India reports on Autorickshaw’s popularity, in AMERICA

Sat, Sep 30, 2006


(it’s not hideous enough stock… Polka dots and teal top help.)

This from the Newindpress website:

Sunanda Mehta -
India’s inspiring imports to the West are no more restricted to beauty queens, Bollywood, bindis, bangles and brocades.Even something as unstylish and quotidian as an autorickshaw has started to make a style statement.

Check out Florida’s Ronald Flynn’s latest passion for instance. Every time the debonair 73-year old makes his weekly trip to the grocery store, he invites looks that are a mix of amusement and amazement. And it’s all because the retired flight control despatcher for Federal Express makes those short drives in a bright red coloured autorickshaw that he drives himself. Incidentally, this Barefoot Bay resident also owns a Chevy and Cadillac.

The response to what we thought were modest machines have been far more flattering than what they have ever received in the country of their origin. Parker Bowles termed the polka dotted version of the vehicle she traveled in as the “coolest thing to drive in the summers”.

“I love driving the autorickshaw around even if people react with a ‘What the hell is that?’ I realise that in India it’s used for business but I have great fun with it,” says the man who had gone looking for a scooter online but then decided on the autorickshaw when he chanced upon it on the net.

So, are these great Indian imports slated to sweep over the Western world? In other words, are they set to replace the Ambassador as an unmistakable stereotype of India?

Adil Darukhanwalla, editor, Car India says: “The Ambassador was a symbol of India but it was never a success abroad. Foreigners in fact were quite horrified by the shape and size of it. The autorickshaw is obviously much more popular.’’ Baja Auto executive director Sanjeev Bajaj voices his doubts, saying: “Basically, these vehicles are for third world countries.’’

Though dealers in Florida are reluctant to reveal the sales figures of these vehicles that started being imported to the US just two years ago, Ponniah is brimming over with confidence about the fleet he imported. He also agrees that for many, the autorickshaw is an unmistakable symbol of India. “Everyone here comments on how it reminds them of India,” he says.

Well, be warned: There may be much more to the statement than meets the eye. For, according to latest reports, the autos have apparently started to imitate yet another typically Indian quality—unpunctuality. Hauled up by the British administration for often being late, the autos have to now apparently answer a quasi-legal enquiry into their timings.

One Response to “India reports on Autorickshaw’s popularity, in AMERICA”

  1. dudel Says:

    I bet my girlfriend would love driving that thing. How is it being imported; as a three-wheel CAR or three-wheel scooter (trike)?

    By the way, 2strokebuzz is reporting that the MP3 three-wheeler will not be available until the ’1st Qtr’ of 2007. The US will get the 250cc Quasar engine and it will sell for $7000.


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