All the prime minister’s cars

There has been much media comment on whether prime minister-designate Narendra Modi will choose to make the Mahindra Scorpio his vehicle of choice during his tenure as prime minister.

By Brian de Souza calendar 26 May 2014 Views icon19669 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
All the prime minister’s cars

There has been much media comment on whether prime minister-designate Narendra Modi will choose to make the Mahindra Scorpio his vehicle of choice during his tenure as prime minister.

It has been announced that Modi will travel to his swearing-in ceremony in a Scorpio but whether he will use it later remains to be seen. His advisers may suggest that he continue to use the armoured BMWs for security purposes.

The Ambassador was the choice of the previous BJP-regime PM, Mr Vajpayee who then, for safety considerations, gave it up for an armoured BMW. His successor, prime minister Manmohan Singh, continued to use the armoured BMW 7 series.  

All prime ministers before Vajpayee used Ambassadors, India’s own take on the Morris Oxford. In 1973, after the oil price hike courtesy OPEC, Indira Gandhi famously took the horse carriage to work as a symbol of austerity in those heady days.

Last week, HM announced the closure of its Uttapara plant, India’s oldest and possibly Asia’s oldest car making facility, from where the Ambassador rolled out. The land on which this plant was located may well make way for an IT park or housing project.

By opting for a Scorpio, developed indigenously by Mahindra & Mahindra as part of Project IDAM way back in 1998, the suggestion is that it will be a vote of self-reliance. But India’s auto sector is now a globally integrated entity what with India-made cars being exported to over 50 counties.

What if Mr Modi decided to use an armoured Ford EcoSport? It’s totally India-made, aesthetically appealing and may fit his bill. Or a Tata Safari that many a politician uses? A model from Jaguar Land Rover may also fit the bill as it is now an Indian-owned brand making waves in China (with the Range Rover), a country that Modi is said to be an admirer of.  

For now though, the captains of the automotive sector will see what he does for the beleaguered auto sector that saw a 9.5 percent decline in passenger vehicle sales in April 2014. The issues are excise duties, the Automotive Mission Plan, fuel price policy and, above all, a much-needed boost to road infrastructure spending.

Photograph: Mohammed Shafiq               

RELATED ARTICLES
Powering the Future: Charting growth trajectory of India's EV sector

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar16 Apr 2024

As India charts its course towards a greener and more sustainable future, the electrification of the automotive sector i...

Navigating the Surge: Specialised insurance for the rise of EV fleets in India

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar25 Mar 2024

Rakesh Jain, CEO of Reliance General Insurance on how the evolving fleet electric vehicle market is creating demand for...

Fast evolving auto industry needs befitting HR solutions

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar24 Mar 2024

Layam Group's G S Ramesh discusses how some of the HR challenges in startups or even existing companies can be diverse a...