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The one thing you should see in the Auto Expo this year

99% of auto expo will appeal to your vanity, 1% of it will appeal to your intelligence.
If you have patience only for ground breaking original stuff.. straight go to a certain corner in Hall no. 2 (besides the TVS extravaganza).
There you will find this unassuming duo with afro hairdo and a patented technology that they are eager to sell to automobile majors.

I am not much on an engineer, (because I am (with a degree) but not really (because I don't work as one)) so I am not in a position to validate what they were saying. But what they said sounds very very interesting.
They have made a working bike with no valves, no chains, no cam shaft... as a matter of fact, their engine has only 32 moving parts.


Yes. An engine with only 32 moving parts. 


Apart from that, the engine can make use of various kinds of fuels (hydrocarbons) apart from petrol.
I still have to get to know their offering better, but this sounds exciting. Imagine the service, economy and efficiency improvements this technology can enable.

They still need to figure out quite a few things yet - they don't have a website or even a flier to start with. They also will need to improve the design and finish of the model for their Geneva ambition.

But here's wishing them the best of luck.
Check them out. They call themselves - 'Beast-Bird Motor Cars'.

Apart from that, here's a few things I observed.

1. All automotive brands want to become lifestyle brands


Mahindra started 'Mojo Tribe' yesterday. Which seemed odd actually. A ready-made club for a brand.. seems kinda bleh. a force fit. the club even has an anthem, the genre of which is 'blues'. I understand Mahindra's love for jazz and blues, but a bike anthem in blues? really? 
Usually, clubs are made of people. Clubs are even better if started by the people themselves. I don't know of actual clubs started by brands that have any real impact. well, here's wishing the best of luck to Mojo.
 
Most brands had merchandise that was given prominence. Nexa watches anyone? Tata's 'OK TATA' bag, I can buy though.


2. And the lifestyle is 'outdoors'

I am really thrilled with RE's Himalayan. I probably will buy it too. It is the first proper off-roader for India. Though RE was not participation in the expo, the theme of off-roads and outdoors was all pervasive. From Mahindra's Thar and Mojo Tribe to Mercedes's monster 4x4 and even a feeble attempt by Renault with its Kwid Climber (with that ground clearance, what outdoor activity would it really do?). 


3. Cutomisability

From Honda's Navi to Renault's Kwid versions .. there was a concerted effort at urging people to get creative with their vehicles.. to turn their vehicles into a canvas for their identity. That already happens to an extent and guess its a symptom of the category maturing with people spending more and more on their vehicles.

4. Caucasians flown in for cleaning cars :P

5. Models with feet instead of wheels, obstructing the view of cars/ bikes :P way too many of them.

6. Terrible displays

UM is not a well known brand. One would expect it to put signs and displays about its models, its credentials. The problem persisted with most brands ranging from no display information, bland printout of specs to unimaginative ipad videos of the model. These were the only three modes of communication about the products. All terrible. It is amazing that brands that spend upwards of tens of crores can't spend a little more in communicating core propositions and details about vehicles. 

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