The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Czar of cars rolls on masala moolah

Mumbai, Oct. 7: Oonche log, oonchi pasand, goes the commercial of a pan masala brand. Its owner today forked out Rs 6 crore to acquire a Maybach, the most expensive car available in India.

Rasiklal Manikchand Dhariwal, the pan masala tycoon, was handed the keys of the two-tone ' Nayarit silver and Himalaya mid-grey ' super luxury saloon by DaimlerChrysler India's managing director Hans-Michael Huber at its Pune plant today.

For Rs 6 crore, the car is exclusive ' no two Maybachs are the same ' but not the only one on Indian roads. Earlier this year, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani imported a Maybach from DaimlerChrysler's Stuttgart factory.

The car purrs on Mumbai roads, ferrying Ambani from his tony Colaba skyscraper to his sprawling headquarters in Navi Mumbai in a little less than two hours.

Dhariwal said he bought the car for his daughter.

Nor is it likely to remain the only other one for long. The Maybach was unveiled in India in a January car expo; it is believed already 15 billionaires have pledged Rs 75 crore to lay their hands on one. The luxury car maker expects to sell about seven to eight units annually.

'Everything that the discerning driver and passenger could possibly require in terms of comfort, entertainment, information and communications is fitted as standard: DVD player, TV receiver to a refrigerator compartment,' said Huber, the chief of the German-US car maker's Indian subsidiary.

The rear seats in a Maybach are deep-recessed within a luxurious interior, keeping its passengers away from prying eyes and providing a considerable degree of security.

The Maybachs, built only on order, are customised extensively, leading to a wait period of about six months for delivery.

The customer is flown to Germany so that every specification can be incorporated. There are two million different ways in which Maybach customers can personalise the design and fittings of their high-end luxury saloon. The scope for customisation is further expanded with a range of high-quality accessories developed specifically for the Maybach ' from a made-to-measure luggage set to a sterling silver champagne flute to a golf bag.

The outstanding safety technology includes a total of 10 airbags ' two adaptive airbags with two-stage gas generators for the front passengers, plus four sidebags and two large window bags on either side of the interior.

Sensing the growing disposable income of the rich and the famous in India, another leading luxury car maker, Bentley Motors, has lined up its Arnage R and Continental GT models. They will come comparatively cheaper, at Rs 3 crore and Rs 1.6 crore, respectively.

Considering the depth and maturity of the Indian auto market, BMW is also toying with the idea of charming buyers with its super luxury 7-series sedan costing over Rs 3 crore.

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