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Too many car crashes? Blame Asian tourists

New Zealand media’s blame game seems to have one target for all problems – from rising house prices to job shortages, and the latest in the list is – road accidents.

road accidents cyclists

House prices going up? Those Asians are buying expensive houses. (Don’t ask me why North Shore, with predominantly European population, has some of the highest median house prices.)

No jobs for Kiwis? Yes, Indians are taking those qualified jobs. (Don’t ask me why there are immigrant doctors driving cabs, or civil engineers issuing parking tickets.)

And now, it is Asian drivers, particularly tourists, that have given ammunition to New Zealand media to cry foul.

In a Stuff story titled “Asian tourist drivers prompt complaints“, reporter Emma Bailey claims that “Asian tourists driving rental vehicles continue to raise alarm in South Canterbury.”

Her source? One Gerardine tow service company owner. Statistics? Three smashed up cars.

Later in the story, Emma cites six more accidents since Christmas, caused by tourists.

No official statistics included in the story.

Up north, the New Zealand Herald provides an accurate and balanced picture.

According to Sam Boyer of the NZ Herald, 558 crashes that resulted in death or injury last year involved overseas drivers. About 66% of these crashes were caused by overseas drivers.

But that does not mean those crashes were caused by driving errors that Kiwi drivers won’t commit.

Very few of those crashes were caused by errors typical of a foreign driver – new road layout, unfamiliar driving rules, distraction by scenery.

In fact, Sam Boyer says a lot of the crashes involving foreigners were consistent with errors made by Kiwi drivers too.

Sam reveals some more interesting figures: the most number of fatal crashes caused by tourists was in 2013 – just 4.2 per cent.

Last year, it dropped to 2.9 per cent.

Then why blame tourists, and that too particularly Asians? Because it is fashionable and in line with growing perception that everything wrong with the country is caused by Asians.

Instead of xenophobic media stories like the one from Emma Bailey, it could be more fruitful to identify the real causes of crashes and address those.

An online petition started by 10-year old Sean Roberts, who lost his father Grant in 2012 in a car crash involving a Chinese tourist driver, has attracted 27,000 signatories, seeking overseas driver test.

Introducing overseas driver’s test could be an option, but a cost-benefit analysis should confirm this.

One of New Zealand’s largest source of revenue is money spent by 16 million visitors every year. Introducing tourist driver’s tests would be detrimental to tourism in a country with almost non-existent public transport.

Prime minister John Key probably realises this, and isn’t too keen to introduce stricter regulations for foreigners.

“If you look at the accident rate of tourists who come and drive in New Zealand versus New Zealanders themselves, it’s pretty consistent,” says the prime minister.

Current rules for tourists driving in New Zealand

Tourists must have a current and valid overseas driver licence or international driving permit if they wish to drive in New Zealand. For new migrants who wish to live in New Zealand for more than 12 months, they need to gain a New Zealand driver licence.

Important overseas driver resources for New Zealand driving

What’s different about driving in New Zealand
Driver licence requirements

 

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India gets ready for super-expensive custom cars

HotRodsIndia

A young entrepreneur from India’s capital city of New Delhi is dreaming big. How big? In a car market where a mid-range BMW costs Rs 5000,000 (US$90,000), and a Jaguar Rs 30 million (US$540,000), he is planning to make a car that’s going to cost Rs 150 million (US$2.7 million)

Hradyesh, who likes to be known only by his first name, is completing work on a 600 BHP hand crafted hot rod for a client, with a price tag of Rs 15 crore. Hot rods are American cars with large engines modified for speed.

HotRodsIndia

However, the 30-year old car-groomer plans to make this into an exquisite club of expensive cars that are personalised to their owners.

To promote his business, Hradyesh will travel across India in ‘Morris Street’, India’s first street rod, built by him. The show aims to give car enthusiasts a glimpse of the world of street rods and custom cars, Hradyesh tells The Global Indian magazine.

The creator has travelled about 2000km in Morris Street from New Delhi to Jaipur and further cruised to Amritsar, and other north-western states.

“When people saw the symbol of style majestically gliding through the country, many dreams were born.”

The road show is now travelling to the central and western states of India.

While Hradyesh is offering handmade, highly-personalised cars to car lovers, he is probably following a Harley Davidson Exclusive club model, by providing other services to his clients.

“The owners can expect to be a part of events organized especially for them.”

“They can look forward to experiencing the sensuous Rod Resorts in India and even revel in the adrenalin rush of participating in India’s first ever Hot Rod Drag Racing Events.”

Completing first year in business, Hradyesh has seen some really interesting passions people share about cars.

“I have received requests for wacky looking cars, super luxury cars and even cars with performance specs that have never been seen before. It is my job to turn people’s dreams into real masterpieces and this is just the beginning.”

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Honda CBR250R launches at Rs1.77 lakh

Honda CBR250R

Honda CBR250R is entering an Indian market which has for years relied either on Royal Enfield and Bullet brands or expensive, imported BMW bikes in the high-performance two-wheeler market.

