Blog: Nano finally out there
Dave Leggett | 23 March 2009
Well, today is the date that the Tata Nano finally went on sale. Will it turn out to be a genuine 'game changer'? We may not know the answer to that for another three years, at least.
First off, there's the need to meet market objectives in India. That's why this car exists in the first place. The volume projections are necessarily large - demand and supply have to come together and the manufacturing path so far (typified by the Singur riots and having to improvise plans) hasn't been plain sailing. Proof of the pudding will ultimately be in the eating - in India.
Second, there's the big question of how much genuine innovation the car contains - especially in terms of design, cost/ease of construction and the specification of components. That's where Tata's competitors (some of them perhaps not so obvious) will be keen to get some early evaluation. How much is in the Nano that can be transferred to future car models? What's to learn about the Nano process?
And third, how relevant is the basic concept to other markets? Is a Nano for Europe and America really a serious proposition once you incur the extra costs for a more highly specced version?
After the promise and the inevitable hype, it's reality time. I am not trying to rain on any parade. Nano is already looking like a considerable achievement, even if its place in the history books as a game changer is by no means assured. But there is also that other nagging thought: where will they, physically, all go?
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