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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Garmin nuvi 215 GPS receiver/device

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I had trouble operating my BlackBerry 9000 GPS while on the go in a recent West Coast of India trip. This was something that guided me through every nook and corner during my East Coast of India trip in January earlier this year so I wanted to get a proper GPS device.

1. To solve this, I spoke to Airtel who said they had stopped providing GPS services. They had a service called Wayfinder which was their tip-up with and that used to provide the GPS navigational service for Airtel customers. This was stopped by them for unknown reasons.

2. Another pain point was that my direct subscription with for my BlackBerry 9000 for 1-year had ceased in Feb 2010 and themselves stopped supplying the maps for the BlackBerry 9000 device for some strange reason which no one in their customer support was able to answer to.

3. Also, my concern was that even the basic Google Maps through the device in-built GPS receiver was not working so we had to manually find our way through a lot of places we covered during this West Coast trip.

This was the problem statement: A need for a reliable all time multi purpose GPS device which is rock solid without bothering about other TPP (third party providers) such as Airtel or suddenly deciding to stop operating GPS/mapping services for their own whims and fancies and letting customers suffer as a result without so much as a proper notification of the service being stopped.

Solution: Who else to goto than to GARMIN – the world’s best maker of GPS navigational equipment. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Naveen Athresh

June 9, 2010 at 9:49 am

Segment B+ hatchback review – 2010 / Ford Figo is the winner!

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I have been again on an automobile hunting spree and was trying to do some comparisons on secondary research (Internet, television and other media) and personal hands-on test drives of various manufacturers.

My requirement is simple:

– A Premium hatchback – Diesel – 1.2 or 1.4

– Convenient rear and front seating

– Great handling, great chassis, good ground clearance, good view of the road, good smooth feel overall, seating for 4-5

– good pickup, good service network (reasonable), good strong after sales support, good brand

– A good budget car with max Rs. 5 – 6 lacs on road price

My first research findings narrowed my search to the following players in this segment:

1. Ford Figo

2. Volkswagen Polo

3. Maruthi Suzuki Ritz

I test drove each of these and finally chose my winner – the Ford Figo. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Naveen Athresh

May 30, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Automobiles

Fisichella move to Ferrari – a boon or a bane for Force India

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Fisi celebrating his 2nd place at Spa

Fisi celebrating his 2nd place at Spa

Force India has lately been going through exciting times! The Kingfisher of good times has suddenly found a sweet spot and largely has it’s lead driver – Giancarlo Fisichella – a Formula 1 veteran, to thank for it when they secured their first podium finish and points of their Grand Prix history.

I have written about Mallya’s brave moves when he, alongwith the Mol family, bought out the Spyker F1 team (the rechristened Midland F1 or the erstwhile Jordan team) in 2007. It’s been a seesaw two seasons for Vijay Mallya. The VJM01 was nowhere close to competitiveness and the VJM02 showed signs of promise with the new regulations but somehow their first points were eluding them. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Naveen Athresh

September 6, 2009 at 8:14 am

Posted in Automobiles, F1

Seventymm – India’s answer to NetFlix/Slumdog millionnaire/F1 update

leave a comment » is India’s answer to NetFlix.

I have been using this service for an initial subscription of Rs. 849 unlimited for 1 DVD per day for 3 months and so far, my experience has been very good. The DVD quality has been excellent and their pick-up/drop is a hassle-free experience for us.

We are putting our DVD player to maximum use with an average of 5 movies in 5 days! In just a week we saw the following: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Naveen Athresh

June 21, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Posted in Automobiles, Bollywood, F1

Rolls Royce Phantom – my chance encounter!

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Keeping with the uniqueness of my posts, here is one more: On my way back from work, I chanced upon an exquisite beauty!


