Nano, not from Apple, but Tata

Tata Motors unveiled its people’s car, dubbed the Nano, yesterday and the news outlets are going ga-ga over the car. The Times of India had a lot of coverage in today’s paper and the TV channels are also abuzz. You can read Ratan Tata’s interview here.

My first thought on hearing the name was, Nano? The iPod already has a strong brand and it seems like an unnecessary repetition. No other names?

The car itself looks like a cross between a Reva and a (Hyundai) Santro, which is to say that it looks different. You have to say that it’s pretty impressive to make a car that costs so less and that supposedly meets safety standards.

I’ve heard people complain about how this car would add to the traffic woes we already have because this car is much more affordable. In that case, all car manufacturers should be targeted, not just the small car manufacturers. So, it’s unfair to single out Tata for this treatment just because they’re making affordable cars.

The other concern that I’m reading about is the environmental impact. Tata has said that the emission standards from the car are better than those of two wheelers but if I am not mistaken two wheelers have lower emission standards than cars anyway. (Someone with a better idea of this, please add your thoughts in the comments.) Again, it seems unfair to single out this car for environmental concerns when we should be looking at all cars.

The problem comes when you consider that cars tend to replace two wheelers and this is especially true in the case of the Tata Nano. Two wheelers do not take up as much space as cars and the mileage of two wheelers is usually far better than cars. Factor in AC and you’re using up more energy. I think the emissions-only criterion isn’t enough but again this is for all cars.

For my part, I would’ve loved to see Tata do something of a cleaner car, something with renewable energy, or something that had partially clean energy. It was not unthinkable since Tata is doing work in the solar energy field in a joint venture with BP. Maybe they’ll come up with it next.

Hats off to Tata Motors for pulling this off though, in spite of the naysayers.

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5 thoughts on “Nano, not from Apple, but Tata

  1. Hm, seems interesting nonetheless. I’m thinking if there’s any amount of success evident in this launch, then Tata will be able to secure a path to develop better projects in the future; possibly with renewable energy more prevalent.

    On this car in particular though, it seems like it’s still a bit behind where it could be. Putting aside the uncreative name, it will probably cause an interesting phenomenon. Persons with higher emissions producing cars will be switching over to it, but also those who previous had no cars at all will likely be able to purchase them. It’s hard to say if there will actually be any effect on overall emissions at all, for more or for less.

    Still, it’s a step in the right direction, at least insofar as mindset goes.

  2. MBJ: Unless the government makes changes to its policies and pushes for cleaner modes of transport and better public transportation, the problem of how to get from one place to another will remain. For the amount of development seen in Bangalore, the improvement in its public transportation has not been comparable.

    Having said that, it’s also up to people to make the choice to take the company bus to work rather than ride alone in their car.

  3. Chris: I believe that Tata would’ve sent out a strong message had they brought out a car that was truly “green”. What they’ve done now is to make the car more affordable and accessible to more people. How that will play out in terms of the impact on our already clogged roads remains to be seen. I fear that we’ll have more traffic problems not less.

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