By on March 27, 2012

Horns are a fixture of Indian driving. Rather than being used to signal anger like in the United States, horns are used for almost everything on Indian roads – one study found that major intersections in Calcutta have one horn honk every three seconds.

Just like Audi’s Chinese cars come with longer wheelbases, Indian Audis have loud horns. Really loud horns. Audi India head Michael Perschke told a conference of luxury retailers that the company actually designs louder horns for the Indian market. According to a report in The Globe and Mail

“Obviously for India, the horn is a category in itself,” he told the Indian financial newspaper Mint. “You take a European horn and it will be gone in a week or two. With the amount of honking in Mumbai, we do on a daily basis what an average German does on an annual basis.”

Perschke said that the horns are blown continuously for two weeks to test their strength. India supposedly has decibel level laws design to eliminate this problem, but like many other regulations in the country, they are flouted with little regard for the law. Traffic wardens and other residents of major cities are experiencing a hearing-loss epidemic, which is being blamed partially on the sheer noise of motor vehicles.  Taking a cue from Chinese vehicles, Audi also said that their future Indian products will focus more on rear-seat comfort, since most well-to-do Indians have a driver.

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20 Comments on “Audi Designs Special “Extra Loud” Horns For Indian Market...”

  • avatar

    I need the part number for an OEM+ upgrade to my Audi.

  • avatar

    Given the tendency for these kinds of situations to rapidly escalate (horn wars!), I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this kind of thing becoming regulated in relatively short order.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    I’ll give the woman in that gold dress an extra loud horn. Those hips don’t lie.

  • avatar

    The smiling audi guy’s left hand is resting on the car. Where is his right hand?

  • avatar

    When I was in New Delhi a few years back, I noticed that horn usage reminded me of the bleating of sheep. I spent hours in traffic jams where there were no lanes and there was lots of lateral movement in very tight spaces. The horn usage was almost constant, with lots of short bleeps. It semed to me that the primary purpose was a sort of echo location mechanism to allow anyone planning a lateral move to be aware of the vehicles nearby. None of the honking seemed to be in anger. There was no leaning on the horn that some of these very same drivers adopt upon beginning their new careers as cab drivers in New York.

    One curious side effect of the use of every available inch is that motorbikes have no advantage in jammed traffic. I’d see the exact same motorcyle and rider at the beginning as I would at the end.

  • avatar

    Maybe it’s also, like that one Top Gear Episode touched on, because there are 130,000+ traffic-accident-fatalies per year in India.

    It’s not the TG, but here’s one link:

  • avatar

    I rarely use my horn. Maybe a gentle two-tap when the light’s turned green and the car in front is not paying attention.

    • 0 avatar

      I use my horn frequently (almost daily) for the very same reason. I guess more drivers pay attention to the light where you live.

    • 0 avatar
      Vipul Singh

      Usage of the horn is a habit more than it is any real need. In Delhi, I get by without honking for weeks altogether. Just that I keep myself on low priority and an willing to give way. Some people around here forget that it is actually the accelerator pedal which moves the car, and not the horn button.

      I found that apart from emergencies (few and far between), the only time I need to use the horn is when there is a raft of cyclists/pedestrians on a narrow road and you need to drive past them while avoiding a side swipe.

  • avatar

    Makes no difference the gandoo/matudor still won’t get out of the way. Worse It could spook the odd, runaway elephant and Audi get trounced.

    Joss stick.

  • avatar

    It’s the same way in China – constant horn usage. I remember driving around a Chinese visitor to the States several years back, and he wondered, “How come you don’t honk your horn?”

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    In Tehran there’s also a lot of horn use, mostly signal the car’s presence. Road lanes are usually mere “suggestions” so I guess it’s needed.

  • avatar

    In Peru there seems to be an obligation for drivers to honk at pedestrians to warn of an approaching vehicle, but none to prevent them from hitting those pedestrians if they don’t move out of the way.

  • avatar

    When I went to Bangalore a few years ago, every time I stepped out of my hotel the first couple of days, the horns made me think there was a parade of some sort passing by.

    I actually kind of missed the noise when I got back Stateside after a few weeks there. It just seemed more cheerful with all the beep-beeps.

  • avatar

    China’s bad, but Egypt’s downright awful. The cacophony of horns in Cairo at all hours is enough to drive one to madness.

  • avatar

    Living in India for the past few months the only driving rule seems to be that you must honk your horn every 15 seconds. The outside mirrors get folded in lest they get clipped by a scooter or motorcycle trying to squeeze by in traffic. And the rear view mirror has to angled in such a way that the driver can watch himself drive.

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