Jan 24, 2008

5 Auto Expo 2008: Tata "Nano" the Superstar of the 9'th Auto Expo

The Tata "Nano" was the Superstar at the Auto Expo 2008.. What does it mean to a biker..??

One cannot deny that fact that the Star Attraction of the 9’th New Delhi Auto Expo (2008) was with out any doubt Tata’s much hyped 1 Lakh Car, the Tata Nano..!!

Tata Nano @ AutoExpo 2008

To be there on the 10’th of January 2008, to witness the world premier of the Nano was simply crazy. The whole hall (No.10) was jam packed with every inch of space occupied as if it was piece of real estate at a prime location. The world press was there, ready to beam the first ever pics/videos of the Best Kept Automotive Secret of India. The kind of attention that the Nano got will easily rival that of a Big international celebrity.

If you were not there at Auto Expo 2008 to witness the event, then you can see the unveiling of the Nano on YouTube. Click here..

Mr. Ratan Tata and the Tata Nano @ AutoExpo 2008

Now, why am I writing about a 4 wheeler today..??

Isn’t "The Bike Chronicles of India" supposed to be a "desi" Bike Blog..??

Well, today I write on the Tata Nano because Mr. Ratan Tata has made be a proud Indian.

This is what people thought of Mr. Ratan Tata’s dream project before the AutoExpo 2008.

"What is it going to be? A three-wheeler with a stepney?’’ Suzuki’s Founder Chairman Osamu Suzuki had quipped when Tata announced the project. In February 2006, Suzuki again took a shot, saying that it was impossible to make a reliable car for Rs 1 lakh. *

Osamu Suzuki on Tata's 1 Lakh Car

And this is what Ford’s Executive Vice-President John Parker said after the launch of the Nano.

"It is a groundbreaking product. The Nano will cause people to think differently about the car. I have a lot of respect for Tata." *

* Souce: BusinessWorld

Mr. Ratan Tata is my new hero/idol/role model along with Mr. Rajiv Bajaj

Mr. Ratan Tata with the Tata Nano

In the Tata Nano story, I see a parallel to the story of the birth of the Bajaj Pulsar.

Even in the Pulsar, it was the dream and self belief of a visionary leader (Mr. Rajiv Bajaj) which made the then seemingly impossible dream turn into a reality. Many guys might have thought that Mr. Rajiv Bajaj was acting "foolish" to dream that Indians could make a Motorcycle all by themselves which would beat the Japanese Bikes in India.

Only another great visionary like Steve Jobs can believe in something like "Stay hungry, Stay Foolish"

Similarly, virtually the whole world thought that Mr. Ratan Tata was "foolish" enough to dream that Indian engineers could produce a car at this unbelievable and unthinkable price.

"Show the world what Indian engineering is truly capable of". Ratan Tata told his bunch of young engineers. "Make me also part of the team" *.

The Pulsars have revolutionized the Indian Biking Scene and vindicated the "foolish dream" of Mr. Rajiv Bajaj, similarly the Nano has silenced the critics of Mr. Ratan Tata for good. In the process Tata engineers have managed to rewrite conventional Automobile manufacturing/assembling techniques and have even applied for 34 patents so far.

Only another great visionary like Steve Jobs can believe in something like "Stay hungry, Stay Foolish".

Two wheelers have inspired the Tata Nano

Mr. Ratan Tata got the idea of making a car for around 1 Lakh after he saw a family of 4 on a scooter. Apart from this, the Nano also has learnt a thing or two from two wheelers.

Family of 4 on a Scooter

Since the project was inspired by two-wheelers, people who had worked in the two-wheeler industry were roped in, especially in sourcing. Rakesh Mital, who came from Yamaha, came up with the idea of using instrument panels similar to those in motorcycles. The panel in Nano’s dashboard was inspired by the minimalism of the clusters on the heads of motorcycles.

Ideas for suspension, cables and lamps were inspired by scooters and motorcycles. The tall-design car has McPherson struts stabilising the front and uses a suspension similar to that of motorcycles at the back to balance for a higher centre of gravity and a rear-mounted engine. *

* Souce: BusinessWorld

Will the Tata Nano eat away sales from Two Wheelers in India..??

Some market Pundits have predicted that the Nano (which will priced from around 1.2 lakhs onwards), will wean away some customers from buying two wheelers.

According to me it’s a matter open to debate and only time will tell how much the two wheeler market is going to be affected by the Tata Nano. But I would also like to air my opinions on this.

"I do not think that the Nano will affect the above 150 cc bike segment.."

I have seen a few of my friends (mostly salaried IT professionals) buy a car so that they can take around their parents/families in it. However, at the same time they also keep a bike as well. Not because they are bike enthusiasts but because a car cannot match, fuel efficiency and low running costs of a bike. And it does not make sense for my friends to take their cars everytime just for a short trip to the nearby store, office or gym.

So even if the Nano might come at a price tag of around 1.2 Lakhs, or give 20 Kmpl (as claimed), the consumer might still would not like to depart with his bike.

But it will be definitely a good thing to see a family of 4 (maybe 5 in some cases) in a car instead of on a scooter or a 100/125/150 cc bike. Personally, I do not think that the Nano will affect the above 150 cc bike segment.

Would I buy the Nano..??

Oh yes definitely.. I’ll buy one.

Why..?? I’ll probably buy it not just because I am patriotic but probably because..

  • The Nano looks Cute enough to be seen in

  • In a traffic congested metro like Gurgaon/Delhi, the Nano will actually be a very good choice to get around (not to mention find easy parking)

  • By the time I would have grandchildren, the Nano will be remembered as a milestone in the Automotive history of India

  • Right now I cannot really afford to invest in a big car

  • The Nano would actually give me an excuse to get the (hopefully soon to be launched..) Ninja 250R..!!

I think the last point is valid enough for me to be writing about the Nano (a 4 wheeler) in "The Bike Chronicles of India".

Here is an excerpt from an artice on the Tata Nano by BusinessWorld:

As Tata stood modestly enjoying his success on the stage, a foreign journalist was overheard saying to another: "We are lucky to be here". The other replied, "Yes, at least we can tell our grandchildren that we were there."

Payeng @ AutoExpo 2008

Now I also can tell my grandchildren that, "I was there too..!!"

Related Posts:

Auto Expo 2008 Coverage:

Yamaha India

Bajaj Auto

TVS Motors

Royal Enfield, Honda, Hero Honda, Suzuki


This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


nitin said...

ur grndchild vil b proud of u...:P..

nice blog post...i would rate dis as ur best post yet...keep it up...

yes, proud 2 b a indian

Puma said...

India has done things which others could not in the past. And India will be continuing the same trend! No doubt about it!

As long as people of India are true to their country, India will break through barriers !

And as a matter of fact, reading the quote of the foreign journalists, got me goose bumps on my hands :-D ...

first_synn said...

You know what this means for the motorcycling realm?

Substantially lower number of helmet less commuters (with their family in tow). That's what.

Hopefully, this will mean death for the uber km/l lawnmowers so that the country can move on to proper motorcycling.

It's about damn time, you know?

Payeng said...

Thanks Nitin..

@ Puma, I got my Goose Bumps on watching the Video on YouTube..

@ Synn,

Yes, its time.

Payeng said...

Thanks Nitin..

@ Puma, I got my Goose Bumps on watching the Video on YouTube..

@ Synn,

Yes, its time.

Post a Comment

Your Comments are valuable as they keep the conversation alive..

But Please Comment Responsibly (for them to be published)