Monday, January 14, 2008

Ratan "Nano" Tata leaves US critics gasping for arguments

After launch of the Nano, most of the US print media (and other media) spared nothing to criticize the car. From calling it all sorts of names, such as "a crossover between a jelly bean and golf cart", or a car "made of plastic and glue instead of welded steel" to calling it an environmental disaster, all attempts are being made to tell the people in US, that this Made-in-India car is nothing but only a cheap car. The problem with US and the scribes there is that for them, there is no concept such as "world" outside the USA. For them, people just do not exist in other continents and in environments that are not like the one in US. For them, what is made by the Big-Three and the Japanese is the best. No matter whether it costs a fortune. It doesn't matter to them if the gas guzzling SUV is three time bigger than the need of the family. But, it is a "technological revolution" for the Yanks.

Wake up Yankees!!! Remember, there is a world outside your own land, which has very different needs than you have. The needs are different, the solutions have to be different. Have you ever seen the way a family of four would travel on a two wheeler? Have you ever driven through the streets of India? The answer to both your questions is NO. So, sitting in your air conditioned homes and offices, you cannot judge the requirement of an ordinary Indian who cannot afford a car priced at Rs. 2 lakh. This family of four, will mostly use its vehicle to travel in a radius of 10km from its home. Most of its drive will be for utilitarian reasons, such as grocery shopping, visiting people/relatives in the nearby areas (socialising, which you Yanks desist a lot) and probably once in three months a Sunday picnic. For this kind of utility, Nano fits the bill. So, why are you cribbing? Is it just because it wasn't invented by your guys? Or is it because the Big-Three feel threatened by the fact that there would exist a market in Yankee-land which would be ready to purchase a car priced at around $3000?

The Nano is built not only around technological innovations, but also around supply chain innovations. Not many of the technology changes were earth-shattering. Simple, but previously not thought changes have helped Tata come out with Nano. Changes were pretty simple- use of aluminium engine instead of cast iron, fitting the engine in the rear, a single wiper instead of two, single tail lamp, slight change in the outer body design and many such small things that added up to big savings. Innovations in the supply chain has been the back bone of your Wal-Mart. Tata Motors has just picked up these things from you guys.

My advice to you guys is, stop cribbing. Just think of the reasons for which this car was developed. It is not for people who want to experience the pleasure of driving. It is for those people who want a comfortable ride while doing their routine tasks, but could not afford a car previously. So, keeping that in mind, Nano is a pretty good invention. If you are true gentlemen (on gentle-ladies), you would join me in applauding the Tatas for manufacturing the Nano.

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  1. Ofcourse I completely agree with you. A vehicle like that is needed for the Indian middle class but where are all these leading us to?
    Come to Bangalore and go for a ride in MG road. There person who is walking will reach the destination faster than riding. Imagine three years from now. how the hell it will be.

  2. so, what you are trying to say is that since there are not enough roads, there should not be cars. People's aspirations should be killed because the government has failed to provide the necessary infrastructure. Why not ban the Mercs, the Safaris, the Boleros? Why is it that the common man's dream should be sacrificed just because of government apathy? Why isn't there a ban on travelling alone in a Merc that guzzles loads of more fuel than the Nano? Everybody has the right to aspire to live a better life. Tata is fulfilling one aspect of those aspirations.

    Give people a decent public transport, and they will not want to bring out their cars. Ask your government to innovate on public transport, like Tata did on the small car. The dynamics of the market itself will curb the Nano!

  3. "Nano" a welcoming sign for Indian Innovators...I believe it will bring lots n lots of Joy for common Man..A dream that finally came true..but but the negative impact shouldnt be forgetted, It will surely create heavy traffic, its a waring sign for the traffic depts to wake up now and create alternatives.Technology should be respected and well utilised.Do we need to blame the technology r Infrastructure??

  4. Banning Mercs r nyothers is not the issue and will never solve da problem.Better understand the scenario... its almost impossible to ask someone to go in metro rather than in his luxurious mercs...If we compromise for luxuries..then why to even work day/ as if u were 20 years b4....

    Working hard only says that we are desperately trying ourselves to be more comfortable.....

    Where will be da question of freedom...if everything is compromised n even worse is if govt says u go in this that..u buy this dat...u wear dis dat...
    its funny to even imagine dis.....

  5. @HKPrasad

    I have not asked anybody to abandon their luxuries. But like they are entitled to splurge on luxuries as they have worked hard enough to own them, what wrong have the people in the lower strata done? Why should they not go around in a car? Since the car is aimed at the lower strata, they will not zip around on and off. the car will be used more judiciously as spending Rs 100 on petrol will cause a greater pinch in their budget than it will to the people in the upper strata.

    I still maintain- provide people with a strong and comfortable public transport system, they will minimize the use of private transport.

  6. @Harikiran

    The negative impact of Nano doesn't make a strong case against it being developed and sold. It is far less polluting than the auto-rickshaws and taxis plying the street. Heavy traffic, how much more heavy? Have we been able to put a number to this? The current numbers are based on the fact that every person whose income allows him/her to spend on the Nano will buy it. No sir!! This will not happen.

    We have elected a government whose duty is to see that given a set of rules and regulations (law of the land), it should work to fulfill the aspirations of the people. One of the aspirations is good infrastructure. The government has failed on this account. It is not developing a strong public transport infrastructure. So, people are taking to private transport. Now, if the government develops good public transport and takes even 40% vehicles off the road, it will be awesome in terms of environmental impact. Look at the air-conditioned buses in B'lore. The white-collared execs prefer taking these A.C. buses as it is comfortable and hassle free. This is the kind of investment that the government needs to do. To introduce buses according to the people's needs. You need to have good non-A.C. buses too, to cater to the needs of people who can't afford the A.C. ones. So, again, develop good public transport infrastructure, the use of private transport will automatically decrease by some extent.

  7. maybe more people with Tata Nano = more people with votes = more pressure on govt to improve road and other related infrastructure to cling on to the gaddi

    may end up to be win-win :)

    Unlike India, a car is a necessity is like your extra limb :) not for me in a university town full of poor beggar students....but in the big cities...u are as mobile as a banyan tree without a car in the US. and they love their hegemony......I am sure they will cry like babies when India beats the shit out of them in 40-50 years :)