The Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) of Kerala has just seized a Mitsubishi Lancer sedan because it was modified to look like a ‘Ferrari’. This Lancer is said to belong to Rashid of Kodakkallu in Thirunavaya. The RTO has now given the owner 15 days time to revert the car’s design back to stock. If the owner doesn’t comply with this order, he will face a huge penalty and also have his car deregistered, making it unfit to ply on public roads.
From the modifications on the Lancer, it’s hard to draw an analogy to a Ferrari. At best, the modified Lancer seems inspired by the Evolution range of Lancers that Mitsubishi sold in multiple countries. In terms of modifications, the car gets a new front bumper, a modified hood, a new rear bumper and a large boot-lid spoiler. Engine modifications, if any, haven’t been revealed. It’s not uncommon for such cars to feature louder, free flow exhausts.
According to the Indian Motor Vehicle Act’s (MVA) Section 52, any modification to a car’s design without RTO approval is illegal. In the recent past, the Kerala RTO seized a Maruti Baleno that was modified to look like a Mercedes Benz A-Class. The owner of that car undid the modifications, and presented the stock car to the RTO to avoid facing penal action.
The Kerala RTO now plans to target car modifiers in the state, who are engaged in ‘illegally’ modifying cars. This may put many modifiers out of business or encourage corruption as Kerala plays host of a long list of car modifiers who have delivered some wonderfully modified cars in the past. The RTO also plans to crack down on illegally modified cars plying on streets. These changes are likely to send a shiver across the spines of both the owners and makers of modified cars.