Tata Nano bookings to start officially in less than a week from now. People are curious to know about the booking details and pricing. News reports suggest that the bookings can be made online as well through a wide network of State Bank of India (SBI). Various banks are charging around 12% interest for new car loans in India, not sure what would be rate on Tata Nano as it belongs to low cost category. It would be interesting to see how much SBI would levy on this car as their profit margin would be smaller. Whether people really need loan to buy this cheapest car on earth or not, my intention was to know more on what made Tata’s come up with “People’s Car”. Here is the gist of what I found…
During the launch of Tata Nano, Ratan Tata revealed the story on what inspired him to think about a small car. The saying goes like this – “I observed families riding on two-wheelers. The father driving the scooter, his young kid standing in front of him, his wife seated behind him holding a little baby. It led me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family. Today, we indeed have a People’s Car, which is affordable and yet built to meet safety requirements and emission norms.”
The Tata Nano has already made it to the Guinness Book of World Records 2009. The 54th edition of the record book, which was launched at London’s Trafalgar Square, has listed the Nano as the world’s cheapest car.
Tata Nano – the world’s cheapest car as on date, costs almost half of the cheapest car currently available anywhere in the world. The Maruti 800 costs approximately Rs 2 lakhs (Ex showroom price). It may be noted that a Bajaj autorickshaw costs approximately Rs 90,000 INR. While comparing the Nano to the Maruti 800 at the launch ceremony of Tata Nano, I recall Ratan Tata’s words – “It is 8% smaller bumper to bumper, has 21% larger seating capacity than the Maruti 800”.
The Nano has been bought to current design and shape by a strong team of about 500 engineers, headed by Girish Wagh, at the Engineering Research Centre (ERC) of the Tata Motors plant in Pune.
The name ‘Nano’ was coined for this small car as it denotes high technology and small size, as mentioned in their website. There are unconfirmed stories as well on how the car was called the Nano, as nano means small in Gujarati, the mother tongue of the Tata family.
Concept to Reality:
This story again dates back to the launch ceremony of Nano in New Delhi. There Ratan Tata quoted, “This has been referred to as one man’s dream and indeed it was. But it took a tremendous amount of team work to convert this or translate this into reality. And I think it would be but fair and fitting to recognise and acknowledge the achievement of a young group engineers who undertook the challenge for four years and great sacrifice to themselves and produced this car.”
How can we miss to talk about the innovation aspect here? How could they design a car that costs only half of the price of the cheapest car in the world? Well the answer lies in the cost cutting by minimising components, particularly steel, and taking advantage of India’s low production costs. Because of its size, the Nano uses less sheet metal, has a smaller and lighter engine than other cars, smaller tubeless tyres and a no frills interior. No surprise for guessing, the company has applied for 34 patents to cover its innovations.
Here is an update on Tata nano models, engine performance, booking and warranty details.