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Old 25th July 2013, 15:49   #46
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

This thread has made me quite nervous to be honest. I am no CEO, CXO, CFO etc... but I do head our small company that provides livelihood to quite a few families. I travel by road extensively, very often with my dad (the other 50% of the top management) . On many such road trips we have discussed our fears of what were to happen if something happened to both of us while travelling together and how many companies have a policy of not allowing their top management to travel together.

Unlike large corporations, small companies are typically extremely top heavy. While large companies will take some time to recover from the sudden loss of a key top person, small companies will simply close down if they were to lose their top management or in layman terms the 'owner'.

But one thing I know for certain is that I am much safer with myself at the wheel rather than any chauffeur, no matter how trained he is. Driving on all sorts of highways I feel I have gained a huge wealth of experience and have some very strict dos and dont's which I follow religiously. I don't let my dad drive on the highway and am really uncomfortable when he says he wants to hire a cab for highway journeys. Either he rides with me or takes the bus / train/ flight. Driving habits, awareness and skill levels of cab/ taxi drivers really freak the hell out of me, not to mention the highway worthiness of these taxis.
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Old 25th July 2013, 16:06   #47
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

It is pure bad luck if something happens but the road conditions in India is so pathetic. I was so sad when even in third world countries like Yemen, Kenya and Ethiopia I found highways much better than India.

The British really fooled us by pushing railway tracks instead of highways.

The highways here are dangerous because :

They are not barricaded from the sides.
There are no hoof trap gates to prevent animals from entering the highways
There is no control over slow and fast traffic on the same road
Most of the taxi drivers and commercial vehicle drivers have not undergone any training and test and have obtained a driving license easily without any pain.
Their behaviour is highly unpredictable, they change lanes, decide to pass you at their whim without caring for conditions ahead of you if you are in the front.
A dumper driver or a tractor trolley just doesnt care about your nice Wagon R, you should save it his body is solid iron which can be scratched no problem.
He has nothing to loose, you are at a risk.
Villagers are exempted toll and are free to drive tractors at will on highways on the pretext of taking crops to the market / mandi.
truck drivers have a right to block highways at night and simply go to sleep blocking all traffic, no problem.
Often roads pass through populated area where a charpoy or chair can be found right on the tarmac produding from the flanking. That is acceptable behaviour here.

Your life is in the hand of a stupid driver who is also not schooled in any ethics or civic sense like the truck driver behind you.

Obviously driving in India is a battle and a dangerous indulgence.

I have paid for it in kind during my accident.

And definetely I have little pleasure while driving on Indian roads.
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Old 25th July 2013, 16:31   #48
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

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Cattle, donkeys, dogs, beggars, unruly truck drivers, no lane discipline for heavy vehicles, no seperate truck roads, no slip roads to come on to the highway, tractor drivers with 3 trailers often without license and no civic sense, children running on streets and the highway, people sitting out of their houses on the highway!, fish and chilli being dried on the highway, dual caariageway roads, no lightning, full beam opposite direction oncoming traffic, friday paryers on the road, temples in the middle of the road, strikes and protests on the road, burst crackers on the road, play holi on the rad, relieve yourself on the road, at a U turn or any turn dont let one vehicle pass then alternate, might is right. Tailgate the car in front of you, honk honk honk!
Fight on the road if someone is blocking you.

Isn't this reason enough for companies to worry about their executives.
More than all these, the main concern is the lack of emergency services in case of accident. If one has accident in the highway, the first responders will try to rob the accident victims. After that, police will arrive and they will decide whether to call the ambulance and then send the victim to the nearest government hospital. There is no chance of air-lifting the accident victims. Most deaths happens because of the delay in emergency care.
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Old 25th July 2013, 16:35   #49
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

I remember hearing from my IIT-KGP friend that in the mid-1990s, certain tier 1 consulting firms would not allow their campus recruitment teams to even travel to Kharagpur, as all surface transport travel was banned :-). This was obviously apart from the completely unavoidable airport pick-up and drop-offs.

