The really to start with time I observed him was at a buffet soon after a press conference in a person of the 7-star resorts in Central Delhi. Dressed in a informal T-shirt and denims, not a hair on his head, Chanchal Pal Chauhan was busy tackling a piece of mutton. I am not significantly of a foodie myself but I found that amusing. When I recall that moment now, I recognise there was a childlike innocence in it.
The upcoming time, Chanchal–CPC to some, Chanchal San to most, and simply just Maalik to me, was likely total tilt in a small auto that was not meant for racing. That was a popular notice–all automotive journalists go a tad mental guiding a steering wheel. I knew then, there was no other way we would not be close friends. Probabilities were being really significant we would turn out to be the best of close friends but that is more down to his toughness of character and generosity than nearly anything else.
All of 46, Covid snatched Chanchal from us in April, at the peak of the 2nd wave. It still left us numb and shattered a element of me–without end. 6 months have gone by and but it feels too raw. The head has not been ready to method his departure. Maybe it would not at any time. A halt-begin calendar year that this has been, automotive events–press conferences, interviews, conferences and launches–have not been as frequent. In a way that has been a blessing for the reason that each and every time an occasion has took place, Chanchal’s title usually came up. Fellow journalists would attain out to your’s really and Pankaj Doval from Moments of India to inform us how terribly he is missed. Or how significantly poorer the field is now. No person understands this as significantly as we at ETAuto the place Malik gave the past two of a glittering 20-calendar year career.
As a experienced, he played tough but honest. There is not a person business that he would not have provided grief to in his career. Nonetheless every person counts him as a friend. I use the current tense listed here deliberately. As journalists we fulfill some folks quite a few periods and quite a few folks a couple of periods. Chanchal usually still left an perception even on all those whom he achieved only a couple of periods. It is a rare high quality.
The ability to mill about with folks of all forms gave him an edge more than the other people. Situation in point was the tale he broke on how union leaders of Maruti Suzuki’s factory in Manesar quietly retreated to the shadows soon after accepting generous pay out outs. It was a outcome of his robust join with the personnel. By that time, we had all expended times outdoors the factory constructing sources in the workforce but Chanchal had managed to forge the strongest of bonds.
With practical experience, he made the ability to foresee what is in retailer in the future–a different crucial high quality in a journalist. At ETAuto, a person of his most productive tales was when he predicted that Harley Davidson would quickly wind up in India. He had again then also hinted that Ford would comply with the similar route. It came genuine too, hardly five months soon after his death.
The past time I observed Chanchal, it was in Goa in February 2021. We were being together for a person more of the quite a few media test drives we have shared more than the many years. Anybody who knew him individually, would know he was a gentleman who lived existence to the fullest–cliche as it may possibly sound. He had an enviable hunger for all very good points in existence and beloved a very good party. That night he was on fire. Practically as if he knew somehow that the party was quickly coming to an finish.
This calendar year the field also lost a person of the very best executives we have at any time found or shall at any time see–Jagdish Khattar. Barely seventy two hrs soon after Chanchal in April, Khattar san succumbed to a cardiac arrest. Shock is not a word a person would usually use for the demise of a septuagenarian but it is even now apt in his case. In his 78 calendar year outdated entire body, he even now had the mind as sharp as that of a 40 calendar year outdated.
An arts graduate from the prestigious St Stephen’s College or university in Delhi, Khattar san went on to obtain a diploma in legislation and joined the IAS. In the governing administration he excelled at whichever he did rising through the ranks to turn out to be a joint secretary in the ministry of steel but his crowning glory was in the non-public sector. Underneath his stewardship, India’s greatest carmaker Maruti Suzuki produced the smooth transition from a PSU to a non-public company as the governing administration bowed out in 2007.
With its to start with mover benefit that dates again to the early nineteen eighties, Maruti usually had an benefit more than the other people. But to keep its vice-like hold in a market that has attracted the best in the organization across the planet wasnt an effortless task. It did not assist that quickly soon after he took more than the corner workplace at what was then identified as Maruti Udyog Ltd, the business faced a debilitating 90 working day workers’ strike at the Gurgaon factory. They were being demanding greater wages.
At a time when multinational businesses were being getting into India in droves, this would have raised expenditures and produced the business even more inefficient. With the assist from Suzuki, which was then a minority shareholder, Khattar dug his heels in and dealt with the personnel with an iron hand. It was a pivotal time for the business the place the relationship of its two key shareholders –Suzuki in Japan and governing administration of India, had soured. Khattar san not only rebuilt the business so that it can hold its possess against the challengers, he also assisted bridge the belief deficit amongst the governing administration and Suzuki.
“The 2001 strike was a person of the hardest durations that I came across in Maruti Suzuki. It was actually the turning point,” he reminisced in 2007 when he was leaving the company. “If we had provided in, we would not be the place we are now. Salaries would have gone up and we would have turn out to be inefficient. Our competitiveness in the market would have been blunted.”
The strike impacted the company’s placement in the market as its share fell from a commanding 79 for every cent in January 1999 to just fifty one for every cent a calendar year later and a new low of forty two for every cent in June 2000. Khattar nursed the business again to health ahead of hitting again at the competition with a flurry of launches that bundled Wagon R, Alto 800, the primary Baleno sedan and Altura station wagon as also a revamped M800, which was at that time the best promoting auto in the country. By June 2001, Maruti had clawed again to 60 for every cent share.
In the method Khattar san acquired himself the moniker of being the Lee Iacocca of motown in India. The fortress that Maruti is now has a lot to do with Khattar san’s organization acumen. After his retirement from Maruti in 2008, he gave in to his entrepreneurial zeal to launch Carnation–an modern multi model service community for cars and trucks. The plan was very simple–he knew the inefficiencies of the standard automotive retail community and required to disrupt it with more reasonably priced and high quality service for buyers.
Unfortunately, it did not get off and Khattar san expended the past couple of many years of his existence fending off creditors. But he had not provided in and that razor sharp mind was even now churning out new suggestions. Those people eyes were being even now total of dreams. Some of them would absolutely have taken off in the new enterprise money funded economic system. If only that coronary heart had cooperated a little bit more.
Anywhere they are, Maalik and Khattar san have to even now be having a tug of war up there. Chanchal nibbling away with his inquiries, ready for Khattar-san to allow his guard down.