Post from Harry Hutchinson:
I was looking at some articles from The Hindu Business Line the other day and came across another road trip story.
Road trips are fun—like the one that General Electric’s Freshpedition, created to publicize a new refrigerator. That’s the subject of the June 13 installment on this blog.
My last road trip took me to the Blue Ridge Mountains where I discovered some great craft ales from the Highland Brewery near Asheville, N.C. I also found some good wines in Virginia.
Business Line was reporting on a trip to publicize the new line of BharatBenz trucks. The trucks are designed specifically for the Indian market and are made in Chennai by a Daimler A.G. subsidiary, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles.
The company called it the “Power Yatra.” I had to look that one up. “Yatra” is Sanskrit for “journey.” And it was lengthy journey, more than 8,000 kilometers between April 18 and July 11 with a convoy of six light and heavy trucks.
Business Line attended the press conference that followed the trip. The Daimler crew claims it talked to about 3,000 truck drivers, as well as mechanics, some of whom, readers were told, operated “under trees.”
Now, I’ve never been to India, so I don’t know what one finds on a road trip. Maybe craft ale and regional wine. But Daimler found something it needed to know.
The new trucks have engine brakes, for instance. The brake pedal doesn’t have to be worked too hard, but Indian truck drivers from long experience are used to jamming on the brakes. The new trucks begin to accelerate when the clutch is release. That, too, will be new to India’s truck drivers. Daimler says it will have to assign at least one master driver at each dealership to show new owners the ropes.
Another point they learned: rooftop luggage racks are not an option; they are required.