While casually conversing with my wife, she mentioned to me that my Dad had booked the 'slightly cheaper' Volkswagen Vento.
I immediately asked her what 'slightly cheaper meant' - was it a non-automatic and non leathered seats version?
My wife hesitated and told me that actually my Dad had booked the 'No ABS' and 'No Airbags' version!
Just as I began freaking out, she mentioned that she had already got my Dad to convert to the 'higher' range model.
This bough back memories of the Hyundai i10 my wife had bought for herself a couple of years ago. She wanted a cute, easy to drive car and settled on the i10.
When we went to the Hyundai showroom and began discussing the versions of the i10 on offer, the Salesman quickly seized us up and understood that my wife was ready to buy asap. When we asked for discounts and price benefits, his direction of bargaining STUNNED me!
'Madam, you will drive the Car in South Mumbai right'? the Salesman asked.
'Yup' said my wife. 'Actually may be like 5-6 kms a day'.
'Very fine' he said, while pushing some stale looking chocolates to me - 'No need to buy ABS and Air Bags. We will save lots of money'.
I'm really not into what goes under the hood of cars, but I do know that ABS and Air Bags are Safety Features!!!
Angrily, I growled, 'Are you telling my wife to compromise on her safety just to do this sale fast'?
'No Sir, nothing like that. Its just that only out-station drivers buy cars with Air Bags...in the city, no need'.
I freaked out. I mean I was sitting in Hyundai's marquee showroom in the poshest part of Mumbai and here was this slimy Car Salesman behaving like one of the florists on the road just interested in one more sale!
After hearing how Volkwagen had also managed to hoodwink my Dad, I really wonder what the ethics and morals of these Car Companies are in India? Don't they think its their business to educate first time buyers of cars in the world - Indians - what they SHOULD HAVE in the cars?
Unfortunately I think their philosophy is , - 'Sir, just buy my Car... you can conveniently die later'...
And ironically, the largest deaths on the road occur in .... yup - India...