“Fighting ahead, rising up, giving India the honour it deserves” – My patriotic jingoism for our economic achievements only got a boost with Tata Nano.
1907 – Detroit, USA ——— Ford Model T
A century ahead, on the other side of the globe
2008 – Delhi, India ——– Tata Nano
The world’s cheapest non-stripped down petrol run, Tata Nano was unveiled a couple of hours back by Ratan Tata silencing all critics. The launch has forced me back to blogging after a break of several months. It has been given the attributes like cute, bold and radical, revolutionary, breaking boundaries. A truly People’s Car, this time is from India. Though the dealer price is Rs. 1 lakh, the price on road, when it will be launched, will reach around Rs. 1,25,00 but it will be still more affordable and will be more eco-friendly than most other cars giving a mileage of around 23km/liters. The price of the car is such that a lot of rich and HNIs, if interested, can buy the car just by a single swipe of their credit cards.
Engine: 624 cc / 33 bhp
4 door, 5 seater (and yes 4 Wheeled too)
Weight: 600 kgs
Mileage – 22-23 km/litre
Meets frontal crash norms
Designed to meet side crash norms too
Emission Norms Met:
Euro 4 & Bharat 3 Compliant
Deluxe (with AC)
Exports outside India or assembly plants outside
8% less in length (bumper to bumper) with respect to Maruti 800
21% more in inner space with respect to Maruti 800
(Info for westerners: Maruti 800 is the benchmark small car currently available and has been in India for about 25 years. It is much more popular and reliable then those Chinese Cherry cars)
Front side looks more like Matiz (or Spark as we now call it)
Back side looks more like Indica with those long tail lights.
People often criticize something that is making waves everywhere. This has also been the case with Tata Nano. Competitors, safety regulators, environmentalists and most others conceived the problems that India will face, when such a car is available, much before the actual launch of the car.
The Tata’s have always been clear that the car is not going to compete with M800 or others, but it is made for those who would rather buy a motorbike or a scooter. It is made to have a safer 4-5 people family outing for the middle classes. However, a lot of those buyers who can buy a scooter on a loan will not be able to afford the 1 lakh car so easily. First of all, it is still twice or thrice the price of the hero hondas or bajajs. Either the loan duration gets elongated or they will have to shell out much more EMI each month if they want to buy the Nano instead of a Scooter. And of course, the high oil prices dont help either. It is still no match for the 40-60 km/litre Motorbikes or Scooters. The biggest benefit is for those people, who can now realize their dream of owning a brand new car at an affordable price, but can use the car wisely and economically.
In the rural areas, it is likely to do what cell phones did, where a few people buy the technology and then sell the services to others who cannot afford it and make a living out of it. There will be small time entrepreneurs in those villages, who will run taxi services in villages using this car. Don’t be surprised, if one of those guys invents a way to run the same car on an alternative fuel.
Infact, the most excited lot of people for this car are those like me, young professionals, who can afford a 60k bike, but not a car by our own money. We will be excited to tell our dad’s, I dont need his car keys as I have my own. I also think that Nano type of cars should be used more and more by those people, who would otherwise use a long car for going on single or double rides, which will give 8-10 km /litre, for their daily activies. Now, if that happens, then Nano is actually going to help the cause of environment. In metros, those carpoolers, who are not enjoying their pools of 4 can now get onto a tag team of 2, without worrying about the environment. Instead, if it is used more and more by people who migrate from scooters, as expected, it will still have a small percentage of total vehicle population in India (Tata claims that will barely reach 2.5%). Remember that, if there is no Nano, people will still buy cars, and may be old second-hand cars, which will be guzzling more gas than Nano. So the roads are still going to be crowded and the air polluted.
The distribution system is also supposed to be ground breaking. It is rumoured that the final layer of assembly will happen at the dealer’s end or atleast it will be fragmented. So the cost of transporting it from Singur plant to elsewhere in India will be reduced substantially. Well, are we going to see some “Open Platform” in Car making too? Guess, Not yet!!!! But I will wait for that day, when we can customise our cars more easily just like we can do it with our software.
I have one more angle to look at Nano. I think it is world’s most hyped about gadget after the iPhone. Did I just say “gadget”. Well, yes Tata Nano is not just a car, one can also look at it like an expensive gadget which also gives us mobility. One of the very few cute looking gadgets that all us geeks will love, who would generally be interested in stuff that is sleek and powerful. I am also hopeful that Tata will launch FCV and alternative fuel cars soon. If Nano is also ported to that platform, it is going to kick the a*s out of all car makers.
My fingers are tightly crossed for the day, when it will be on road.