Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maruti Suzuki wants to sell less cars

Few days back I went to the Maruti's (Nariana, Delhi) car service outlet. There were signs all over the place wanting people to avoid using their cars once a week and instead use the public transport. I asked a couple of officials who were around the reason for it and they said that the company was pro-environment and they wanted me to admire the various measures like their compost pit etc. (you get the idea). When I explained that I thought that the sign was illogical and if they thought that their cars were damaging the environment wouldn't it make more sense to simply use public transport everyday and completely do away with the cars. He had no answer and he explained that it was their GM's idea and since he was standing just behind us why didn't I talk to him.

He introduced me to the GM (who comes to work on a bicycle) who was flabbergasted when he heard about my objection to his sign. He just blurted that this was the first time someone had any problems with the environmental message of his. When I explained that it was illogical for a business to want it's customers to use less of it's product and that it made no sense, he became outright hostile and said that I was entitled to my opinion and that he didn't want to argue with me. He softened a little when I patiently explained that I was a big admirer of the company (first modern car maker in India) and that I assumed that his message was for welfare of his customers and people in general. If that was so then it made more sense for company to sell more cars, build more plants, establish more dealerships and continue to bring prosperity as it had been doing in the past (and not go back to riding bicycles).

The guy first refused to acknowledge that using less of a product means selling lesser amounts of it and tried to bluster his way out by asking me if I had been to Australia and if knew how things worked there? (made no sense at all). I said I was very well informed (didn't go to Moon to know about the terrain on it) but I was more interested in his reasons for his action here in India. He just said a thing can't be wrong if so many intellectuals had come together and decided that this was what was right. Ah! the consensus thing again. I reminded him that just a few centuries ago only one man on the planet said that it was spherical and the rest believed it was flat and that it didn't change the fact that it was round just because millions said it wasn't so.

Reality, reason and logic are not decided by a popularity contest. Needless to say that the conversation didn't go anywhere but I made my point and objection heard (had an audience of three junior officers). The GM who I believe is a IIT and management school product was less open to reason then his lesser educated juniors. The so called institutes of higher learning have become places of non-reason and anti-intellect. These people who should be proud flag-bearers of capitalism have turned suicidal and instead embraced all sorts of irrational and anti-man ideologies. All we can do is object to these stupid things and try to get our point across using reason as our primary tool.


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