Friday, December 2, 2011

New Day Coming For Nano?

A friend of mine says that I have an unusual interest in Tata Motors Nano (a.k.a. “the world's cheapest car”), perhaps that is why this piece on the BBC from “motoring journalist” Hormazd Sorabjee caught my eye.  In it, Sorabjee runs though the various growing pains encountered by the Nano, which have so far kept it from reaching the lofty sales goals originally predicted by Tata Motors chief Ratan Tata, ranging from public protests that forced Tata to abandon the largely-completed factory where the Nano was to be made and instead build them at other plants within the Tata system, to a point I discussed in this post over at The Mantle: that the car's low-cost image worked against its adoption among India's emerging middle class.

“Even at the bottom of the pyramid, a car is highly aspirational and image is crucial. To be seen in the world's cheapest car gave the message that you couldn't afford anything else,” Sorabjee wrote.  But, he goes on to report, that the future may be looking up for the Nano.  An updated 2012 model smoothes out some of the rough edges of the original, like heavy steering and a spartan interior; advanced sales have responded accordingly.  And at heart, the Nano is a decent car, as Sorabjee, himself a Nano owner, personally attests.
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