’t have to take your hands off anytime.
Just above the console that houses the time machine blinking on the you, is all new Driver Information System. Mindblowing insight into consumer insight is my way of looking at that. It gives you the distance left to the Fuel station, the average mileage that you are clocking at any instant and also the temperature and the time all at alternate clicks of the button.
The leg room is ample for the fornt seat as well as the back seats and the back seat can comfortably seat three people. Behind the seat is a socket for you to charge your electronic devices. Just in case the battery charger is in use near the driver’s console.
The back seat also folds itself to give you more space in case you want at times.
Now you start the car and it responds with a low sound, and you would want to confirm yourself with pushing the accelerator, then you know it’s a diesel engine. Once you get into the driving mode the engine responds so very agile and gets to push faster of course if you have a clear road ahead.
The engine throwing up 90 bhp and with VGT as the state of the heart, responds quickly even at low rpms for you to navigate the city traffic and the traffic signals with ease.
Driving in traffic, it squeezes through cutting corners with the very responsive power steering and the turning radius is awesome to say the least.
The engine responds with a 0-100 kmph in over 15 seconds flat and can touch a top speed of over 150 kmph.
Sometimes intelligence is also at the back of the car like here in D90, where in case its raining your rear wiper will go into action automatically when you are reversing the car. Yeah I had forgot to mention the rear demister too! May be two days later I would have got the wind of the same in Delhi when it rained.
A very nice package from TATA and looking forward to it being a runaway success. A very powerful car in its class and with the host of new features it would be a great steal! I am sure you are gonna enjoy the long drive!
This is a part of Blogadda Sponsored Review Program! (http://blog.blogadda.com/2012/12/27/30-bloggers-review-vista-d90-diesel)
Well that was the headline that was not to be! Micheal Schumacher the seven time World Champion and the Mercedes Team driver went on to finish on top of the Qualifying Session, except that a 5 place grid penalty was hanging right from the last grand prix and would start 6th tomorrow!
It has been quite a while since the fans and the teams have looked to Schumacher to regain his stronghold, and the time has come today when he went on take the pole. Monaco is one of the trickiest circuit in the calendar and just when people were discussing how other teams were doing the best, Mercedes seems to have got it right this time with two of it drivers in a clash of making it to the top three.
Tomorrow it going to be a great day with the order looking very solid and Webber who is now on pole would not want to miss out on such an opportunity especially at Monaco.
Now will wait and watch how it will unfolds tomorrow and with no margin for error the driver who steers a nice drive can be sure of a lights to flag, and yes will it rain????
Here’s my answer to the article titled So Narain, why are you in Formula One?
I couldn’t stop myself from replying to this, most of the readers have already made their views felt. I am sorry I dont know how much you know F1 or for that matter, the financials and how it all works.
If you know how Narain performed on the A1 GP or even the F3 alongside Button, you would have stopped yourself from continuing to trash.
Yes the 107% rule did forbid the team from participating, but you have to know the reasons behind this. The teams at the top for want of running a few seconds faster on a lap spend almost 10 x the money this lower rung teams spend. They get the best of the R&D to support them while these lower rung teams help the wannabe drivers to test and help themselves establish.
Unfortunately there are only 24 drivers today and to be a part of that it makes it absolutely a great achievement. Look at the grid before you write, 6 champions and a whole lot of veterans and then you got to look at the teams. By your logic teams like Williams and even Renault would have to hang up their boots and look for alternatives.
Sportsmen go through some ups and downs but just because you have been out of a race you dont need to take a stand like this.
I dont understand your logic with respect to Pedro de La Rosa, why do you think Narain is inferior to Pedro? Narain hasnt had the luxury of even having 2 full season under his belt. You would not have known why he had to drop put last time? or he had a chance to drive a Minardi long time back.
Or take the case of Adrian Sutil, where is he now after so long a stint with the Force India now Sahara Force India, chances are Narain could have done a better job, its all in the long drives that you do.
And for all those asking why Narain couldn’t make it better than his team mate, let me tell you probably he is/was only one of the driver who had to drive, do the sponsorship bit and do everything on his own unlike the counterparts he has had in other countries. And sometimes even have to read such articles.
