Maruti Suzuki Baleno Price Chennai

The rugged roads are a disaster, the honking deafening, and the distance to the car in front is just 20 centimeters. There are nicer cities to drive in than New Delhi. But our bus driver Vijai wears white gloves, a fancy uniform and is not to be brought from the rest. When it comes to the economic miracle, everyone talks about China – and India. The Asian subcontinent is the expected growth market of the next decades. While in Europe or North America there is likely to be only cutthroat competition in most sectors, India in particular is right at the top of many companies’ wish lists. Car manufacturer BMW is no exception. After the Bavarians, who are accustomed to success, have already made themselves comfortable in Thailand and China with a production facility, India is now following suit. German luxury in battered India But how can one imagine a luxurious BMW 530i or a sporty 320 on the devastated streets of megacities like Chennai or Dehli? The street scene is dominated by completely different models. Buses, which even in Central African states would have long since met their end, are encountered at every corner – hopelessly overcrowded. The best-selling car, apart from numerous Mahindra off-road vehicles, seems to be the Suzuki Alto. In Europe, it has been a perennial slow seller for years and has now disappeared from the German model portfolio, but the small four-door car is very popular on the streets of Delhi. Suzuki is a big player in India, more important than Volkswagen here. Together with Maruti, the Japanese have founded a joint venture. The dented rear covers of models such as the Alto, SJ or Baleno therefore each bear the name Suzuki Maruti – proof that the models come from within the country. They share this with over 95 percent of all Indian vehicles. One reason is the staggering punitive tariffs. If an economic good such as a car is imported from abroad, the Indian government adds a whopping 60 percent on top. Taxes add another 50 percent. It’s no wonder that Indians drive almost exclusively domestic vehicles. Nothing works without a horn – nothing at all! The Indian’s favorite child is his horn. More than a third of all vehicles animate those behind them to honk loudly by means of clearly visible lettering on the rear. Unthinkable in Europe, but in the Asian state most clocks go differently. The cars are cheap, costing mostly between 3,000 and 6,000 euros when new, and are preferably passed on within the family. “There is no real used car market here,” explains Peter Kronschnabl, president of BMW India, “cars change hands between generations.” India has more than 1.1 billion inhabitants, but just 1.2 million cars. That number is expected to roughly double by 2015. Here, German, Japanese and Korean manufacturers in particular are hoping for a flourishing business. One reason for the poor supply of vehicles is the structure of the country. More than 70 percent of all Indians live in rural areas. Automobiles hardly play a role here. Most Indians travel on foot, by bicycle or in shared cabs. The streets outside the metropolises look accordingly. But even in megacities like Chennai, Dehli, Mumbai, Bangalore or Kolkata, the automotive infrastructure is only rudimentary. However, construction is going on at every corner – around the clock. The love of the Ambassador And yet Indians are extremely car-savvy. For more than 50 years, the top dog has been the Ambassador, which not only serves as a cab, but also as a private endurance runner that populates the streets by the hundreds of thousands. The Ambassador, which is mostly driven as a simple classic version, originated with the British car manufacturer Morris. Since 1955, Hindustan Motors near the former Calcutta has been building the cars without making major changes to the former British design. It is cheap, uncomfortable and belongs to India like the Taj Mahal. Indians love to personalize their cars. Instead of aluminum rims, spoilers and navigation systems, their own favorites are fitted out with curtains, crochet and miniature temples, cherished and cared for. Once the car has been consecrated, the driver seems to have lost all respect for traffic and turmoil. Only the pilots of the yellow-green cab tricycles are even less afraid of contact with sheet metal and jump from gap to gap. What are markings anyway? Lanes are not even declaratory in India, and contact with the neighbor’s bumper is sought with preference all around. At traffic circles, it’s no surprise to see two cyclists and a bullock cart making their way between dozens of wildly honking vehicles – often in the dark and, of course, completely unlit. The fact that so little happens seems to be rooted in Indian composure. On expressways, however, the law of the jungle reigns supreme. When trucks or buses come honking at a brisk gallop, the squad of mobile traffic obstructors reluctantly makes room, but ultimately does. Honking is as much a part of driving as braking, accelerating and signaling. If you don’t honk, you’ve already lost; so you shouldn’t even take your finger off the horn button. Otherwise you won’t be stuck in a traffic jam for hours, but for days. Every Indian has sat in an Ambassador at some point in his life. Whether at the wheel, on the sagging passenger seat, or in the rumbling rear, it doesn’t matter: the automotive driving experience is limited in every seat. But Indians love their Ambassador, a high-legged and virtually indestructible car that still harks back to the old Morris Oxford Series III from the late 1950s. There’s not a Bollywood movie in which it doesn’t swarm boldly through the streets. And India’s cab world is also dominated by the mostly miserably equipped