Sunday, November 08, 2009

Tata Nano

It has been two years since it was unveiled and four months since it was launched, I have yet to see a Tata Nano being driven on road in the national capital region. All the talk about the "Peoples' Car" flooding, overwhelming and choking the traffic system seem to have to have come from some over imaginative, fear mongering journalist. It may still happen, but not any time soon.

The Tata Nano has been in production since July, and during that time, Tata Motors has reportedly sold over 7,500 copies of its 100 K car. The Indian automaker has plenty of potential customers for its inexpensive little econo-gem, but production capacity is another matter altogether. Tata is producing the Nano with existing plant floor capacity until its new, reported (as per 250,000-unit/year factory comes online at the end of March 2010.

Tata is also considering licensing the Nano to other automakers, with or without Tata branding. Tata Vice Chairman Ravi Kant reportedly mentioned at an awards function that the company would allow micro-assembly sites to build their own Nano within India, adding, "We call it Nano, they don't have to."

With recent reports of the cars catching spontaneous fire and murmurs or poor build quality, I still have doubts on whether the Nano will be as big a hit as earlier imagined even if capacity constraints are removed.

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