Blog: Dave LeggettPostcard from India #1

Dave Leggett | 13 January 2004

Made it to Delhi in one piece but it was a 10-hour flight and I can never sleep on planes, so I'm a bit tired now but determined to stay awake on local time. Other trade mission members are proving an interesting bunch and all seem determined to make the most of India's booming auto industry. But I'm picking up vibes suggesting that the business culture In India is very different to, say, China's. I'm hearing that there's a more casual tone here and that business relationships can be more difficult to progress. The big Tier 1s are said to be about to plan a wave of investment to India, following the OEMs. But how would a senior manager at Delphi or Visteon feel if senior people in India fail to return e-mails? I just wonder whether the culture clash might be potentially more serious for US companies than European ones.

The journey from the airport to the hotel where I'm staying was quite an eye opener. There was the poverty of course, street stalls of all types and sacred cows and bulls at the roadside. But I noticed that India seems not to be following the international road sign conventions. Odd that. Many signposts seem to be hand painted too. But some of the vehicles on the road were a sight to behold. Hindustan Ambassadors, Hyundais on their last legs, trucks turned into buses and beaten up old bangers decorated with tinsel.

I'm now off for a few hours looking around Old Delhi and then I've a reception to go to tonight. Briefing at the British High Commission tomorrow morning.


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