Motoring occasions are excessive on each true-blue automotive aficionado’s want listing. We, at Autocar India, are at all times wanting ahead to such events as a result of they current us with an opportunity to stay the eagerness that drives us. Sadly, these occasions don’t see sufficient participation from ladies. This begged the query: Why ought to boys have all of the enjoyable? Can’t ladies manoeuvre a automobile round a observe in addition to males? To place this to relaxation, we teamed up with Ford India to organise #SheDrives – a first-of-its-kind professional driving faculty for ladies. And to assist the women get in contact with their interior petrolheads, we had Asia-Pacific Rally Champion, Gaurav Gill, as driver coach. The primary occasion held in Mumbai was a convincing success. The college then moved to Delhi-NCR to provide ladies one other go at driving like professionals.
Held in Gurugram over a vivid and sunny weekend on the finish of March, the second version of Ford #SheDrives noticed the participation of over 120 ladies from all walks of life. To assist them be taught superior driving methods, an autocross observe was constructed, consisting of quick straights, tight corners and chicanes. The morning started with ace rally automobile driver, Gill, taking every of the members on a sighting lap in a totally inventory Ford Freestyle, acquainting them with varied parts of the observe. This was adopted by an all-out scorching lap, which confirmed the members what it might imply to drive on the sting. All ladies then drove across the dust observe and their performances had been timed.
Having set a benchmark, the members moved to a slalom course the place they practised varied expertise corresponding to tackling corners on dust, coping with understeer and oversteer and utilizing the handbrake to go sideways (in a managed method, in fact). Lastly, they got one other shot at a scorching lap to see if they might shave essential seconds off their time.
With follow coming to an finish, it was time for the members to place the pedal to the metallic. However earlier than that, matters like the fitting line to take across the observe, acceleration and braking had been mentioned with the instructors to wring probably the most out of their vehicles – and the outcomes, you ask? They managed to higher their lap instances by a substantial margin and the instructors had been extremely impressed with a couple of; and that’s no small feat. In line with Gill, the time spent on the circuit was not nearly enjoyable. “The brand new insights into driving methods will even assist the members turn out to be higher and safer drivers on the highway, and that’s an exquisite factor,” he mentioned.
By the tip of the day, there was a smile on each participant’s face. All of them felt the very idea of a driving programme completely for ladies made them really feel comfy about signing up for such an occasion. Some had such a blast that they confirmed up on the second day, simply to have one other likelihood at bettering their lap instances.
With each the Mumbai and Gurugram legs witnessing a excessive turnout, the #SheDrives professional driving faculty will quickly make its strategy to one other metropolis. So, girls, maintain your eyes peeled for an replace on our social media channels!
Q&A ANURAG MEHROTRA, MD, FORD INDIA
How has Ford labored to protect the fun-to-drive ingredient related to its fashions?
Over the previous few years, we’ve made positive that each the product in addition to the expertise we create for the purchasers is one thing that lives as much as the ‘enjoyable to drive’ concept. And we’ve seen that over the past 5 years within the new automobile purchaser survey carried out each six months, individuals have began appreciating these elements as effectively – not simply the ‘enjoyable to drive’ ingredient but additionally security. It’s turning into extra vital than simply worth or value of possession.
Are you seeing extra ladies automobile patrons strolling into Ford showrooms?
There are extra ladies patrons coming in. At the moment, throughout the business, eight % of automobile possession is ladies. We imagine over the subsequent few years that determine will rise to 12 %. The nice factor, so far as Ford is anxious, is that ladies represent 15 % of all EcoSport patrons, and 25 % of Freestyle patrons.
How will you adapt your merchandise to higher swimsuit the wants of ladies patrons?
As OEMs, we’ll have to start out fascinated about crafting and designing merchandise that maintain the sensibilities of ladies on the fore, and the orientation or utility they could be on the lookout for. I’m pleased to see ladies automobile possession growing and to see them going after attributes past worth and price of possession.