Nano Reality

The last few days have been nothing short of historic, for the great nation of India: At the biggest Auto Expo of the country, Tata Motors finally unveiled the much-awaited “one-lakh” car – the Nano.

As promised, the Tata Nano is priced at Rs. 100,000… or, as some folks in the media have so eloquently noted, a car that costs the equivalent of a DVD player in a Lexus or the side mirrors of an E class Mercedes!

According to the Times of India, on prices adjusted to 2007 US$, this is how the Nano fares, as compared to other legendary advances in the world of affordable automobiles:

1. Model-T Ford | 1908 | $ 19,700
2. VW Beetle | 1956 | $ 11,333
3. Mini Cooper | 1961 | $ 11,700 and
4. Tata Nano | 2008 | $ 2,500  (approx. Rs. 100,000)

The car was always intended to provide a safe, comfortable and elegant means of transport for the masses of India.  According to Ratan Tata, his inspiration behind the project was the vision of “a man on a two-wheeler with a child standing in front, his wife sitting behind, add to that the wet roads — a family in potential danger.”  Even when he first announced the ambitious goal, there was no shortage of those who said it couldn’t be done… it shouldn’t be done!

Today, and in spite of all the odds faced throughout its development, that dream has turned into a reality.  It does not compromise on quality or style or engineering.  It does not cost the earth in running costs or maintenance.  It’s not an apology, it’s a car.

And, already, it has received more than a fair share of criticism from all quarters… Large metropolitan cities do not have any roads on which to accomodate more cars.  Where will all the new cars be parked?  More cars on our roads will mean more pollution in the environment… Even its brand name is being touted as unsuitable for the target audience it is aimed at (semi urban, rural markets and two wheeler owners with a family of four)!

Sure, some of these arguments are valid.  But, so are the dreams of the common man.  I have experienced, first hand, the perils faced by two wheelers on our cities roads, and always wished there was a better alternative.  Now, there is.  And it’s called the Nano.

Doesn’t that count for something?  Not to mention the remarkable feat of engineering in ensuring such a project sees the light of day in a road-worthy automobile?!

Yet again, I am reminded of Albert Einstein’s famous remark: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”  Good luck, Mr. Tata.  And, thank you!

Read More : | Tata Nano | Coverage: | NY Times | MSNBC | Reuters | Google Blog Search |

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.