The paddock knows Narain for his drive albeit a wild driver with instincts that are fully of those a race driver. But see how Jenson Button was an unsung hero for over 150 GP starts and now he is celebrated. I am sure none of the British Journos would have derided Button after say just one full season and a part season after long.
The most laughable part you have mentioned is about the advertisement. Unfortunately drivers of the low rung teams dont have the luxury of pocketing the money. Especially when we should raise 5 crore to a million in Indian Rupees, while its just a million for others in the world and it helps if you are in Europe to do a Euro transaction.
Nobody has ever told him he is Micheal Schumacher that is a ROFL statement you have made to make you unworthy of what you are writing. Comparing Schumi’ years of experience and just a season needs some humorous instinct.
As for the tag line, the fastest Indian in the world, it was given by the British Press and I still think no one has taken it away from him at least as of now. If there are people who shall do it then of course he can claim that title to be his but that doesn’t change the facts.
Wrong comparisons does more damage than really making critical insights, please back up with what you are writing. Its easy to key in because you hold a view but also be sure that if its held to a mirror you should be able to stand to it.
It is also a matter of jumping the gun, especially in F1 the cars are never equal and the treatment too is never equal even within a team. WIth such a background it would have made better if you had called for Narain in Sahara Force India than this since its Kingfisher’s advertising expense which runs the team in a way.
And if you think you can win races with HRT then I can see you comparing Maruti 800 and a Honda Civic. Only parameter Maruti wins is the price.
My last request to FP please refrain from these style of reporting or ideations, it does no one any good.by
That was a very pleasantly surprising news, when HRT announced the lineup with Pedro De La Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan for the year 2012. I am not going into the specifics of sponsorships especially when even the last year HRT ran with TATA as the main sponsor. A season aborted last year and making a historic appearance during the Indian GP, I remember his exact lines.
Driving in front of the home crowd cheering [me] on is going to be a surreal experience, a once in a lifetime experience and I feel extremely fortunate.
That he could make it irrespective of the competition so hard speaks volume about the confidence in the way he can pull it off. I am not talking about the monetary part, I have had the opportunity to see him at close quarters and let me admit that he has this confidence of pulling it off when people almost have written him off.
I remember even the first season, it was a great debut going by what he has been through, and sponsorship issues which stopped him from racing with the erstwhile Minardi for a couple of races in 2004. It was always his optimistic outlook which saw him in good stead even when the critics wrote him off and that included some of the reporters who were reporting F1 for the first time.
His presence augurs well for F1 in India and most importantly the Indian GP. This will also boost the fortunes of the young drivers especially the likes of Armaan Ebrahim and Aditya Patel and others. Karun ofcourse will be a reserve driver.
In his Q&A on the sidelines of the HRT announcement Narain says F1 is a continued dream…
For me, Formula 1 is a continued dream, it is always ultra-competitive and competing at the pinnacle of the sport is what I love. So I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue living my dream and I have every intention to make the best out of it.
As for the sponsors they will be able to leverage the last year one off sponsorships to a more sustainable year long affair. I am happy to see an Indian on the track who is a cynosure of all eyes in the paddock. In one of my conversations with a F1 driver, he saw Narain as a natural & gifted driver and lets not forget what his team mate at Carlin Motorsports the present day Mc Laren driver Jenson Button had to say. He was in praise of him infact he had beaten Jenson in British F3.
Talking about Carlin Motorsports, I am reminded how close Trevor Carlin was to owning an F1 team and that would have changed Narain’s career in F1 and also the Indian connection would have had far reaching effects. Having said that, lets resign to the fact like what Narain said all’s well that ends well.
With India solidly a part of the F1 calendar we can only hope for the best to happen and wish it had happened a little earlier it would have been far better and more robust Narain with better experience and far better team to contend with.
Lets hope for some real stellar drive from the fastest Indian! This season gives another opportunity for the Indian F1 fan to root for another car apart from the Sahara Force India F1 team.
Now the most important thing which made me blog this post was this part of the Q & A:
Q: How would you define yourself as a driver?
