Posts

Whatever happened to the Tata Nano?

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That's what I asked myself, suddenly out of nowhere. The car that would put India's masses on four wheels, that would conquer the globe thanks to its low base price of $1,700?   Well, it turns out that the Nano became a Nono for Tata and was discontinued in 2018. Introduced in 2008, Tata projected to sell 225,000 of them annual. But production never peaked over 70,000, and during its final years sales dropped from 16,000 to 7,500 or so. That low base p rice was still too high for India's motorbike buyers. Images of Nano's catching fire did not do a lot for its appeal either. And even though it looked like a hatchback, it did not even have a trunk, or a hatch for that matter. Tata did show a European version on the Geneva auto show in 2009 - longer and wider than the Indian version, and looking better too. But it was calculated that it would be too expensive to be competive here on the old continent. And publicity photo do not show the rear o

Katwijk: ID-kaart verlopen? Dan schrijft u zich maar elders in.

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De gemeente Katwijk. Elke keer als je denkt dat het niet erger kan, bewijzen de ambtenaren daar dat ze nog minder weten dan je vreest. Voor mijn moeder moest na een val een crisisopname worden geregeld. Ze kwam in een zorginstelling in Koudekerk aan den Rijn terecht om daar te herstellen. Alleen is haar ID-kaart verlopen, en de instelling eist een geldige kaart. Daar had de Katwijkse ambtenaar die mijn zwager sprak geen oplossing voor. Een ID-kaart moet je zelf aanvragen en o phalen, en een huisbezoek doen ze niet in Koudekerk, dat is te ver (30 minuten rijden...). Oplossing: ze moet zich in Katwijk uitschrijven, zich inschrijven in Alphen aan den Rijn, en daar een nieuwe kaart aanvragen. En als ze weer thuiskomt, zich weer in Alphen uitschrijven en zich dan gewoon weer in Katwijk inschrijven. Let wel, we hebben het hier over een vrouw van 94 die vrijwel haar hele leven in Katwijk woont. Dat dan ook alles waar ze nu via de gemeente voor in aanmerking komt, zoals thui

The sauna ritual

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It was a good day. We headed towards the twelfth floor on a Saturday morning, like we do almost every month. Time to talk, laugh, unwind and to be serious. We watched the wild clouds, chasing across the sky, emitting dark massive grey curtains of rain and hail, suddenly approaching us with a tremendous pace. Finally autumn was upon us, and it did so with profound power. We were impressed.

Australia and the Petrov Affair, it all started with a Škoda

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In December 1953 a wrecked Škoda triggered a series of unfortunate events, that resulted in the cutting of diplomatic ties between Moscow and Australia for five years. This is the story of a political car – and if anyone knows some more of these stories, I'd like to hear them.  Facts: On December 23, 1953, Laventi Beria, former head of the Soviet secret service MVD (later KGB) was found guilty of treason, and executed that same day. One day later, Christmas Eve, a burned out Škoda belonging to the Russian embassy, used by embassy staffer Vladimir Petrov, was found on the side of a rural road near Canberra, the capital of Australia. On Christmas Day, Vladimir Petrov, who was assigned to the Soviet embassy together with his wife Evdokia Petrova in 1951, reported to the police claiming he was run down from the road by a red truck. The Petrovs were no regular diplomats, but spies working for the MVD, and sent to Canberra by Beria. Police investigations concluded however that tho

Toyota dashboard memories

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Waiting for my father, sitting in the passenger seat of his new 1970 Toyota Corolla, I was quietly admiring the beauty of the modern dash of the small car. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder for sure, but that simple white metal dash with its two big gauges surrounded by a piece of black plastic, looked like nothing else in the entire automotive world for me as a young 12 year old at that moment. Because this was my father's first new car in many years. And with each subsequent new car, at an average interval of every two years back then, I witnessed progress in technology and luxury. How easily satisfied we were. A Japanese family happily enjoying their late 1960s Corolla. The 1970 car my father owned for a couple of months had a slightly different grille. Of course, that Corolla was not a marvel of advancement. It was modestly handsome, and the Japanese early fame for offering a lot for bargain money was somehow lost on this car. It offered nothing. Not even headrests.

Tucker Tesla – no future for Elon Musk's cars

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Elon Musk spoke, and European countries have a nervous breakdown. Tesla is planning a 'megafactory' in Europe. No surprise that every country and region is flirting with Tesla now. Poor Brexit Britain, it disqualified itself, but for the others it will be a winter and spring full of suspense until Mr. Musk will speak again. And to the winner I will say, enjoy it while it lasts. Because anyone who is familiar with the Tucker story, knows how the Tesla adventure will end. Musk and his companies will be there in our future, but Tesla won't. So, if you want a Tesla megafactory within your borders, you better start thinking about future re-employment and outsourcement programs as well.  Tesla Model S I have never driven a Tesla Model S. Frankly, I'd love to be behind the wheel of one, if only for an hour. The Tesla Model S has become a common car on Dutch roads, helped by massive tax incentives. Apparently, it is even the best selling car in Norway. Which is cheek

Alma mater friendship in a box

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True friendship lasts forever. We, six college students, were convinced of that when we graduated one by one in the cause of one year 33 years ago. When we enrolled at the Leiden University to study political sciences, we became close friends that shared our college lives in that old Dutch academic city. Six young people, two female and four male, of complete different backgrounds and all with our own individual outlooks on life, somehow managed to be a very coherent group. That would never change. Or so we thought. But life interfered. Even though our friendship did not evaporate, it surely faded. Career, relations, moves, maturing, it all contributed to the lack of interaction that followed. I'm sure we are not unique in that, many will recognize this unintentional change of emotions that happen, without any real conviction how to prevent it. Even though some friends occasionally got together at special events – a wedding, a priest ordination, a funeral - true friendship w