The People’s Car, Tata Nano

News reports in the Indian press regarding cars are not very relevant from the point of view of the common man.

We read all about the fleet of cars that prominent Bollywood personalities like Amitabh Bachchan own. We are told all the details about their three Mercedes benzes. We also get to read that each tire of the Lexus that is also in the fleet, costs 2.5 lakhs.

We read about scams involving high- profile people in which cars are involved. Mr. Ashok Malhotra, a Delhi Assembly canteen vendor was arrested a couple of years ago. He was in possession of 17 luxury cars and six motorcycles with VIP number plates. He insisted that he was fond of collecting luxury cars and VIP number plates, and that this was not a crime.

After being used to reading about vulgar display of wealth through luxury cars, it was heartening to read about the launch of ‘the affordable car’- the Nano, yesterday.

The event comes six years after group Chairman Ratan N Tata promised Indian consumers an affordable, all-weather vehicle.It has not been an easy journey for the Nano.

Originally the Nano project was to be located at Singur, in West Bengal, but had to pull out because of the continued agitation spearheaded by Trinamool Congress Chief, Mamata Banerjee.

Election politics being what it is in India, The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is hoping to cash in on what it calls resentment among people, at the Tatas being forced to wind up the project here in Hooghly district, due to sustained protests by farmers, allied to the Trinamool Congress.”

Mr Tata said: “I feel a great sense of fulfilment today. From the drawing board to its commercial launch, the concept, development and production of the car has overcome several challenges. I hope it will provide safe, affordable, four-wheel transportation to families who till now have not been able to own a car.”

But for Tata Motor’s Nano, Singur is in the past, left behind.Until the factory at Sanand, in Gujarat, is completed, the Nano cars will be manufactured at the Tatas’ factory at Pantnagar.

“A Promise is a promise.said Ratan Tata while unveiling the People’s Car, Tata Nano, at its commercial launch in Mumbai yesterday.

By enabling those who could not have previously afforded a car, to own one,the Nano is expected “to redefine personal transportation in India.

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26 thoughts on “The People’s Car, Tata Nano”

  1. Manju, It certainly is heartenning to read of the Nano’s Launch – especially given all the hurdles that this project faced. It really pains me when I hear of people condemning the Nano – because it is likely to ‘choke streets of India’. I find it such an elitist view that its ok for people to have a bunch of huge, petrol guzzling cars – but not for the common man to have an affordable car!!! Thank god Ratan Tata for his vision and for keeping his promise!!

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  2. Really Nano is great achievement!! We have to really appreciate and be thankful to Tata. He has made us proud infront of World. But, It will/may (recession !!) create chaos on roads, but for that we can not account Tata. It is government authorities responsibility to broaden the roads, building fly overs and implementing the traffic rules.While I say about traffic rules one more part comes is traffic sense and this is responsibility of each citizen. There is no use in having people’s car and widen nice roads without the person driving in is not having little sense of traffic.

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  3. Manju, the Nano is truly a tribute to homegrown Indian ingenuity and technical skills. The team that translated Ratan Tata’s dream for the common man has done the impossible and has stunned experts the world over. “Frugal engineering”, as Nissan boss Ghosn called it once is India’s strength. Big bang for small buck…this is a game-changing capability that will help Tatas to steer Corus and Jaguar-Landrover too, at a time when greed and profligacy has created an unprecedented global crisis.Did you hear about Citibank boss doing up his office for $ 10 million while asking for a dole?

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  4. Smitha- Yes, transport experts are saying that the Nano may become a burden on city roads, but I think we will just have to deal with it. To deny the less affluent their cars while allowing the rich to own multiple cars per family is not justice!Pangala- That’s true. With more people now driving cars, we will all have to behave responsibly on the roads.Inder- Certainly life would be boring without politicians, but I would not mind a slightly more boring life!

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  5. Bones- Seems that our Indian Nano is creating waves worldwide!Vinodji- No, I had not heard this about the Citibank boss. seems these people have no shame.But I am following the AIG bonus drama!Kavi- I do hope that Nano changes things for the better and more people are able to afford this car.

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  6. In our overcrowded roads now I don’t know where will other vehicles fit because now college kids will just go in for a Nano instead of a bike may be. Milkmen, Newspaper boy everyone in a Nano. Autos and Nanos are going to cover the entire traffic. With every invention, we pay the price.