Honda CBR250R will hit Indian roads in May and will redefine the sports bikes market with a price-tag much lower than comparable imported bikes.  The high-performance bike will be produced in India and Thailand and supplied worldwide.

Even before the company officially announced the price, the bike had already attracted 3000 bookings and is expected to sell ten times more in the first year. The bike has a single-cylinder 250cc engine which goes from 0 to 10km/h in eight seconds, and has a maximum speed of 160km/h. It will be available in three colours – silver, black and red.  Whoever was in charge of the design and cad drafting of the motorcycle did a great job.

There will be no launch event for the bike following recent earthquake in Japan. “Due to the earthquake/tsunami in Japan and the loss of life, we are not conducting any launch event,” says Shinji Aoyama, President & CEO, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.

“However, …to meet the expectations of existing customers, our second manufacturing facility at Tapukara, Rajasthan will soon be operational from early 2nd half of 2011 taking our total production capacity to 22 lakh units in FY 2011-12.”

The company has done well in keeping the price affordable for a large segment of two-wheeler lovers.  “With price starting Rs. 1.51 lakh Ex-Showroom, Mumbai, CBR 250R truly is India’s first affordable Global sports bike,” says N.K. Rattan, Operating Head – Sales and Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.

With the production beginning in April, CBR 250R will be available to customers from mid-April 2011. “We shall be providing availability by the end of April, 2011 at 400 Honda Exclusive Authorized Dealerships (HEADs) across India. We plan to sell 30,000 units in the first year.”

Honda CBR250R is Honda India’s largest displacement two-wheeler

With CBR250R, Honda enters India’s high-performance two-wheeler niche

The production begins in April 2011

The bike will be produced in India and Thailand and sold worldwide

Owing to the Japan earthquake and tsunami, Honda will not host a launch event

The bike will be on Indian roads in late April or early May

The bike already has 3000 bookings in India

Honda expects to sell 30,000 bikes in India in the first year

Honda is the largest producer of two-wheelers in the world

The two variants will be sold for Rs 1.51 lakh and Rs 1.70 lakh (with ABS) ex-showroom Mumbai

Specs: single cylinder, 4-valve, 250cc fuel injected and liquid cooled DOHC engine; peak power of 26PS

 

HERE’S HONDA MEDIA RELEASE

Mumbai, March 22, 2011: Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. (HMSI), the 100% owned 2-wheeler subsidiary of the Honda Motor Company, Japan – the world’s largest manufacturer of 2-wheelers, shall release its long awaited global Road-Sport motorcycle “CBR 250R” in April, 2011.

Honda’s first affordable global sports bike – CBR 250R marks the Company’s entry in high performance 250cc segment in India. CBR250R will have the largest engine displacement of any vehicle produced by HMSI. Taking India to the global platform, CBR250R will be exclusively manufactured and exported worldwide from India &Thailand.

Honda CBR250R

BACKGROUND

Honda’s development team realized that riders now want much more and demand for 250cc models is higher than ever. Based on understanding customer needs, the goal was to create a 250cc model that can meet the bring the fun of riding to riders of all kinds, ranging from entry level riders who aspire to upgrade to seasoned riders who already have the large motorcycle experience. Thus came CBR 250R- the perfect companion of riding enthusiasts who desire ‘To Know the Unknown.’

LIGHTNING PERFORMANCE

The newly developed liquid-cooled 250cc 4-stroke 4-valve single-cylinder DOHC engine of CBR250R delivers excellent performance of 25 BHP and is easy to handle.

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY

With 27 pending patented technologies, CBR 250R is a bike of many technological firsts.

CBR 250R is world first in high performance 250cc category incorporating Combined ABS . Making CBR 250R more Eco-Friendly are the electronically controlled fuel injection system PGM-FI , O sensor and catalyzer which meet Euro 3 Emission standards.

GLOBAL STYLING

Inspired from Honda’s global fun bikes VFR 1200F and CBR 1000RR Fireblade, the sporty full-cowl body and distinguishing Y-shaped headlights of CBR 250R present a highly advanced design full of functional beauty. The aerodynamic layered style fairing and cowl design enables optimal control of wind both for engine cooling and ride comfort.

Upping the style quotient of the bike are 5 spoke aluminum cast wheels, tubeless tyres, stylish rear grip and sporty split seat. Lending a futuristic effect is the brilliant blue LCD backlit instrument panel while completing the feel & sound are the elegant triangular muffler and compact exhaust system.

HIGH ON COMFORT & CONVENIENCE

CBR 250R’s slim and compact single-cylinder engine reduces front projection and provides abundance of comfort through telescopic front suspension with 130mm stroke and highly flexible seating position. The light and compact frame of highly rigid diamond shape in a truss structure, offers easy handling and steady control as sports model. Upping the user convenience quotient is lockable utility space under pillion seat and easy to maintain center wet air cleaner with viscous element.

CBR 250R makes its stylish debut in three stunning two-tone hues- Candy Ruby Red& Accurate Silver Metallic, Sword Silver Metallic& Accurate Silver Metallic, and Asteroid Black Metallic& Accurate Silver Metallic.