However, rival IIT-ians may well claim that no one even wanted to go to IIT-KGP in the mid-1990s ;-)

Last edited by itwasntme : 25th July 2013 at 16:37. Reason: Humour
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Old 25th July 2013, 17:51   #50
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Actually the 2 unwritten rules in your company makes a lot of sense and quite reasonable too. I feel a lot of rules mentioned in the first few posts like not being allowed to drive and others quite restrictive. I think it is a bigger risk if a large organisation is so dependent on one person to run the organisation.

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Well, unless you are in the hot seat, you won't be able to understand.

In our tiny company, we too have an unwritten rule. My business partner and I do not:

1) Fly together.
2) Drive long distance in car together.

The second rule gets relaxed in US roads since emergency medical services are much better and cars are much safer. It is a question of practicality. One of us have to survive in order for company to continue.
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Old 25th July 2013, 21:45   #51
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

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CEO of one of the leading auto manufacturer that we have been in contact with here in India, is driven around by a chauffeur with a salary in excess of 50K per month (perks extra!). That is equivalent to a Tier II or even Tier III manager in the same company.
On the lighter note, the CEO in question being the leader of the auto manufacturer, probably has kept a qualified driver to take key feedback points from him while commuting for work . This very well justifies the high salary.
I have been working recently with a chemical major and the project involves travel across all continents where these guys have presence. I came across a very weird rule within this organization. You are forbidden to travel on foot whatever may be the distance if you are not in your home country or home office. Most of the time I end up staying at hotels just on a walking distance from their offices but I've to wait for my ride which costs a bomb considering the hire charges of chauffeur driven cars in most parts of the world for the entire day. They won't even allow me to get a local taxi. In case of South Korea, I was literally able to see the office across the block from my hotel room but had to wait daily for the car. When I inquired about this, they all seemed to be surprised that my own organization being so big and reputed, does not have that rule. Funny sides.
As for my own organization, we do have relaxed policies as far as the vehicles are concerned. Being a partner driven firm, we have almost a universal presence across the globe barring extremely few omissions like North Korea etc but each one of us is quite free to decide which vehicle to be taken up, how it is driven etc. Some of the policies that we strictly enforced are mainly the ones listed here earlier.
1> A big group can not travel in one flight/vehicle.
2> You have to hire vehicles for business trips from the travel desk only which uses only listed suppliers. No exception even if you get options at half the price or emergency meetings.
3> For some strange reason, we had a rule that one can use car as a means of transport between any two points without distance limitation. I think they must not have imagined ingenuity of worldwide desi employees while making this acceptable. I have people in my team who travel to places like Aurangabad, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad from Mumbai on project work by car as long as they have enough client chargeable time. I know of one who had made a trip across Europe to take delivery of his E Class getting paid for expenses by both our company as well as vehicle manufacturer. Mercedes does pay for trip expenses from some fixed locations if you decide to take delivery yourself from their German factory, at least they used to have this earlier. Don’t know if this still continues.
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Old 25th July 2013, 22:16   #52
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

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Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
The British really fooled us by pushing railway tracks instead of highways.
OT:
It's the current lot that is fooling us by weaning everyone away from rail transport to the roads. The transportation cost in a kilogram of vegetable is as high as 45%, because it's transported by road and not by train. A kilometre of National Highway consumes around 150 acres of land whereas a rail track will use just one tenth of that.
There is a huge lobby behind this, and the newest entrant is the cement lobby. One of the reasons they listed as justification for advocating cement roads is, "Tar is a by-product of petroleum and fossil fuels will last only another 70 years and hence we need to shift now itself to cement". Hilarious justification.
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Old 25th July 2013, 22:33   #53
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When Ford first set up shop in India in 1995-1996 their executives had to travel only in vehicles which were equipped with rear seat belts.
Hence, from the Taj or Oberoi in Bombay right up to their Nasik plant, their blokes used to be ferried around in Mercedes cars or if one was available, a Ford Escort or similar.
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Old 26th July 2013, 08:58   #54
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