NK: One thing’s for sure – I never give up. I’m here, against all odds and expectations, which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. I have worked incredibly hard, I believe in my ability and know that I am as quick as anyone else out there.
Here’s wishing him all the best and salutation to his never say die attitude which has got him back to where he rightfully belongs.
(Thats Me with Daniel Ricciardio at RBR Speed Street in Delhi!)
I am keeping a promise that I made to myself and this is a beginning of writing about the F1 Teams and the drivers regularly. This year the F1 circus is going to be really huge and we can start imagining that there will be a real contest on the cards. Unless of course that the guys at McLaren and Ferrari don’t take themselves seriously.
The way the seats got filled so early is a good pointer, there are at least a couple of seats undecided as I write this, nevertheless its a heave of sigh for quite a young set of people and of course quite an old set of people – read Pedro La Rosa it is now a settled affair.
The most important point here would be that its is becoming a sort of champions round akin to what we have in our National Racing Championship. All the champions are there when you have Kimi also joining in, it will be fun to watch. I am only sad that Adrian has not been confirmed yet and would be forced to comment if they came together at a corner or if any of them were to be racing together at some point in a race. I wish Webber and Massa also had a chance to be champions so almost half of the grid would be champions.
Now lets see how they stack up, Red Bull remains the same team, and we should only be looking at their style and they can be a great team in the making, I am talking long term. If one team which has the potential to be a threat to Ferrari fan base in the long run without being in the motorsports business, trust me it could be only Red Bull. Not because I was the official blogger, but you should know the branding that Red Bull is capable of and how they were on top in both the forms of racing today – the circuit and the forests, I mean the racing and the rallying they have been there. They are building a loyal fan base, if you have doubt check out their Facebook page with 25 million likes and almost a million people talking about it.
Just check out this article which underlined how Red Bull has now really become the content and media in a way that they are doing a great job of most importantly selling the energy drink. I have been associated with the brand up close, and some of the branding association and the branding on ground is pretty close to the energy drink literally. Take the case of the Red Bull Racing Cans, the students get to make cars out of Red Bull cans and get to do a race like event with trials, qualifying and the race. For the first time when I watched, I didnt know they had a final with all the cars on the grid! In a way as one participant pointed out you had to control the remote very well and aerodynamics can wait, still it was fun to see the cars going all over and you know how they get stuck in a corner and et all. And there are appeals to the Marshals and Chief stewards after the results are announced.
Then the best one happened when I was with Team Red Bull Racing at Khardung La, running an F1 car at 18,380 feet above MSL to be precise is not everyone’s idea of owning an F1 team. Here’s how they make themselves heard and they are loud about that when they do it.
To top it all they had their Kart Fight this season in India. Its a nice way to be there, and I know for sure what they are capable of, setting the trend as they did a few weeks before the Inaugural GP blazing the road at the India Gate.
Once Yohann Setna in a conversation long ago had said, ‘You wont be surprised if you can see Red Bull on anything that moves, motorsports in particular, and most important they have only one product!’
If you can add up all these, they are slowly building up the momentum to be the franchise that everyone would want to associate with. And you can easily do it with so much of action on the ground and off the ground, at the races, rallies and even in the Himalayas!
On the other hand they have a formidable Young Drivers Program, and that’s getting really into the mode. Daniel Ricciardio who will drive for STR is a Red Bull prodigy in their terminology. You get to be the best under Red Bull.
Now back to the teams, Mc Laren and Ferrari have so much at stake atleast start pretneding to be guys, and make a match, while 2011 was boring except a couple of races, we need to see some down to the last race happening this year in 2012. Would be interesting to see someone fail me in that aspect.
Button will continue in his form and Lewis will try a resurrection from the bad times he has had on track and his personal life. Fernando and Massa will be watched eagerly by all the F1 fans and that eventually means Ferrari fans at large.
Then there is Mercedes, with Schumi and Nico they are trying hard and probably they were the ones who tried hard last year. Lotus Renault, we can call them with full honours with the other Renault becoming Caterham, will love to see them challenge the guys on top. Will wait to see how Kimi a part owner too, will play his part and make it happen, we are for sure in for some real fast entertainment. The Iceman is back as an owner/driver at Lotus Renault.
