Save the clunkers


In my mind

Scrappage schemes across the globe have been a resounding success. The equivalent of 2,000 pounds in the UK and $4,500 in the US (Car Allowance Rebate System – CARS) against a running car that you are ready to scrap to buy a cleaner, newer, more economical vehicle seems to have found many takers. The idea is to help the environment and stimulate the industry – while the second objective is a winner, I have my doubts about the first. Those in the know will tell you that a car pollutes the most while it is being manufactured! Yes, I do have a soft corner for decently running ‘clunkers’ - why should anyone popularise scrappage schemes when you can advocate good maintenance to get maximum out of every car produced and sold in the world. I would hate to see prospective classics going to the crusher. And I would not trade a W123 Mercedes-Benz for a Hyundai i10 – however appealing the idea is to the British public. Looks like I will end up in the minority here – and say a prayer for the mechanics in developed nations, because, their $70-an-hour reign is about to be history.

In my garage

The annual BSM ‘slush fest’ for cars saw some serious machinery passing through my hands. This year, the challengers included the Mitsubishi Outlander, Mercedes-Benz ML 320 CDI, BMW X3 and, hold your breath, an ex-army Nissan Jonga. Allow me to eliminate machines to enrol one into my garage. I am a Jeep fan so I wouldn’t want a Jonga in my garage despite its massive six-cylinder petrol grunt, the BMW X3 is great for the city but plays a poor second fiddle to the X5 and the X6, the ML 320 may be the soft-roader king of the world but it is either the GL-Class or the coupes and sedans for me when it comes to cars wearing the three-pointed star. That leads me to the… 

Car of the week

The Mitsubishi Outlander was super quick, exceptionally agile and maximum fun on our slush fest track (so what if hadn’t rained enough – grass-tracking was the name of the game!). And I love the utility of the MPV/SUV body style. Hidden under all that though is the soul of a Mitsubishi Lancer rally car – oh-so-flickable! As for the split tail-gate, the only other car I know to feature one is the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe. Ahem.

Bike of the week

I have just got the TVS Apache ‘white lightning’ RTR to ride for a while. I love the looks, the grunt and the general pace but I do have a major issue with the ergonomics. Perhaps an overgrown adult approaching 40 is not the target audience.

Question of the week

Do you know what's the exit package of Porsche's ex-CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking?
It is close to 50 million euros. And the man who turned around the sports car maker in his reign is rumoured to get his full salary till 2012. So what if he couldn’t take over VW?