Nano – The Match-Box Car

nano-3.jpgNew Delhi: 10th January 2008: One lakh rupees or one hundred thousand rupees. That is the cost of Nano – billed as the world’s cheapest car.  

“Affordable,” you will put it? “Yeah, cute,” others might say! “Wow,” girls would gaze. Common man, however, has to still dream about it. 

When Tata Motors unveiled Nano at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi, journalists, onlookers and Tata fans were there. In fact, television channels in Europe and the UK telecast the event live. Needless to add that Indian TV channels’ self-claimed auto experts made it a near-stampede launch. Watch Unveiling of the Car.   

I was, however, not amused… thinking of the farmers of Singur. The Tatas have built the Nano car factory on the farmers’ land at Singur in India’s eastern state of West Bengal. It is painful.

Soon, there would be hundreds of thousands of these small cars on the roads. But, not even one such car owner would be told stories of Singur, with the car factory having been set up on farmers’ blood. Read About Singur.

Let Ratan Tata, heading the tea-to-steel group, compare Nano as a landmark in the history of transportation. But I have some serious questions which deserve honest answers –  

“Whether Nano is a step forward for Indian middle class or a step back in reducing global carbon emissions? Is Nano a small revolution or more pollution? Will Nano change the Indian auto industry in the coming days? Will customers get Nano at the promised price when it is launched in the festive period later in 2008? Will the Indian streets be the same again? Will the small car be used in the highway, as it only has a 623 cc engine? Is the Nano really a car or an auto rickshaw with the engine at the back? Is Nano capable enough to overtake any vehicle on road except cycle or loaded commercial vehicles?”

Final Words: As and when Nano is launched, be prepared to patiently watch people pulling guns and sticks in your housing colonies to settle parking disputes.

15 comments

  1. I think your comments on the nano are rather uni-dimensional. I think what Tata has done is to put it mildly, uncalled for. and therefore scathed by the pseudo bourgeois. Why is it only the poor man’s prerogative to ensure a clean environment. How about the four – five car households or for that matter all the high end guzzlers. I could go on an on but I think trying to do so is about the same level of difficulty as trying to nail guppies with a roofing hammer. I shall have no part in such obscurantism.

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  2. I think your comments on the nano are rather uni-dimensional. I think what Tata has done is to put it mildly, uncalled for. and therefore scathed by the pseudo bourgeois. Why is it only the poor man’s prerogative to ensure a clean environment. How about the four – five car households or for that matter all the high end guzzlers. I could go on an on but I think trying to do so is about the same level of difficulty as trying to nail guippies with a roofing hammer. I shall have no part in such obscurantism.

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  3. It is difficult to say anything about the new Nano without knowing about its real performance. It is same as saying that one should not count the eggs before they are hatched.

    However, I am not sure of the technology of the Tatas because their Indica and Indigo cars did not click with the masses. Did they?

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  4. Kudos to Tatas for reinventing the wheeel. I am delighted because I am sure other car manufacturers like Maruti will surely introduce smaller and cheaper cars, say of 600 cc, soon. Of course, customers are going to be benefitted.

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  5. Whatever be the case, fuel efficiency and pricing are Nano’s biggest advantages Neeraj.

    It wouldl be a hit in rural areas, the sector hitherto neglected by carmakers.

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  6. There have been greater innovations but for Tata’s Nano. This is nothing but a media hype. It seems that it is a media coup by Tata.

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  7. By bringing a Rs. one-lakh car, Tata Motors want to finish off Bajaj’s scooter-motorcycles and Hero Group’s Hero Honda series besides chopping off other fries like TVS etc. It is a business war, a car war.

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  8. I have not seen such an honest and balanced description of Tata’s smallest/cheapest car. You have written an excellent, thoughtprovoking and precise blog. Congratulations.

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  9. Ratan Tata should give Nano free to the farmers of Singur. The car unveiled in Delhi was made in Mumbai as a stop-gap arrangement. Why didn’t Ratan Tata have the guts to unveil the car at Singur or even Kolkata?

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  10. Two things come to my mind:

    1.With Tata launching the ‘cheapest car’, there will be competition in this sphere also. This means there will be more choices available soon, and huge number of people will afford to buy cars. Do we have enough infrustructure to support that much of car parking?

    2.It is also a possiblity that in a bid to make the cheapest car possible, quality of material and engineering may be compromised! This may lead to more accidents. Car industry is not computer industry where a few crash of your system may be tolerable!

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  11. We request your permission to use, with due credit, your views on Tata’s Nano on South Asian Outlook / Indo-Canada Outlook e-Monthly.

    Suresh Jaura
    President (North America)
    Globalom Media – The Right to Freedom of Expression

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