Two things happened last month which hold a lot of significance for the Indian automotive space. A raft of amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act have been proposed, which seek to increase traffic fines manifold with an aim to deter motorists from breaking rules. It may not help much, though, as the problem in India is not about lack of regulations, it’s the execution. Mumbai has a severe dearth of traffic police personnel given the number of motorists on our roads. Of course, it is not humanly possible to man every junction, which is where CCTV cameras need to come in. If every motorist knows a fine will reach his/her home when a traffic rule is broken, it may actually be an effective deterrent.
The second big thing was the Goods and Services Tax, which is an all-inclusive replacement for a whole lot of other existing taxes such as sales tax, luxury tax and excise, among others. While this will benefit practically every industry, for car companies, it will offer a more uniform price structure. It will also make it easier to distribute vehicles across regions. Whether prices will reduce post April 1, 2017 (when GST comes into play) is still a mystery. Most industry sources aren’t sure yet, but it looks like those being currently taxed less than the proposed 18 per cent GST will get more expensive while those with higher taxes will get more affordable.
Two significant things also happened at TopGear. We drove the new 718 Cayman, in Sweden, first on a track and then, in the countryside. Porsche’s new-gen ‘baby’ 911 may not look very different, but it’s a changed machine now. All thanks to a smaller, more efficient engine that has also made it quicker. But this car isn’t just about speed. It’s about offering the clinical precision of the world’s most iconic sportscar in a more affordable package. You still feel at home behind its wheel because it makes driving fast child’s play.
If you fancy something more brutal and expensive, we also have an exclusive drive of the Maserati GranTurismo Sport. The Italian luxury carmaker continues to enthral audiences with its array of desirable machines. This two-door monster is no different.
But if coupes are not your thing, Merc’s SLK replacement, the AMG SLC 43, is here as well. Not only has it got a new name, but is blazing quick and more affordable now. Sounds like the type many of us would hunt for.
There are more TG specials in this issue – from a Parsi in Pakistan who collects classic Mercs to riding the Royal Enfield Himalayan where it doesn’t belong – we’ve done what you would expect only this bunch at TopGear to do.