Bombay's 2.5 Miles of Automotive Bliss

jlr_worliSunday was the grand opening of the Jaguar and Land Rover flagship store in Bombay. If you remember, the Tata Group over paid for Jaguar and Land Rover back in early 2008 when the automotive world was not in complete meltdown mode.  Oooh, how things have changed.

Anyways, the Tata Group decided to launch their new babies by housing the new dealership in arguably the most expensive piece of commercial real estate in India – CeeJay House in Worli. The new combined showroom for Jaguar and Land Rover looks awesome, they have been preparing for the Sunday launch all weekend long.

It occurred to me with these two new name plates added to South Bombay, all of the dealers are actually on the same stretch of road albeit with names changes along the way  – Hughes Road, Pedder Road, Annie Besant Road, etc… I’ll start the tour from the southern most dealer and imagine you are driving north towards Worli.

1. Mercedes Benz Sanghi – The original Mercedes dealer in South Bombay. On the right side of the road.

2. Porsche Centre Mumbai – Opened Nov 20, 2007. I remember the date because the opening was on my birthday. On the right side of the road.

3. BMW Navnit – This is located on the backside of Copper Chimney. On the right side of the road.

4. Jaguar – CeeJay House. On the left side of the road.

5. Land Rover – CeeJay House. On the left side of the road.

6. Rolls Royce Navnit – Ground floor of Atria Mall. The mall is pathetic but seeing a Phantom in the window is breath taking. On the right side of the road.

7. Audi Mumbai – At the base of the Worli flyover on the left side of the road.

The biggest glaring omission is the lack of a Ferrari dealer.  Other name plates such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini and Maserati have yet to setup shop, not sure if they will.

Hope you enjoyed the virtual car ride.

King of Pop, Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009)

king_of_popLike most people, I’m still in shock and sad about the turn of events in the life of Michael Jackson (a fellow Hoosier).  For the past 24 hours I’ve been glued to BBC and CNN International watching clips of him, for some reason MTV India sucks…oh wait they always suck.

I still get goose bumps when I see two clips, the one showing him doing the moonwalk during the Motown 25th anniversary special and the other is the Thriller video when he starts to sing “cause this is Thriller…”  The guy was a musical genius and sadly most of us let him down.

I’m guilty, whenever I would hear his name over the past several years the first thing that would come to mind – alleged child molester, what a freak! Now, I feel like a total jacka!@$, because when he was alive I treated him like a leper and now that he is gone – a legend.

I personally could not have helped him, but what about his friends from the past – Quincy Jones, Jesse Jackson, Ron Burkle, etc… The more I read online, the more it appears his inner circle of handlers were rotten to the core and only looking out for themselves.  It seems he had a revolving door of business managers, financial advisors and attorneys, I’m sure all were “yes” men.

The only person that should have gotten compenstated is the brains behind the acquistion of the Beatles music catalog. In 1985, MJ paid $47.5 million for ATV, which included the Beatles songs. MJ sold 50 percent of his interest to Sony for $90 million, creating a joint venture, Sony/ATV. Current estimates of the catalog’s value exceed $1 billion.

The legal battle for his kids and assets have only begun.  I’m assuming he willed his estate to his kids and hence everyone will want to take care of the kids.  The concerned parties will each have their take on why “it’s in the best interest of the kids to stay with xyz…”

Anyways, back to CNN International and remembering a living legend that is no more.

What is Social Search?

goog_twitThere was an article today on how Dell was able to juice there sales by USD 3 million thanks to Twitter. My god! I almost think Twitter will solve world hunger and deliver peace in the Middle East. So why all the rage around Twitter? In my opinion it’s the next evolution of search – social search to be more exact.

Today, if you want information on traveling to Aruba you would most likely goto Google and put in some search terms and boom a million pages to go through…oh what fun. In geek terms that is a pull search, you are pulling the information.

Several months ago I let me friends know on Facebook I was looking to travel to Dubai. I got back a bunch of tips and pointers which were helpful but I ended up falling back to a Google search. The next version of search will push the results to you. How convenient would it be if you got several ideas delivered to your email about your upcoming trip to Aruba, such as places to stay, places to eat and things to do.  Then you could aggregate the data with what your friends might  have recommended.

Another example, let’s say its time to upgrade your grocery getter and you let people know you are in the market for a “4 door sedan around USD 40k.”  You’ll most likely get 3-4 comments from friends and then maybe a service like Edmund’s or can email you the specific information. That would be a hugh time saver and then if you needed more info you could always go back to Google and refine your search criteria.  This of course assumes these services won’t spam the hell out of you, and that is a big assumption.

The real question is whether Twitter is a part of the overall long term social search solution or just a temporary blip.

GM Hours Away from Chapter 11

gm_logoIt’s a sad day for Detroit and America when the largest company in the world at one point is just hours away from a bankruptcy filing.  This didn’t happen overnight but instead took many decades to destroy the brand and go from 54% market share to 19%.  When you watch old TV show clips on car shows from the 1950’s you could tell that GM was the company to work for and their product was king.  Today, when you mention GM most people snicker and talk about how the guys at Renaissance Center gave away the business to Japan.

As far as GM India, all the local press keep on insisting nothing will change the Indian operations in.  Which to be honest is really sad, I think even GM India needs a shakeup and should focus on the low end car market. Bringing the Saturn brand to India and those “dent/ding free” body panels would work wonders in a city like Bombay. But, I’m sure the current concerns will be around the US operations where the bulk of the revenue comes from.

It’s been 4 years since my first post on GM, below are my previous posts on GM:

Feb 20, 2009 –

Nov 18, 2008 –

June 9, 2005 –