Let us prey

Let us prey

4th Feb 2015 3:35 pm

Wherein we take a look at eagles, hawks and owls and their connections with cars.


Internal code names used to denote work-in-progress models are normally yawn-inducing to the extreme. Usually thought up by engineers applying vast amounts of 'collective logic', these alphanumeric  names are as anonymous as those given to water filters, printers or flat-screen televisions. W124, E30, MQB; they're all generally gibberish. Mercedes always uses W followed by a number for normal cars , BMW uses E and now F followed by a number and Volkswagen uses similar alphanumeric junk. Closer home, Maruti is no different: YL7, YL1, YAD, Y9T, YRA, and so on and so forth. And Mahindra is just as bad; W201,U202, S102.

Tata Motors, on the other hand, have shown surprising creativity. Yes, its internal codenames, at least for the platforms, are similarly boring – X0 (zero), X1, X2, X3 and the X4; yawn again. But Tata has used names for its new, yet-to-be-launched models. And they aren't just random names, there's a theme; (with the exception of Pelican) they are all named after birds of prey. There are the Falcons, the Zest and Bolt, the yet to be launched Eagle (new crossover), the Raptors (New Safari and Sumo) and, of course, the Kites (entry hatch and entry compact sedan).

You could say Mahindra started the trend when it named its engines M-Hawk and M-Eagle, but Tata is the one who seems to have really picked it up and run with it. Otherwise commonly used for aircraft over the years, raptor names not used yet by Tata include Owl, Osprey, Kestrel, Hawk, Harrier, Merlin, Condor, Shikra and, of course, Vulture. Yes, Ford has the Falcon, a Hayabusa is Peregrine Falcon in Japanese and Eagle was a car brand owned by Chrysler, but when it comes to birds of prey names, Tata seems to be the one who has the most. And if the recent success of the Zest and its sister car, the Bolt, are anything to go by, the predatory instinct is there. But what's India's most successful bird of prey; well that has to be the Kite. And it could just be Tata's too.     







Shapur Kotwal

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Deputy editor at Autocar India.

Shapur is at the forefront of the magazine's extensive road testing activities and oversees the test instrumentation and data acquisition. Shapur has possibly the most experience among all road testers in the country.

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