Young or old, male or female, if asked ‘What vehicle would you like to drive?’ increasingly an overwhelming majority name an utility vehicle –- sports, multi or crossover is irrelevant to the individual, most just like to call it a 4x4, even when it isn’t one! This is one vehicle segment that knows no age gap, and has been a perennial favourite of the young and the young at heart -- looking to rev up a powerful engine and drive off into the sunset.
India’s no different, especially given the reality of higher disposable incomes and the resultant boom in personal vehicle ownership. Utility vehicles already comprise 25% of all personal vehicles sold in the country. And while the annual growth in passenger car sales is averaging around the 15% mark, utility vehicles are already setting the pace at 17%, and expected to accelerate to 22% in the next year or so.
It is with a desire to connect and cater to the information needs of this growing tribe of adventure seeking drivers that Apollo Tyres has brought out Driving Off The Map: The World of 4x4. A premium coffee table edition which takes the wanderlusters into the world of utility vehicles.
As Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Apollo Tyres Ltd, puts it in his foreword: “Imagine an open road. A rocky uphill drive. A cluster of sand dunes. All silently inspiring you to take on the challenge, hit the road, burn some rubber and live some more.” In short, it’s time to go the distance and get a taste of true adventure!
Driving Off The Map brings into the comfort of ones home, all that the potential sports utility vehicle owner ever wanted to know, but didn’t have the energy to “google” it up piecemeal. The book takes the reader through the evolution of the modern day utility vehicle to the technology that goes into making it; the true Classics in the genre; to what makes the small tribe of passionate 4x4er tick.
The book also includes useful information on all that one needs to get an optimum ride out of ones vehicle. From the nuances of different driving techniques used to negotiate varying terrain conditions, to handy accessories to give a vehicle a real “oomph” factor; a checklist of items needed for a camping trip and of course the kind of tyres appropriate for different terrains.
Yes, tyres! Though a short chapter, it forms a critical item in any utility vehicle. The tyres not only add to the overall look and feel of the car but also play that very critical role in ensuring driving success.
As a manufacturer of tyres for this segment, the complete Hawkz range from real off-roading to highway drives, including a Hawkz Winter for snow conditions, Apollo’s attempt through Driving Off The Map has been to bring to the aspirant an easy reference compilation on the world of utility vehicles.
The book is available in all major bookstore chains across India and has been produced in collaboration with Autocar India. For those looking for a preview or to order online, please visit http://www.apollotyres.com/drivingoffthemap/.
Additional Facts for India
In the tyre domain for utility vehicles, Apollo currently has around 25% of the total OEM market share with the Hawkz range, catering to all the major India-based manufacturers like Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and Mitsubishi Pajero. For Apollo Tyres Ltd, this segment has grown at a CAGR of 25%, while the demand for the Hawkz range is currently growing year-on-year at a 30%+ rate.
An early release of the book online, has already received nearly 1500 bookings, with demands for utility vehicle related information and activities. An online experiential platform has been launched by Apollo on Facebook seeking customer experiences on various aspects of owning a utility vehicle.
In India this segment has undergone a sea change in a short period of time. A quick timeline:
1980s The Decade of “jeeps”: This was dominated by the Mahindra Commando and the Maruti Gypsy –- vehicles which continue to enjoy an iconic value in India for their rugged look, feel and drive.
1990s The Decade of Multi Utility Vehicles: Dominated by the Tata Sumo, and the entry of the Toyota Qualis and the Chevrolet Tavera.
2000 The Decade of Sport Utility Vehicles: Dominated by the Tata Safari and the Mahindra Scorpio with the advent of the Mitsubishi Pajero and Ford Endeavour.
2010 The Crossovers: They are here in all shapes and sizes from the Chevrolet Captiva to the Honda CRV, BMW X5 and more. They bring with them the best of all worlds in a 4x4!
Simultaneously, tyre manufacturers too have had to evolve in range, construction and technology used to keep up with the needs of the new generation of cars, suspensions, horsepower and the demands of the urban enthusiastic some-time off-roader. As a result the Hawkz, launched in 2005, now encompasses a complete range that caters to highway drives, all terrain drives, rough terrain drives and snow and ice. The Hawkz range is now sold in Europe, including the Hawkz Winter.