Dial FM to know if you have a SUV



Every year, the union budget that decides in some ways how richer or poorer we will get during the course of the year throws up a fair share of mindboggling policies. Rules that have no precedence, come out as a bolt out of the blue and prima facie, lack any sense of logic. Worse, sometimes they dont even have a sense of humour and only stress how far removed some of our bureaucrats are from reality. Or from technical knowhow.

A few years back, 2006 to be precise, the budget gave us a new definition of what is a small car. It had to be shorter than 4 metres in length and can have engines not bigger than 1.2 litre for petrol and 1.5 litre in diesel. It reeked of prejudice from some quarters and malice from others but by and large and with the advantage of hind-sight, the government got it right.

Yes, it did force manufacturers to prune some of their vehicles and cut the engine sizes. The erstwhile Chevrolet U-VA for example was ready with a 1.4 litre engine. But General Motors had to go back to the drawing board and concoct a smaller engine. Ditto for the Honda Jazz, which is powered by a bigger engine the world over. In these cases, it made these cars less potent as compared to what they should have been but that is a compromise that one has to factor in. The idea to discourage bigger cars as they take more space and are less fuel efficient was, by and large, a correct one.

This year, the government gave us another new definition. That of a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). Here is what the government thinks it is:

* Anything that is more than 4 metres in length.
* That has a ground clearance of more than or equal to 170mm
* Engine size of more than 1.5 litre petrol or diesel
* Should not be a 9 seater or more. So the sundry small buses are ruled out.

To qualify, a vehicle has to meet all the four criteria. The reward for such qualification is 3% more excise duties or an effective rate of 30%. This will make the vehicle fall into the highest excise bracket. Only imported luxury cars attract a higher rate of taxation.

The need to define a SUV has been felt for long and for reasons best known to them, the industry has shied away from it. I had written about it just a couple of months back on how it suits them to not do it. Read here

That the government would turn its attention to this was a sitter. Utility vehicles was the only segment to report a robust set of numbers throughout the last year, up over 50%, when every other segment like most of the economy was tanking (down 5%). A cash starved government thirsty for any extra dough and the vagueness of what is an SUV, exposed the industry to the risk of the policy makers indulging in some hara kiri.

And what a brilliant example of ignorance it has been. For once, nowhere in the world is an SUV defined as such. Yes, length can be a criteria. But 4 metres is a little too short. So can ground clearance. Again 170 mm is hardly anything. Read on and you will know why. Engine size? What has that got to do with a vehicle being an SUV or not. The most important aspect of an SUV–its off roading capabilties has been ignored in totality. Hence, no mention of a four wheel drive option.

So what it has done instead is that there are enough loop holes for some unsuspecting sedans to fall under this category. At the same time, some vehicles largely perceived to be SUVs have escaped.

The SX4 for example, is now an SUV according to the babus. Quite a few of them are driven around in them, maybe thats why. It has a ground clearance in excess of 170mm and an engine that is bigger than 1.5 litre too (for the petrol variant). So too are the Civic and Corolla. In reality, these are anything but SUVs.

The Duster, Quanto and Ertiga however, escape the cane. I do not consider the Ertiga as an SUV either so though unintended, no qualms there. But the Duster is built and marketed as an SUV not only in India but globally. So too the Quanto, which again I think does not make the cut. But Mahindra remains insistent that it is every bit an SUV as a Land Rover. The Duster escapes as its engine size is smaller than 1.5 litre for the diesel variant. The Quanto, because it is shorter than 4 metres.

Having said that, while the industry’s discomfort with this definition that is forced upon them is justified to some extent, I for one, am not complaining. It is a foolish definition but one that this industry deserved. Well done North Block.

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  • Kumars1

    Good work, Vir old boy. Just keep out your anti Hindu rantings.

    [Reply]

    Raj Reply:

    see you can write better without mentioning BJP & modi.
    are you going for a image makeover like modi……

    [Reply]

  • Arunvsh

    Mr. Sanghvi,
    Please tell us whether your name has been cleared from ‘RADIA GATE EPISODE’? Don’t you think it is the write time to share your sins as well?

