Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way, shall we? Unlike car buyer guides from auto magazines, First Gear is of course, a manufacturer initiative. While it is safe to assume that Ford will use this guide as one way to grab the attention of a prospective customer, what’s surprising is that Ford only ‘suggests’ that ‘this’ product from Ford might satisfy ‘these’ criteria.

First Gear : First Time Car Buyer Guide From Ford

‘First Gear’ is a colourful, comprehensive first time car buyers guide for Jack and Jill, the typical first time car buyer couple.

First Gear has been designed and published elsewhere, but the content has been greatly customized to the Indian consumer. There are a number of quotes from Michael Boneham and Nigel Wark, addressing issues specific to India. There are also case studies presented with regard to India.

 To avoid the hardsell you may want to tell the salesperson that you won’t be making a purchase today, and are only visiting to gather information.

An obvious, yet not so obvious point. While there is the educated car buyer who knows how to get the best deal from the salesperson, there is always the first time car buyer in India, for whom the purchase is more a matter of pride and a symbol of having ‘arrived’ than anything else. He/she might just succumb to the pressure of the salesperson and tick those options they may never use.

 “Ask the dealer : What can you do today to make me buy this vehicle” advises Joseph Cueter, operations manager for Ford’s Customer Service Division, Asia Pacific and Africa.”

There is of course, always THAT car you’ve been waiting for, something you would sell you soul for. Let the sales person get a whiff of your desperateness and he has an upper hand over you. It is always the salesperson’s initiative to convince you to buy a car, so even if you have already made your decision make sure the sales person does his job by reassuring you of your choice.

How much should you optimally spend on a car?

“Customers should not feel too much pressure from their car payment.” notes Nigel Wark, Ford India’s Executive Director of Marketing, Sales and Service. “..the customers average bank balance should be at least double the amount of the car payment” he adds.

How do you protect yourself from the fluctuations in the cost of oil and raw materials that could drive up the price of components and thus, your maintenance expenses? Page 35 of First Gear gives you the answer.

Chapter 5: Technology on Wheels is the definitive example of what this buyers guide can do for Ford. The chapter lists all the conveniences in a new car, thanks to technology and the All New Ford Fiesta ticks most of the boxes!

Nuggets of wisdom from Ford’s DSFL programmes are also presented here in brief. Changing oil every 3 months, the need to let engines warm at idle before setting off, and buying fuel early in the morning to get more bang for your buck are some of the myths Ford tries to dispel.

The book is a fantastic read, and fulfills its purpose, in addition to providing information that educates the consumer about owning a car. Expect to be handed copies if this book at various promotional Ford events.