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A Ford EcoSport was recently stopped by the Police because it had the spare wheel mounted on the tailgate. The police accused the owner of modifying the SUV and attempted to find him for it.
However, the owner argued that the car comes with the spare wheel mounted on the tailgate from the factory and he cannot be fined for it. The incident was recorded by the owner of the vehicle in a short video lasting just 31 seconds.
In the video uploaded by Bharat - AutoWheels India, the owner of the car kept asking the policeman why he was asked to place the spare wheel on top of the roof. The police were clearly behaving in a rough manner with the motorist and the video cuts off when the policeman appears to have snatched the phone to stop the video recording.
The incident was obviously tense, and angered the owner of the Ford EcoSport as he was accused of violating traffic rules and regulations. However, the policemen were being ignorant of the fact that the car comes with a factory-fitted spare wheel on the tailgate.
The Ford EcoSport is one of the more popular SUVs in India. It is one of the best-sellers in the compact SUV segment in India. It is an iconic and instantly-recognisable design and when one speaks of its design, it is hard to miss the tailgate-mounted spare wheel.
Tailgate-mounted spare wheels are not a new trend in the Indian market. For ages, tailgate-mounted wheels were considered a macho symbol and almost all SUVs had to have it. Iconic Indian SUVs like the Mahindra Bolero, Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, Tata Sumo, Tata Safari, etc, all had tailgate-mounted spare wheels.
A few luxury SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz ML Class, G Class, etc also come with tailgate mounted spare wheels. In the compact SUV space though, the Ford EcoSport became the first to have the feature. It lends a rather masculine touch to the SUV and makes it look good. It is also very convenient when it comes time to change wheels.
However, according to the police in this video, the spare wheel belongs on the roof. Just to clarify this, no car or SUV in India comes with the spare wheels mounted on the roof. Some have it mounted on the tailgate and every other vehicle has it in the boot or under the body. So, the cops were clearly wrong in that area too.
They were being extremely aggressive and hence we aren't sure if the EcoSport owner got away without a challan. This is clearly a case of harassment by the police, and such cases have increased over the last month.
The government of India implemented the new Motor Vehicle Act in September 2019, and hiked the fines for traffic violations by upto ten times. The police almost immediately began collecting heavy fines and motorists complained of harassment. This is one such classic case.
Thoughts On Ford EcoSport Owner Harassed By Police For Spare Wheel Being Mounted On The Tailgate
The police at the spot were obviously unaware of the Ford EcoSport and the fact that it comes from the factory with a tailgate-mounted spare wheel. Even if they were aware of it, they simply might have refused to show it in an attempt to extract hefty fines from users who were unaware.
At this point, we should mention that the police are supposed to fine only those who are in direct violation of traffic rules. If you have made legal modifications on your car or motorcycle, you can always get it endorsed by the local RTO.
In the case of being harassed by the police for standard equipment like LED headlamps, tailgate-mounted spare wheel, premium horns, etc, one can always fight the case and not pay the fine. In-fact, the authorities can be penalised for wrong accusations and harassment.