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  • Abu Ahmed

    I found the description of the Moroccan capital as squeaky clean something to aspire for our own one than anything else here. If given a chance, any community or nation would like to have a clean environment and a better government than the present one they are saddled with – and those communities include all the Arabs, Asians and Africans comprising the third world. Provided their population too should be as much or as less as Morocco’s.

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  • Anonymous

    Everything sounds good, but the “key aspiration” to join the EU rather than the African Union rings a false note. Morocco is in Africa. To want to associate with a rich but distant area rather than join hands with one’s neighbours with the goal of joint progress, doesn’t exactly sound praiseworthy, but rather, opportunistic and selfish.

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    $/G/R ! Reply:

    i would disagre…they no they have better oppurtunities in EU…

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  • Siddharth Kaushal

    very rightly said Zia… im glad there are voices like yours from the Muslim community.

    i think you should use bigger platforms.. why not hold seminars, conferences etc on democracy, islam, constitutionalism… invite Moroccan ambassadors.. Arab ambassadors.. and let the national and international media cover it.

    we need to spread the message of democracy, humanism and justice for all.

    great article.

    Regards
    Siddharth
    http://www.voxmentis.com/

    [Reply]

  • $/G/R !

    if they look at india….am sure they will say no to democracy

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  • RajX

    Unfortunately the “Muslim world” is too bigoted to follow the moroccan model of moderation. Morocco is looked at as an apostate by the “Muslim world” if you go by the press in those places.

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  • azhar Hussain

    1 millions killed in Iraq
    More than a million killed in Afghnistan by Soviet Union and Uncle Sam
    Thousands are being killed Checniya
    More 100,000 killed Kashmir
    Jewish state illegally occupied Palestinian land has been killing them for the past 60 yrs

    Inder you want me to give you more example

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  • azhar Hussain

    So you want him to write about rights of American Indians; untouchables in India or same sex marriage? What would youlike him to talk about, Amit?

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    RajX Reply:

    Or he could write about the lowly status of woman in most Islamic countries. Or he can write about the murders in the name of Islam which happens on a daily basis in Pakistan and around the world or he could write about the ill-treatment and institutionalized discrimination in most Islamic countries against nonmuslims. There are so many things to write.

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  • Anonymous

    Zia,
    I am confused.. you said morrocans with islamic ethos with Europeans aspirations..could you please explain the dichotomy.how can a true muslim subscribe to an European aspiration..which is basically molded around capitalistic economy..no man ..that is life .you choose what you want..f@@k the religion..anyway it is not your choice.you are born into it..pls do not bring this ethos ..it is pure selfish choice of a creature called human.

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    engrich Reply:

    yemcee ,this is called jewish islam.zoinism is promoting homosexuality,interest economy,concept of making money from money and wine.islam stands against all these three evils.our war with them is like war between mangoose and serpent.never finishing.it is war between bhagwan and shaitan.

    but their media has effected us.pahle villian jeetta hai hero at the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Yes yes… pyaara Pakistan being the first where Ahemadiyaas are honoured, Shias are made rulers, Hindus are given prizes, Sikhs are feted and Christians are given Nishan-e-Pakistan

    Wah wah ! !Wah !

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  • engrich

    i million muslims died defending india in 1857.for indian muslims india and islam are like 2 eyes.bith same.

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    RajX Reply:

    Good one

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  • RajX

    What is decent Muslim life style?

    [Reply]

  • RajX

    Are you crazy or just ignorant? Or maybe too brainwashed to accept facts.

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  • engrich

    sarah muslim never do bomb blast in last bomb blast also rss wass caught ,in these as well these notorious are involve.wait.

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  • engrich

    all that is why no hindu want to come india.here hindus are treated as per instructions of manusmiriti.

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roy-Patterson/100003051405591 Roy Patterson

    Like hell they are. Look what is happening to Christians in the Middle East, you fool!!

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  • Anonymous

    Great job on the site, it looks wonderful. I am going to bookmark it and will make sure to visit often

    [Reply]