Nano, Nano and Nano it is Nano all the way . After a long time the latest car launched by Tata with this name tag has given the nation something to be collectively happy about. Cheaply priced people’s car has been a favourite piece of allurement which generations of Indian politicians have offered to the middle classes. The dream nearly died after Sanjay Gandhi the prodigal son of the then Indian Prime Minister hijacked the small car project for personal gains. Several years later with changed management set up in Maruti Udyog Ltd. the first truly small car Maruti 800 hit the Indian markets with a price tag below fifty thousand rupees. Riding on the economic boom following the liberalization of Indian economy , for a substantial period upper middle class families enjoyed the comfort of a car based on latest generation technology and having a stylish appearance as per contemporary standards . With the still growing prosperity of Indian middle class the closing decade of the previous millennium saw the car market flooded with numerous new brands and styles and the people’s car became a forgotten concept . Then one day Ratan Tata returned to the concept with a product which could be affordable to the lower middle class, student or any two wheeler owner. Nano is said to be based on that vision of Tata for this segment of Indian population.
Launch of Nano means different things for different people. While the dissentors in West Bengal are upset over the loss of the agriculture in Singur and want the car to remain invisible which is said to be the Bengali meaning of the word Nano, the Gujrati Bhais consider it as the ideal gift for the their youngsters because in their language nano is akin to nanua meaning the younger one. Bangloreans facing the chaotic traffic which has supposedly gripped the city after the spurt of IT Companies, are a bit shaky with a new cheap car entering the market. The city traffic authorities are gearing up to meet the “ threat” with improvement in public transport system !
Leading Banks have already started the loan campaigns. Three wheeler operators see an opportunity to dump their TSRs in favour of the new product, but they also see a threat to business due to possibility of increase in number of car owners. The dealers expecting jump in demand are also concerned about the low margins.
Outside the country in the US the product launch in Delhi auto expo received huge media attention. Car enthusiasts have grudgingly acknowledged the feat of an Indian manufacturer producing a truly low budget car with latest feature, however the bloggers in Canada seem to be more keen to highlight the supposed adverse environmental impact of the car. Some of them are not willing to accept the claims of manufacturers on security aspect and feel that they would not drive even up to the corner grocery shop in this “pancake” ! In UK Tata’s small car has become the talk of the town in London . It is getting big publicity, being called “……a miracle on wheels, a car a generation ahead of its’ predecessors and a revolution in the small car market.” Europeans are fond of small cars and Nano reminiscent of VW Beetle may turn out to be quite popular.
For the collaborating spare parts manufacturers the project has been a consistent struggle to meet the deadlines maintaining highest standards of craftsmanship. The ultimate outcome may be quite rewarding for them when more car manufacturers join the segment an look out for manufacturers of accessories . However the dedication and vision of Ratan Tata is universally acknowledged as the driving force for the success.