‘Nano’ miracle?

Mr.Ratan Tata appears to have pulled off the impossible by launching the ‘1 lakh car’ at the Delhi car expo.

We must surely thank Mr.Ratan Tata for garnering the world’s attention onto India and its technology skills. Its no mean achievement, especially when India’s holistic design and manufacturing skills in automobiles are not considered world-class.

But when asked about the price, he has said ‘A Promise is a Promise. The Dealer Price of this car will be 1 lakh” and it was well applauded. While it is good that he appears to be sticking to his promise, let us recapitualte what his exact promise was when he said it first or even subsequently. Not once, even as late as December 2007, was it referred to as ‘1 lakh dealer price car’. I am not trying to read between lines but Mr.Tata has also pulled off another coup which is ‘appearing to be a man who kept his promise when he has not’.

I am also amused by the media’s defence that prices have shot up since his first announcement 5 years back and yet he is sticking to his priceline. As one of the leading industrialists of the country, Mr.Tata and his team ought to have anticipated and provided for cost escalation when they knew that it would take that long a time to deliver. If they did not, they will now have to sell at a loss. More vehicles, more loss.

And let us not forget that it was Mr.Ratan Tata’s Vision to build a People’s car at Rs.1 lakh and while we must salute him for making that vision a reality, this is no charity business. He is not doing any favour to anyone by saying ‘tik hai! Dealer price Rs.1 lakh”.

I am really keen to know what the on-road price of this car, say in the least expensive place New Delhi (where the taxes are low to pamper the inhabitants of the Capital).

Whatever it is, that will what the car ought to be known as? Not the ex-factory or the showroom or the dealer price!!

And it is too early for either bouquets or brickbats for the performance of the car. We will reserve the judgement until the car is available on the roads.


1 Comment

  1. mbjesq said,

    January 11, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    The “people’s car” is a wonderful example of India’s mid-20st Century mindset and its squandered chance at 21st Century development. My short essay on this can be read at http://memestreamblog.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/india-going-nowhere-fast/.


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