IAB Exclusive- A look back at the Chennai International Auto Show in Images

21/01/2009 - 22:49 | ,  ,  ,   | Shrawan Raja

Over the weekend just gone by, yet another Auto Show took place in our country, this time in the city of Chennai at the Nadambakkam Trade Center. It wasn't International by any standards, only because a few of the foreign brands like Hyundai and VW had participated, it was named Chennai International Auto Show. The same show organizers were also responsible for the Bangalore Auto Show a few days back.

The crowd was beginning to set in as I departed from the show. Two main reasons which I think are accountable for that- The Fiat Linea and Mahindra XYLO were on display. The Linea's pricing was just announced, and it was hours after Mahindra had taken the wraps of the XYLO.

Among other attractions was the Yamaha stall with both their superbikes R1 and MT-01 in skin and flesh. Reasons mysterious, but TVS, Honda and Bajaj were missing. The Maruti Suzuki stall had two A-Stars, one with fancy interiors, along with very good-looking adult females, and the Mahindra stall had the Scorpio M-hawk and the Bolero Storm apart from the XYLO.

I supervised the people who were trying to comprehend the XYLO's looks. I even quizzed some of them on how they would grade it. The majority liked it, but the most significant inference was there weren't many people in that Mahindra stand who couldn't make up their mind- They either felt it was nice, or they thought it was plain ugly.

At Honda's space, I inspected the new Honda City. It was the first moment I got to have an one-on-one experience with it. The front seats are very cosy, better than the Fiat Linea I can approve. The Linea's got this arm rest on the front door which intrudes into my leg room, by not permitting my knees to rest in a comfortable position, but the City has none of that. The yellow-colored Honda Accord was in addition on display, I don't see many of them running around in Chennai.

The VW stand contained the Jetta and the Passat. The VW salesman has tendered the IAB team some private time with the Jetta. We'll bring you a comprehensive test drive report in a short while. So stay tuned.

Mercedes had an unaccompanied C230 on display. Would have been rousing if any one of the AMG models were presented. The representative at the Mercedes Benz stall wasn't very courteous and refused to answer questions related to AMG in India. He thought of himself as Lewis Hamilton, I think. However, his pot belly was one among the many things which proved he's just a sex-stricken average guy trying to show off.

Hyundai too had a lone car, but it was a spectacular one. The i20 in grey looked smashing. I loved the twin-creased bonnet- It resembles the Mercedes SLK. It's got this wrinkled portion above the rear wheel arch that characterizes this car. The crease that darts along the doors is firm and the look and feel of the car's interiors are several notches ahead of the Swift or the Indica Vista'.

A representative of electric scooter manufacturer Vijaya, was trying out of his skin to describe why petrol, oil, emissions are rubbish, with onlookers energetically checking out the Maruti Suzuki stall girls instead.

To my surprise, the cool dudes from MGR College had displayed their SAE Baja car which was featured some time back on Indian Autos Blog. The guys have a terrific car- The design is good, the suspension should hold up for the entire race' duration. The tires, the roll cage and even the driver look rugged. They will be competing with this car at Pithampur Off road circuit in Madhya Pradesh against 50-odd other teams later this month.

I visited the show on the 2nd day. To my surprise, there was a lot more than just new cars. A host of Vintage cars and bikes were on display. I couldn't recognize any of them.

Didn't matter. I had just completed a thorough analysis of the Linea and the i20. Both were built to last decades, and I'm sure 50 years down the line, the Linea and i30 will make it to the "Classics" stall of the Chennai International Auto Show.

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