Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Nano Dream

People at Tata House must be desperate I believe. What else can you call if the Tata Motors tries to push its Nano at discounted prices to one of its largest companies in the group? Last week, all of us at our company received an email from our CEO asking us to be a part of the Great Nano revolution by availing Nanos at 25k lesser than the market price. The clincher? Limited Edition versions of Nanos with Mr.Ratan Tata's autograph on it.

This comes at a time when the market is abuzz with talk about the colossal failure of India's automotive marvel. All the leading magazines and news channels have aired special programs and cover page articles on what went wrong with Tata Nano. With a sunk cost of close to Rs.3500 Crs, and the sales yet to really take off, its seems a bad move from the top corporate house to see sales through its affiliate companies.

Nano was undoubtedly the most expected automotive product in a long time. But when it did debut, the excitment fizzled out seeing a product that at best can be called a "4-wheel drive". The sporadic "thermal incidents" (as the company refers to the incidents of Nano catching fire) have created a huge doubt in the minds of potential buyers. This product might have clicked in a big way had been introduced in 1998 or there about. Now, with a growing income and better options to choose from, it does look like a misplaced product.

It is indeed commendable that Mr.Tata had a great vision to give India its cheapest car. I am still amazed by the way Tata motors captured the small load vehicle market by introducing Tata Ace, a well researched, relevant product. But somehow, Tata Nano still doesnt have that connect that Ace had. Ace served its purpose and opened up a whole new market. It had all that an Piaggio diesel load-auto didnt have. But with Nano, it wanted to people to migrate from two wheelers to 4 wheelers, which in any means is a huge shift. It was a mouthwatering deal to own a car within the 1lakh rupees bracket.

Neither did it stick to the promise of Rs.1 lakh nor did it fulfill the fantasy of people who wanted a real car. It looks like a richer cousin of a 4 stroke autorickshaw. The rear-engine's sputter just about underlines that fact.

May be the intentions were very right, just that the project parameters were too unrealistic?? I am happy that Mr.Tata could realize his vision.It will indeed be interesting to see how many of us in Tata Group grab this chance of buying ourselves a Nano. With a sizeable population of the country being employed by the Tata Group, may be the reaction to this special campaign will decide the future of Tata Nano.

Lets wait and see.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post is entirely mine. Any conclusion arrived at based on this article is entirely at the reader's discretion.

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