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  7. Nano is indeed a great achievement…..And I respect Ratan Tata a lot! as u said, A promise made is a promise given!!I was so elated and proud, when ppl at my office were talking abt NANO today…

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  8. It is a great achievement!:) I was grinning from ear to ear…Ratan Tata has fulfilled a promise :)and Like Vinod Sir has said so rightly,”the Nano is truly a tribute to homegrown Indian ingenuity and technical skills.”This is what has made me feel delighted:)

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  9. Solilo- Why should anyone be denied a chance to own a car if they want to? Should only businessmen and office-goers own cars, and not Paperboys and Milkmen? I would be very glad if any person could own a Nano. Unfortunately, however cheap it may be, it will still be beyond the budget of many Indians.Problems do not arise because inventions enable the less privileged to own things that uptil now only the elite could aspire to. Frequently problems arise because the elite are not willing to give up their privileges for the greater good.In Mumbai many flyovers have been built, easing traffic problems.But the flyover on Peddar Road, here in Mumbai, was stalled and finally cancelled because Lata Mangeshkar- whose flat was on the road where it would have been built- opposed it.There are many ways traffic problems in the cities can be resolved. But we have to have the will to do so.

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  10. Nano has indeed given every Indian the chance to own a car!!Truly this effort has taken India to a new level on the Developing-Countries matrix.Hats-off to Mr. Ratan Tata – True gem of India!!He has overcome hurdles of a terror-attacked, burnt 5star hotel and various political conflicts and dared to take this step in these times of recession.I salute this great Indian!!

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  11. Manju, Even Nano can’t be owned by all. Can it? I didn’t say paper boy should be denied car. Paper boy in all probability can’t own it but it will be his employer who would provide him that. The problem in India is traffic. Nanos will add to it. Since everyone mentioned the positive side, I pointed the negative impact of it. I also don’t think such a cheap car is going to be very safe.

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  12. Solilo- Of course the Nano cannot be owned by all. But the Nano has brought cars within the reach of more people than before.When you say-“Milkmen, Newspaper boy everyone in a Nano”, the impression I get, is that they should not be able to get a Nano. If you did not mean it that way, then I am glad.There certainly will be problems- because of increased traffic, increased pollution, parking space. But when I see huge jeeps with only one passenger inside, multiple cars for one family,and trucks spewing huge clouds of black smoke, I think that the worst problems will not be created by the Nano.

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  13. I didn’t mean it that way, Manju.:) My mentioning of Paper boy and Milk men was because they are the ones who are part of our daily life. The regular ones.I also mentioned how college kids would now choose Nano instead of bikes. Rash driving and all. These are just negative points. I don’t deny the positive points everyone mentioned including you.I also agree on the traffic created by each family member taking one car each. That is why we need express lines. Traffic is anyways bad but Nanos will also add to it just like Autorickshaws though one can’t live without rickshaws in India. The safety issue is another matter. That was the point I was making.

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  14. many have pointed the urban benefits here goes the rural picture -nano may benefit the villager in many ways when he does not have to wait for his van or bus that runs an hour late and no public transport to take an ailing man to the hospital. if nano was made for the villager than it certainly is good. this is the sight i see in indian villagesnarrow roads, a bullock cart in front and a shepherd with his herd and a car behind.so first buid a lane for transport with gear and another one for the animals and people to go ( walkways ). now people can enjoy the nano and nano will then be a promise kept.

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  15. Solilo- I agree about the safety issue. When the first Nanos come out we’ll get to see how the Tatas have tackled this.Anrosh- Good point. Absence of roads in the villages will be a problem. Infrastructure has to catch up with increase in use of cars.In Maharashtra, I have noticed that many villages are situated near highways and only short stretches of road will have to be constructed to link them with the highways.

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  16. Gopinathji- An affordable ‘Nano’ home should certainly be next! That’s not so easy, I’m afraid.Anrosh- “Chicken first or eggs?” – as we say here.:) But, yes, some minimum infrastructure should be in place.

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  17. What a great sounding product. I am from Canada so I cannot comment on this car’s impact on India, but I am excited about this car coming west. The most comparable car (in size) we have is the Mercedez Smart Car. It goes for $15,000-$30,000 CAD (6-12 lakhs if I’ve converted correctly).We have the infrastructure already. If more of these smaller cars were available and affordable here, it would greatly reduce traffic congestion and the carbon footprint of our current fuel consumption. Our current gas price is $0.95/litre (3,839 rupees). I would welcome such a car on our roads.

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