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Old 24th July 2013, 13:48   #1
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Default Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Multinational companies with offices in India appear to follow certain rules, regulations and restrictions concerning the use of cars by their senior executives and CEOs in India. These regulations seem to have been formulated based on the perception that Indian roads are terribly unsafe, and CEOs would be risking their lives every time they venture out in a car. The regulations are not uniformly applied across all companies, but a number of them are common to quite a few companies.

Interestingly, a lot of these restrictions don't appear to apply for the same people when they travel to Europe / USA / Singapore / Australia etc.

Some of these restrictions are:
  • Kerb weight of the vehicle should not be less than 1500 kg (heavier the better!);
  • Vehicle must be equipped with airbags (very few Indian vehicles have anything more than just the front driver and passenger airbags, though. Some such folks refuse to sit in my Scorpio, even in the rear, because it doesn't have airbags);
  • The executive should not drive, but use a chauffeur from the company's pool for his daily commute. Some companies are so extremely strict that the exec is not even allowed to drop his kid to school in the morning! If required, the wife drives (wives' lives are less valuable than the executives'!) - but the same person is allowed to drive his own/rental car when in Europe, for example;
  • The executive should not sit in the front passenger seat. Even in the back, the person should sit on the left side, and must put his seat-belt on (minimizing risk of fatality in a head-on collision);
  • Some companies ban their personnel from being in a car after 9 pm / 10 pm. It's supposed to be dangerous to be out on the roads at night in India (some such folks I know therefore refuse to take overnight trips with me);
  • For those executives who are allowed to drive, they are not to drive on highways, but restrict their movements to city limits only. For highway use, a chauffeur must be used and the executive must sit in the rear seat;
  • Use of mobile phone in a car while driving, even via handsfree, is banned - this has been in effect even before Indian laws banned mobile use while driving. In addition, they are supposed to confirm with someone they are speaking to, whether he is driving or not - if the other person is driving, hang up. But the same rule does not apply when they are in the USA, for example;
  • Cannot listen to music in the car, even if not driving, because it might distract the driver.
From the point of view of safety, some of these rules are definitely justified, but then others are plain ridiculous.

What other rules have any of you come across, and how justified are they?

Also, given the similarity of these regulations, is there a common set of guidelines that companies use to formulate these rules? Can one see such a set of guidelines in print?

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 24th July 2013 at 13:51.
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Old 24th July 2013, 13:57   #2
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Very nice thread. A distant relative of ours recently moved back from Germany and he was mentioning exactly the same thing. His company has given him 3 cars for his use here but sadly he isnt allowed to drive any
1. Merc E
2. Ford Endy
3. Toyota Corrolla.

For all 3 cars he has to follow most of the rules u have noted above. No front sitting, always on rear seat on left side. he being a car enthusiast wanted to take the delivery of the E class himself but had to oblige to the set rules and all he could do is, start the engine, drive the car a couple of meters in the dealers premises.

Whilst abroad prior to relocating back to India he never had to follow these Rules. He is an Indian with EU nationality and been working with an Engineering Giant from Germany.

The Endy is given to him by the company for his personal use on weekends etc as he has a family of 4 but yet not allowed to drive. Corolla is meant for his kids and wife who are chauffeured around by the company provided drivers. E is his daily office use car.

3 cars but not allowed to drive and have to rely on 2 chauffeurs. I really dont know the exact logic behind such rules but if an accident is meant to happen, and if you are destined to be injured or whatever, it is going to happen irrespective of you driving or not.

Regards,
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Old 24th July 2013, 14:59   #3
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

This could be company specific and not general. Since 1994, i have worked /working in 3 MNCs, and none of these companies had such restrictions. Infact, the expat COO of one of those companies, loved to tour the Indian countryside and on most weekends he would drive himself.
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Old 24th July 2013, 15:35   #4
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

I know a couple of CEO's and COO of expat origin in India for a few years. One lives in a 5 star hotel (he is single) and the other in a beach side villa with his family.

The single guy has bought and owns an auto and drives himself around in it. It is rather funny since in some hotels auto's aren't allowed in the premises and he is in his business suit trying to get into the hotel to meet a client.

The married guy lives in Chennai and rides a bullet to and from work as well as on ECR on the weekends.

They are both white Americans.

So, not sure this applies to all MNCs.

Last edited by Rehaan : 25th July 2013 at 18:56. Reason: Rule #11
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Old 24th July 2013, 15:38   #5
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Many companies also preclude their expat employees from using an autorickshaw. It has something to do with insurance companies not covering autorickshaw transport.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 24th July 2013, 15:45   #6
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

One such rule back in 1995-96 used to be that the car could only be occupied by a single Japanese executive of a certain company - so no car pooling. And the reason, in case of a fatal accident, only one key person would perish.
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Old 24th July 2013, 16:01   #7
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

A friend of mine who worked with an Indian petrochemical co in New Bombay wanted to buy an 800 (this is around 12 years ago). The company said , you can buy it but you cant use it within the company premises or in your commute to and from work. As per their guidelines, the car had to weigh more than a tonne. he ended up buying an Indica! had the same set of rules.
My friend was at that time was not even middle management, forget senior management.
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Old 24th July 2013, 16:16   #8
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Interesting thread. Some of which actually explains senior management behaviour and insistence!

