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Thursday, November 1, 2012

launch of TATA Nano set to change the middle class

For the middle strata  Indian society, owning a car has been a pipe dream.  Have you not observed the old time movies, people getting out of a car always given undue respect and often villagers teaming up to see from a distance the ‘plusser’ (perhaps the pleasure car) as also its occupants.

                 It is a little wonder that many were awe struck when  Ratan Tata announced that a small car priced at Rs 100,000 would be designed and manufactured, and would be available to the public. There  have been several different kinds of reactions and responses.  In a society driven to believe that a motor owner is a man of wealth & owning car is symbolic of richness. What on earth will a Rs 1 lakh car do to this belief, concept, tradition remains to be seen.

The market response was somewhat predictable. First, disbelief — it just cannot be done. It’s impossible. It’s out of the question. It’s technically not possible. Second, emulation. Other automotive companies have announced their intention to make and sell a small car, a low cost car. Perhaps not as low cost as the Tata car but somewhere near and certainly, below the price of cars currently on the market. Third, criticism tantamount to saying that that Tata Rs 1 lakh car will add to environmental problems, climate change concerns, etc, and also that the transport congestion will get worse.

In the early 80s when Sanjay Gandhi conceptualized Maruti, perhaps it was an attempt exploring ‘the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid’, i.e., that there is purchasing power and demand at the lowest income levels of society and this is a fortune to be made if products are designed creatively at low cost and sold at low prices.

Now much of criticism has bitten the dust as the car is on public display.  Today is the D day and  all automotive companies as well as other inventors and innovators may like to line up to congratulate Team Tata and to promise that they will try to do better and compete with the 1 lakh car.

Are you reading this OR already standing in the Q for booking ?????????

With regards
S Sampathkumar. 

PS :  Shared with my group on 1st Oct 2008, the day of launching TATA Nano.

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