In my company
  • All taxi's used need to have seat belts. If people use them, that is another matter.
  • Helmeted bikers only in campus
  • Expats are advised not to drive - the NRI's normally drive though

In the case of the CEO visit, his program is frozen well in advance, a security detachment will come and assess the places, routes to be visited.
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Old 27th July 2013, 14:14   #55
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Certain companies also seem to have over-enthusiastic maintenance schedules for the company-owned car fleet - such as:
  • Replacement of spark plugs every 10,000 km (even if not so required by the manufacturer)
  • Replacing engine oil every 5000 km (even if not so required by the manufacturer)
  • Replacing tyres every 3-4 years (even if they haven't run 10,000 km)
  • Full suspension overhaul and damper replacement every 50,000 km (despite a perfectly running suspension)
  • Fuel tank cleaning every 20,000 km
Gives a completely new meaning to 'company-maintained car'.


What are your experiences?
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Old 28th July 2013, 13:29   #56
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Slightly OT - The worst travel disaster I can recall which resulted in the death of many important people together was the crash of a Polish aircraft in 2010. Among the people killed were the president, chiefs of the army, air force and navy, governor of the national bank, head of the national security bureau and many other senior government officials of Poland.

Having senior people travel separately definitely makes sense, for companies as well as governments.
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Old 28th July 2013, 20:50   #57
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Certain companies also seem to have over-enthusiastic maintenance schedules for the company-owned car fleet - such as:
  • Replacement of spark plugs every 10,000 km (even if not so required by the manufacturer)
  • Replacing engine oil every 5000 km (even if not so required by the manufacturer)
  • Replacing tyres every 3-4 years (even if they haven't run 10,000 km)
  • Full suspension overhaul and damper replacement every 50,000 km (despite a perfectly running suspension)
  • Fuel tank cleaning every 20,000 km
Gives a completely new meaning to 'company-maintained car'.


What are your experiences?
Wow! Such companies probably replace their cars when they are 2-3 years old. Would love to buy such a pre-worshipped (literally!) car!
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Old 28th July 2013, 23:48   #58
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

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Wow! Such companies probably replace their cars when they are 2-3 years old. Would love to buy such a pre-worshipped (literally!) car!
Most of the companies which provide vehicles have a replacement policy after every three years or in certain cases max four years. Even if the policy is just for providing leased vehicle rather than as an outright perk, the lease would normally be for max four years after which you are supposed to be eligible for a new vehicle and lease. You sure do get very good deals in companies who have these policies as these vehicles are properly maintained and just for the heck of tax savings both on corporate and employees side, the regular maintenance schedules are followed religiously even if not required.
The fun part is, it's really hard to get information in time for such deals. Usually they will vanish within the circles before the general public even knows about these. The next best segment for such deals are the banks who give out vehicle loans. There are some very good deals there too for confiscated vehicles but the good deals here vanish in similar fashion too.
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Old 29th July 2013, 22:01   #59
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Certain companies also seem to have over-enthusiastic maintenance schedules for the company-owned car fleet
Its not maintenence, but TLC. Now if you can take care of the being replaced every few years, I wouldn't mind spending life as a car in these companies!

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 29th July 2013, 22:28   #60
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Fascinating thread. I thought the restrictions were rather self serving and pretentious, till I read Samurai's first person take on it. Very sensible.

I know a couple of people running family businesses here and they drive around an awful lot, sometimes covering incredible distances in a single day. I have even advised then to consider getting a driver for such trips but true to form these are Type A personalities who would not trust any other person with driving. Can't say I blame them.

Me personally? Highly unlikely I ever become a CEO- not in my bucket list for sure- but if a company that wanted to appoint me told me I could not drive myself I would laugh and tell them to find someone else for the job.
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