Question is, if these rules are for the CEOs, who makes them. Even if someone made them, who approves them?
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Old 24th July 2013, 16:33   #9
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
And the reason, in case of a fatal accident, only one key person would perish.
That's a pretty common rule, even Government officials have to follow the same protocol.
When the Mumbai attacks happened and 3 senior police officials (Karkare, Kamte & Salaskar) got killed, many questions were raised and one was, " why they travelled in the same vehicle? ", but then it was an extraordinary emergency.

Last edited by Daewood : 24th July 2013 at 16:39.
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Old 24th July 2013, 16:50   #10
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Question is, if these rules are for the CEOs, who makes them. Even if someone made them, who approves them?
Maybe the board members or the insurance companies? If India is considered a high risk destination, the CEOs would be insured by the company else the family members could sue them for sending them to a dangerous place to work.

Most, if not all of these rules are meant to prevent any litigation in case of any accidents.
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Old 24th July 2013, 16:51   #11
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Is this applicable only to expat CXOs?

In our company all the CXOs & VPs drive whether it is 530D, Superb, E-Class, Innova etc. I have hardly seen them with a chauffeur.
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Old 24th July 2013, 16:56   #12
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Something i quite liked, done by Vodafone:

Employees can lose their job if they are caught breaking the more serious rules (eg. DUI or lack of seat-belt when driving). This also extends beyond work hours!

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Related thread : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...ne-safety.html (Brilliant initiative by Vodafone on safety)

cya
R

Last edited by Rehaan : 24th July 2013 at 16:58.
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Old 24th July 2013, 18:23   #13
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

These restrictions are imposed due to "Executive Risk" insurance. Cost of this insurance can get very high if company chooses not to follow the "advice".

These are subject to audit by Insurance company.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Interestingly, a lot of these restrictions don't appear to apply for the same people when they travel to Europe / USA / Singapore / Australia etc.
Restrictions depend on "Risk Rating" of country. India has a medium risk for Ransom / Extortion and High risk for traffic incidences.

These ratings are data-driven, E.g. driving risk is based on number of fatalities which unfortunately is very high in India for road accidents.

Ransom rating is based on number of incidences and average ransom in last N years. This data is shared among insurance brokers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
how justified are they?

Also, given the similarity of these regulations, is there a common set of guidelines that companies use to formulate these rules? Can one see such a set of guidelines in print?
You can get a quote from Chubb that operates in India. That has list of restrictions which are ultimately prepared by ackerman (E.g. : http://www.ackermangroup.com/docs/sampleforecast.htm)

Exact list of restrictions is negotiated between "Corporate Security" and Insurance broker, so would be confidential.
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Old 24th July 2013, 18:31   #14
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Default Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Amazing. I had no idea some companies were so restrictive. I'd love to have a driver for commuting to work and for city use; who wants to fight the traffic. But there's no way I'd accept being chauffeured when going on long personal trips.

Wasn't there a rash of kidnapping / ransom incidents in north India some years back?

Last edited by TheTeacher : 24th July 2013 at 18:33.
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Old 24th July 2013, 19:03   #15
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Post Re: Cars of CEOs / Senior Employees of Multinational Companies : Rules & Restrictions

Interesting thread and I can relate to one such incident from my 1st job, now.

A CEO of a small company (less than 8 yrs in existence, in the US) had come down to visit my employer to meet our top management team and discuss business deal(s). I was the then the lead/SME for the business vertical on which these deals were discussed, so was instantaneously paired up to help and accommodate the man, coordinate internal meetings and discuss process requirements, take him out to show the countryside, etc.. Good thing was that he turned out to be very sensible, down to earth and friendly.

This was when I was still working in Chennai and my manager and I took him out to Fisherman's cove. We had a nice time chatting and he enjoyed a cigar there. Prior to lunch we asked him if he would like to go for a 'catamaran boat ride' into the sea (also catch fresh sea produce that they planned for lunch later) and he politely turned down the offer. Over lunch we learnt that he wasn't allowed to venture into 'adventure sports' () when travelling to India and also his insurance wasn't designed to cover any accidents if he dared to try..

So, some of the rules mentioned by SS-traveller makes sense. He however didn't have any issues sitting in the front passenger seat (never dared to drive though). Jolly good man outside of the office premise, he was. Inside, very business minded as expected.

(We got the mortgage process eventually).
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