x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

India's noisy roads

Beep! Honk! Beep! Honk! Welcome Beep! to Honk! India. Honk Honk!

As any visitor to India can attest, drivers there have a honking problem. Whether idling in traffic or careening down a motorway, a horn seems as essential to navigation as the accelerator or the brake (although it is almost certainly used more frequently than the latter).

It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that a German carmaker, which markets itself as a purveyor of sleek style and quiet perfection, would look to attract new drivers with an abnormally noisy honker.

Audi India's Michael Perschke says the marketing ploy had a practical genesis. "You take a European horn and it will be gone in a week or two," he told India's Mint newspaper. "With the amount of honking in Mumbai, we do on a daily basis what an average German does on an annual basis."

To build a "better horn", Audi engineers spent two weeks testing a more robust device capable of handling the demands of Indian traffic. We sympathise with the engineers sitting in the control room.

Anti-road rage advocates in India are less understanding, accusing Audi of encouraging a type of behaviour that many motorists loath.

But a company has to make money. So here's an idea for Audi's UAE marketing team: blindingly bright high beams that can withstand the heavy use and constant flickering from speed-crazed left-lane drivers. Light, after all, travels faster than sound.