Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hit-and-run cases: Why blame the beemer?

"No BMW, go for any other beast but not the BMW", this is what my friend's dad pressed when we decided to go for the vehicle. The whole family was against the idea as the beemer has been getting some extremely bad press for quite sometime. Whenever it has come in the news, it has been with connection to some hit and run case or the other.

India has seen two high profile hit and run cases recently, one involving Sanjiv Nanda, the grandson of a formal Navy Chief, and the other one involving teenager Utsav Bhasin, the son of a renowned industrialist. Both of them come from affluent families, and the car involved in both the accidents, was a beemer. Media, pounced upon the cases with the tagline - "BMW Hit and Run Case".

 The Indian television news channels, who aspire to be more sensational than the best thriller you ever saw, have also been more dramatic and repetitive than any daily soap can ever claim to be. Discussed around the television screens at an amazingly repetitive and sensationalized coverage, the general public has been more than confused. While many people may not know the name of the people involved in these incidents, or of the lives lost as a result, what has stuck is the brand of the car(s) in these incidents. The result – A tarnished brand image.

A basic fact that appears to have been overlooked in the media scrutiny of these cases is that cars don't drive themselves. The name of the marque is repeated so vehemently in certain sections of these reports, it almost appears that the vehicle decided to disobey its master and to ram into some innocent bystander. So, I will take a leaf out of the television reporter's dictionary and repeat myself; Cars don't drive themselves. It is common sense that things will go awry when a person is driving under the influence of some kind of intoxication - be it alcohol or something else - the brand of the car involved is quite immaterial in such circumstances. When the reins are in the driver's hands, why blame the brand?

Now to get back to our fascination for the worries! With the arguments set out above, it was a matter of time before we made the elders see our point of view. No wonder, BMW won two Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards at the 2008 New York International Auto Show. Check out more in the gallery and decide for yourself.



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