Our trusty little red Indica is over seven years old, with not a whole lot of miles on it, still runs perfectly, never given us problems. The ride is noticeably bumpier than before, and there are quite a few more creaks, is all. Both of which we can probably fix. Still, our one complaint remains the space for luggage, which is really minimal. Especially on the long drives we like to do -- MP, Delhi, Coorg, Kodaikanal, Goa, etc -- it gets a little tight. Forces us to pack light, which is good, but tight.
So while we're in no hurry to buy, we've been test-driving a few cars. And so we're getting an up-close and personal look at the methods of car salesmen. I'd forgotten how much fun that is. Some notes:
* One young man started by asking how we will use the car. Almost before I had started to reply, he was saying: "Perfect! Then this car will be ideal for you!" I said, we feel our current car's trunk is small. "Perfect! Then this car will be ideal for you!" I said, we like going out of town. "Perfect! Then this car will be ideal for you!"
Your car sucks, I wanted to say. Just to see if he would reply: "Perfect! Then this car will be ideal for you!"
* I've been asking each guy who shows up, do you have a model without power windows and central locking? I always feel those are more things to go wrong in a car. Memories of the downpour of July 26 2005, when plenty died because they could not get their power windows, now without power, open. I also like the small mental stimulation of making sure the windows are up and the doors are locked, without a button push doing the job.
Hearing this request, one man wrinkled his nose and said, we have manual windows and locking on our "J" model -- "but don't take that, sir!" Why not, I asked. "It is our lowest model, and usme prestige nahin hai sir!" ("There's no prestige in it.").
Prestige being, I shall presume, an option like every other option.
* Another man chose to reply to this query about manual windows by email. I can do no better than quote his message here, in full: "There is no such variant of [our brand] with manual windows setting. Although you have provisions to break the glass in case of any emergency."
Well, that's a relief. Heartfelt gratitude to this particular manufacturer for providing this particular "provision" in their cars.
* This same man also said they were temporarily out of stock of the particular model we test-drove. "When it comes in, sir, I'll call you." OK I said, and was about to hang up. "In the meantime, sir, you can please feel free to buy from our competition." You mean other dealers of your brand? I asked. "No sir, I mean other brands."
The not-so-subtle implication: "Look, we want to give the impression that our cars are in great demand, and therefore we don't really need your business. Thus be prepared for no negotiation on the price."
I replied by email. I will certainly look at the competition, I said. Especially because I'm in absolutely no hurry to buy, but even more so given your proclivity for silly games.