Ratan Tata has finally made it. The man, who dreamed big to make a small car has achieved it and gave the cynics a halt that predicted doom on the project. Major competitors wondered in awe, a feat they thought would remain in paper. However, as the expectations from the Indian middle classes soared, the opinions resonated with global sentiments on the need for an affordable car that would carry the common people. The light has ultimately shone with Tata Motors realizing the dream into reality.
Tata Motors unveiled the Tata 'Nano', the cheapest car in the world at the Delhi Auto Expo, which was held recently in the Indian Capital city. There were mixed reactions among the global manufacturers with some looking at it with envy and some dismissing it to be yet another gimmick only to say, "Let's see how long it lasts". International Automobile giant Volkswagen was all praises for the car. All emotions taken into account, it was a red-letter day for Tata Motors, which entered the annals of history for having released the world's cheapest car.
Ratan Tata drove the car to the podium amidst cheers and got down with a sense of satisfaction in his face. "A promise is a promise." Ratan Tata spoke these words, when reporters quizzed him how he could accomplish this task in the specified time with many price fluctuations in the meanwhile. Well, the Nano has been priced at US $2500, which by any means appeals to the masses and this is evident from the thronging of the public at Tata's marketing outlets. Despite many hurdles right from the politicization of the manufacturing facility at Singur, the car made its way to the public domain and was the cynosure of all eyes in the exhibition.
Nano is a two-cylinder driven car with an Engine capacity of 625 CC and a power of 33 BHP. The little wonder can travel up to 20 to 25 km per liter of petrol. The maximum speed it can cruise is 90 Km. The car is slated for release in Oct 2008 and comes in three colors viz. Red, Yellow and Silver.
Small it may look albeit; it has not compromised on road safety. Nano has passed the necessary rigors of testing such as the 'Full Frontal Crash', a test that determines the impact strength of a car. It has complied with Euro-4 emission norms for environmental qualification tests, which establishes that the car has undergone conventional checks required to ensure a smooth and safe plying on the roads.
People in India have already started bee lining in the showrooms to book the Nano. The reasons are more than encouraging, as the difference in price between Nano and other cars is wide. It also has struck a good balance in pricing when compared to motor bikes. What else would people require, when a small family of four can travel with comfort in a car, which offers them luxury and a status that was once considered the choice of the privileged.
The adage 'Small is beautiful' fits very well for Tata Nano. The efforts by the 500-member team, which developed the Nano is by no means a nano effort, but certainly a mega one. Now the challenge rests with the government to widen the roads and provide proper infrastructure facilities for an efficient and safe plying of cars in general. This issue comes to the fore, since the fleet of cars will suddenly increase on roads due to advent of cheaper cars.
There will be stiff competition among car manufacturers and one would vie with the other by slashing prices to keep pace with the market needs and competitive pricing for customers. The game has started. Now it is up to the government to keep the roads as fit as a fiddle and for the manufacturers to bring down the prices for a sustained share of their market.