Ambassador Classic. Ritai has been a cab driver for ten years. He swears by the Ambassador with its charismatic shape, “because it’s not only cheap, but can also be repaired at every corner.” In his birthplace some 200 kilometers east of New Delhi, hardly anyone drives a car. “There are a number of trucks and old tractors, but hardly any private cars. If you see a car, it’s an Ambassador. It’s always been that way,” says the 38-year-old Indian. He has lived on the outskirts of old Delhi for a long time and chauffeurs his yellow-and-black Ambassador safely through the streets of the city of 14 million people day after day and night after night. Even if in the turbulent and mostly unmanageable street chaos of New Delhi bumper to bumper is permanently fought: Ritai has been driving accident-free for many years. More or less: The small dents on the chrome-plated bumper are of no further interest. When it is waiting for customers not far from the diplomatic quarter, the Morris descendant is cleaned and polished for all it’s worth. A whole arsenal of rags and cleaning agents populates the unattractive trunk. It hardly deserves the name, because most of the volume is taken up by an additional gas tank. Like most three-wheeled cabs, many cab drivers rely on CNG – compressed natural gas – and display this confidently with lettering at the rear. On many cabs, there is another message: “Caution – Powerbrakes”. A laughing matter by European standards. But anyone who has experienced how long it takes an overloaded vintage bus or a run-down Mahindra off-roader to come to a standstill understands the notice as a serious warning. Armored car The Ambassador’s gas engine has nothing to do with environmental protection. In fact, gas is much cheaper than gasoline or diesel, even in India. Nevertheless, the latest Ambassador generations are powered by a 1.8 liter prechamber diesel from Isuzu. With less than 60 hp, the performance is unspectacular, but suitable for everyday use. In India, vehicles are purely means of transport – no more and no less. Nevertheless, most car owners have a very personal relationship with their mobile family member. No two vehicles are the same, even if the old sedans with their rounded shapes in the maze of Chennai streets seem to be superficially identical down to the last screw. In the car, people live, drive, are born and, in the worst case, die. No one sells their Ambassador. Rather, the mobile vehicle is passed on to the next generation in the family. However, Ritai makes a point of ensuring that his model remains in the hands of the first generation. He bought it used for the equivalent of 1,200 euros – the exception proves the rule in India, too. In road traffic on the subcontinent, a vehicle is only as good as its horn – this is no different for cabs than for the 30-strong escort fleet of the regional prince. There, one sees the most amazing variations of the Ambassador – with grab rails for the 100-strong personal protection or armor plating against the nasty surprises of everyday life. Temple on wheels When you open the door of an Ambassador, you usually look into a mobile shrine. The bright seat covers are intricately handcrafted, the floor is adorned by small carpets and the curtains have been adapted to the appropriate vehicle by the lady of the house in weeks of handcrafting. An illuminated mini temple on the dashboard ensures that the pilot enjoys the necessary protection of higher powers in road traffic. This seems to be a necessity for the Indian driving style: On two-lane roads, not only in New Delhi, five to six vehicles usually drive side by side. It is a sheer miracle that there are no pile-ups. Anyone who thought the traffic in Manhattan or the Paris ring road system was exhausting should book their next car vacation in India, which has a population of 1.1 billion. It’s not just Europeans who quickly learn humility here. No one really knows how many generations of the Ambassador are now rolling off the production line. The successor to the Morris Oxford Series III is produced by Hindustan Motors near Kolkata, formerly Calcutta. Around 20,000 Ambassadors roll off the production line every year – not counting the exclusive versions for celebrities, politicians and commercial use. Modern times But even the time-honored Ambassador is getting on in years. Its market share of once over 90 percent has fallen to less than ten percent. It is not the old technology that is slowly pointing to the end of its production, but the foreign competition. The joint venture between Suzuki and Maruti has long been the most successful Indian car producer and, with models such as the Baleno, Swift and Alto, provides the most sought-after models – also at bargain prices. Since importing foreign vehicles is worthwhile at best for an upscale Mercedes-Benz brand, more and more manufacturers have set up shop in India itself. For example, companies such as Ford, Mitsubishi and Hyundai have been producing their own Indian models for years, thus circumventing the 60 percent punitive tariffs. The latest representative of the European automotive guild is BMW. The Bavarians produce models of the 3 and 5 series in Chennai in southern India. It is unlikely, however, that the customers of the Ambassador, which is already quite elite, will switch to the even more elite competition from BMW, Audi or Mercedes. The high-end brands cost as much on the subcontinent as they do in Europe – or considerably more. With an average income of less than 200 euros per month, this remains an automotive dream for most Indians. Reason enough to stick with the good old Ambassador after all. Maruti Suzuki Baleno Price Chennai.

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