Near the Forum Mall, Whitefield, was a Rolls Royce Phantom ( on display! I quickly took out my Blackberry and snapped out a few pictures courtesy of some of the chaps from the Mobile Store who were there. They even offered to take pictures of mine with the car and put it up on their website but I politely declined. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Naveen Athresh

June 9, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Automobiles

Economics of a Tata Nano

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The Tata Nano logo

The Tata Nano logo

Image credit/source: The Tata Nano website (

Can they really achieve profitability or is it just an exercise for Tata Motors to say they did it first, build market share in the entry level segment (they have effectively created an A- segment in the entry level segment in automobiles in India!) and built the world’s cheapest car ever even if they don’t make any great profits as their margins would be wafer thin? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Naveen Athresh

April 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Brawn GP scores 1/2 in the Australian Grand Prix

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Congratulations to Ross Brawn. The ex-bosses of this team back at Japan must be kicking themselves that they were so near yet so far from their incorrect decision in withdrawing from F1 a tad early after all the hardwork!

But, nothing can be taken away from Ross Brawn and the way he interpreted the rules for the 2009 season and even managed to rope in their first main sponsor, Sir. Richard Branson’s Virgin group!

Written by Naveen Athresh

March 29, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Automobiles, F1, Strategy

Brawn Grand Prix scores 1/2 in Melbourne qualifying!

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Brawn GP 2009 car - BGP001 - Jenson Button

Brawn GP 2009 car - BGP001 - Jenson Button

Isn’t life full of surprises?

This is exactly what Brawn GP pulled off with Jenson Button on pole and Rubens Barrichello on 2nd position followed by Sebastian Vettel (who won a GP last year and I had blogged about him then as well) in the season opening Australian Grand Prix!

The car is just awesome and Ross Brawn at the head offers tremendous promise to what is tipped to be one of the most exciting seasons in recent times!

They got their first sponsor – none other than Virgin group’s – Sir. Richard Branson! Way to go! I have followed Ross Brawn and he was the technical brain behind Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher victories during the late 90’s and the early 2000’s era! The killer combo of Schumacher + John Todt + Ross Brawn was too hot for any team to handle in those days and it is great to see Ross Brawn at his thinking best with a car that truly ‘performs’. Remember this is the erstwhile Honda team that he bought and also remember that these very drivers we are talking of as pole sitters today used to be the first from the back of the grid along with the Force India’s last season! Just goes to show nothing can be taken for granted in this world of competitiveness in every walk of life!

Written by Naveen Athresh

March 28, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Automobiles, F1

The new F1 2009 season begins tomorrow at Melbourne!

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The Australian Grand Prix begins at Melbourne tomorrow with a whole new set of rules/regulations/car aerodynamics with a much shorter rear wing and broader front wing and the KERS system for cars.

This is one heck of an exciting season with the erstwhile honda F1 (now Brawn GP) showing tremendous promise and McLaren Mercedes Benz for once not having its season opening charge. Ferrari is still somewhere at the top. The field is wide open now for almost 4-6 teams to compete for the top spot.

This is going to be an enthralling season – something tells me so! I have high hopes from Force India – our very own team India of sorts run by the liquor Baron Vijay Mallya (VJM) with the shades of the Indian tricolor on the car and as usual with the KingFisher branding heavy on the car!

Written by Naveen Athresh

March 27, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Automobiles, F1

The Tata Nano launched in multiple variants

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I saw this launch on television yesterday. It was really a proud moment for Ratan Tata and his dream project to take shape. I had blogged about this in January 2008 as well. The base variant is still priced at about Rs. 1 lacs so Mr. Tata has kept his promise. They will initially have a lottery system for the first 1 lac Nano cars that Tata Motors will sell. The customers are expected to pay 70% of the cost of the car upfront. The Tata Motors Sanand plant in Gujarat is due to be on stream and operational only in 2010 so it is still about 9 months.

I would wait to see real on-road tests of this Tata Nano to see how it performs before I get to think of buying it next year!

Written by Naveen Athresh

March 24, 2009 at 10:20 am

Posted in Automobiles