Down the order we have, Force India – Sahara Force India to be honest, only wondering if the Kingfisher’s problem should not rub off on to the team, its been an excellent progress to date for the team. Though I would have loved this team to have an Indian driver in Narain or Karun, I am sceptical of Mallya approving my idea. On that front, I think the erstwhile Lotus Renault did make us look bad when they didnt put Karun in for Indian race giving Mallya a big boost for his idea of Indian drivers not being upto the mark.
Then there is Williams, where are the glorious days Mr. SFW? But I have the highest regards for such an independent team on the grid, lets hope they get some pace and make themselves heard.
Sauber, our Amul’s Brand car if I may call it and then HRT, STR and Marussia to complete the list.
Personally sad to see Sir Richard Branson leave, he is my entrepreneurial hero away from the tech world.
Will write about the teams and the drivers in details in the posts to come.
Till then signing off!
(Indian F1 fan)by
The first Indian Grand Prix had so much in stake for itself. The advertisement or the bad PR of Common Wealth has not been erased from the memory of the public. As the preparations were going on at a racy speed came the Supreme Court order that they move 25% of the ticket sales to a separate bank account till they decided if the sporting event needed a tax cut.
Cut to the party after the successful hosting of the Indian Grand Prix which was attended by the most venerated person Sachin Tendulkar, in a country where Cricket is a religion and God decided to witness the race, it was only fitting that he waived the chequered flag.
One of the most interesting takeaways of this whole exercise is that it has been able to showcase India as a wonderful tourist destination. !ncredible India was bang on as one driver after another went gaga about the Taj, the roads, the food, the pretty Indian women and ofcourse the rickshaw or the tuk-tuk. Sebastian Vettel has vowed to learn the most important words in Hindi so that he would be able to impress a few charming godess as he put it the next time he is in Delhi.
It opened vistas for a lot of event management people albeit only for the month still it did give rise to hope for better days in the near future. The people who had sold their land in the meanwhile had made a killing and are living a luxurious life thanks to this F1 venture of Jaypee.
The success had its effect and it was not without reason. It was a show case par excellence in terms of private party holding an event of this magnitude. For all of us having to tend to disagree with what government working can be like this event with such mass gathering of over 1 lakh plus apart from the volunteers and the men working around the clock to ensure a great event was like raising hope over something’s that we normally don’t take for granted.
It also underlined that the public private partnerships, thought the government was not directly involved, can work wonders for the sports. With the unveiling of the track we have already seen Mercedes open a training academy that’s the first here and third after Germany and China. So it would only spur the motorsports fraternity to test waters and make it a global hub.
It was also nice to see two support races in MRF Championship and JK Tyre Asia Series where all the future racers gave a shot to their dreams not withstanding the machinery they had was not that great, but the spirit was there for all to see. The next year the machine will be all the more bigger and better.
It has also opened up the newly christened iSeries on the lines of the IPL, which has already got enough of media attention and has lined up more almost all the franchise as I write this, the reason is very clear – the series has two of its races at Buddh International Circuit.
Also be rest assured that there will be a lot of Karting races happening and you can actually scout for some new venues which will come up in the days to come since that is the basic breeding ground for kids to enter racing early in their life. Force India already ran a One in a Billion in 7 cities and now Red Bull is doing a Kart Fight in 4 cities.
On a large level the economic benefits of this is yet to be realized to its full potential, while the racing weekend can rake in a lot of tourist and makes for a good tourist festival, the motorsports as an industry will only thrive with so many brand getting into the sponsorship arena.
Take the case of Amul, which partnered Sauber for a one off race sponsorship, gives ample scope for the brands to think global starting with such associations. The other brands like Vodafone and Renault already having tasted the success of being a part of F1 circus will increase their spend to better it the next time. But if you ask me the one brand which walked laughing all the way to the branding bank was Airtel. It made a kill with a branding by being the presenting sponsor – Airtel Indian grand Prix and the rest was history. And I like it when you have two of the most competitive brands in Airtel and Vodafone vying for your mindspace.
So the race has already got cracking with the calendar for next year. With such economic benefits the brands will only be ready not to miss the ship this time.by