When my friends Nitin and Richa told me we were going to pick up their new Honda I had no idea if would be so different than buying a new car in the USA.
They were excited about the new car because it’s still a very big deal to purchase new vehicles in India, where most people don’t even own a car at all.
The dealership makes a very big deal out of the purchase. Upon arriving they presented Richa with a dozen roses and a box of chocolates. They put bows on all the doors and the hood, and covered the car with a red covering to be taken off when the customer is ready to drive away.
Photos are taken of the transfer of the keys and then a priest comes and spends almost an hour blessing the car, to ensure that no harm comes to those that occupy the vehicle and to offer gratitude to the Gods for the ability to buy a new car.
He draws a swastika on the hood with sindoor as a sign of auspiciousness, luck, and good fortune. Then he scatters marigold and flower petals all over the inside and outside of the car. He also blows incense smoke over the car to bless it. Finally he lays lemons under each of the tires so that when they are smashed they scare away bad spirits.
I think I was very lucky to be there to witness this very different delivery of a new car. Congratulations to my friends Nitin, Richa and Nitisha!
By the way, most cars here run on diesel fuel which gives them very good gas mileage, since petrol is more expensive here than in the States.