Friday, January 11, 2008

Will Tata's Nano dent Maruti's 800?

With much fanfare Ratan Tata unveiled his dream car Nano at the Auto Expo in New Delhi yesterday. He says he took up the project more as a challenge to a journalist's question whether he could provide a people's car? Any way, hats off to Tata for having kept the word and delivered what he promised in spite all the problems he had in his factory at Singur in West Bengal.

Undoubtedly, Nano is the cheapest car around. But how quickly would people junk their 2-wheelers and jump on to Nano is a question, especially in Indian cities.

Cities are getting crowded at an unprecedented pace. There's simply no place to park. You find lots of cars parked outside even residences. Even new shops and offices -- built well after we all realised that parking is a major problem -- aren't providing adequate place for visitors to park in basement or on the terrace. With the result people have no option to park on roadside and residential bylanes. No one -- neither the government nor the builders -- seem to be bothered about the need to provide parking place. In a city, 2-wheelers will continue to enjoy their distinct undeniable advantage: manoeuvrability.

I think, Tata's Nano has a great future in developed countries where smaller towns are better developed. In India, we still have no plans to develop smaller cities and towns; if at all there is a plan, nothing seems to be moving. All the focus is still on the few big cities crowding them further and further. If our smaller towns grow with infrastructure and investments, well one could definitely see lot many Nanos there.

Of course, there is the city middle class, who are looking at their first car. Well, Nano will definitely be an option for them. That's where Maruti has a real reason to worry about.

  • Homepage of Tata's People's Car - Nano
  • World's cheapest car goes on show - BBC
  • Why farmers opposed Tata project - Rediff


  1. The whole world is staring wide eyed at this piece of news: NANO. But the crucial question is..Where will it take our cities?

    It is going to increase the space crunch on our roads & parking lots to unimaginable proportions...Nano is going to spell giga problems for our civic administrators, for certain!

  2. for the past half an hour i had been reading all your posts! have not been able to drop in for some time! you have some really interesting and nice articles out here!Nano does seem to be a dream car , but as you said in crowded cities where we hardly have any parking space , we are yet to see how this would squeeze in!

  3. The question is do more cars are necessary albeit in rural and semi urban regions of India? Tatas and the likes will argue infrastructure development in these regions are critical and their cheap model facilitates this. If this were to happen, after initial period of euphoria, the pollution takes over fast choking towns and villages.
    New roads will be built clearing the remnants of greenery to accommodate the increase in road traffic. Even a car running on battery will not prevent this. Perhaps this is inevitable given the fast rise of India's population. Tatas are interested in headlines as it makes them credible buyers of
    Jaguar in Britain.

    My doctor friends who run private clinics in Mysore say to me that they see increasing number of asthma patients, many as young as a year old and patients with type- 2 diabetes in early and mid-thirties. If India is to avoid choking itself with pollution, any new car model is a bad news.

    Just imagine India 50 years from now.

  4. The first line should be: Are more cars necessary alebit for...