Tata’s Nano has created a lot of buzz in the international media. Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata delivered what he had promised – a car for the people at the bottom of the pyramid. Here is what BusinessWeek is saying about the car and its surrounding hoopla.
“If you follow the auto business, the place to be today is New Delhi, where Tata Motors has unveiled its long-awaited $2500 car, the Nano. No doubt the folks at Tata are enjoying their moment in the spotlight, and deservedly so. When Ratan Tata first started talking about the companyâ€™s plans to develop an ultra-cheap car, lots of people said there was no way Tata could do it. Today, of course, thereâ€™s a huge amount of buzz around the car and the many creative ways Tata engineers found to cut costs. And many other, more established automakers are rushing to come out with inexpensive cars of their own for the developing world.”
Some of the claims made by the company regarding the facts about the car sound dubious. For instance, the company said “Nano passes European emssion standards and is designed to pass international crash test standard”.
However according to a BusinessWeek report, TATA saved money on the manufacturing cost by leaving out $900 worth of emission control equipment that is a mandatory requirement in US, EU and Japan. How can then the car pass European norms of emission.
Tata will also be forgoing standard features such as air bags and support beams that protect passengers in a crash. “It’s safer than putting four people on a scooter, but that’s it,” according to Sandy Munro, president of Troy (Mich.) consulting firm Munro & Associates, which has advised Tata on manufacturing the car.
The answer to whether Tata’s would be providing ABS (Antilock brakes) is also a no brainer.
At best, Nano has a fair chance of being a success in not so tightly regulated markets like south Asia, Africa etc. But even then can Nano take on the second hand cars market.