Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tata's Nano -- First Look

I always curse Bajaj uncle every time I step on the brake while driving.

The easy-maneuverability, wobbly design and low-cost running of the 3-wheelers (fondly called Autos or Autorickshaws) that he sprayed onto Indian roads have become the largest hurdle in having a decent traffic pattern. Cities like Bombay have banned autos from the business districts, which is such a blessing. In Bangalore, the irrationally large number of licenses doled out by vote-happy politicians have multiplied the mess. With their sudden stopping, sudden swerving and smoke-spewing posteriors, this breed of vehicles takes back in public safety and convenience what it offers by way of "transport".

Tata Uncle has brought the same menace to 4 wheelers now. The Tata NANO was launched at Auto Expo in New Delhi today, with an ex-showroom price of $2500. While we appreciate his concern for the middle class to have an affordable vehicle, we wonder whether at that cost he can really promise a SAFE ride to the family? With the raging road traffic, especially the Monster Cabs and SUVs, being in the Nano might be akin to sitting in Bajaj Uncle's autos!

While the commercial success of this-- and copy-cats to follow-- is near assured, one wonders if that same middle-class is not cutting the branch it is sitting on? Corrupt or sleeping municipalities sanction new Malls and Office Complexes as part of India's reality boom with parking sufficient for 20 vehicles and seat capacity of 3000 or more! Residential complexes sport the "Visitor Parking Not Allowed" banner. Fancy hypermarts like Forum, Spar and Big Bazar have absolutely no access road, causing main-road traffic to pile up for miles as cars wait to find parking slots. With high-end vehicles like Skoda and Hyundai spewing black smoke, the sanctity of PUC certificate is a joke!

Add the Nano and its sisters to this milieu. Tata and Toyota would do the common man a much greater service if they came up with more affordable, more efficient and more accessible public-transport vehicles that city municipalities could deploy with their meagre budgets.


Just Like That said...

Bingo! I agree 90% with your sentiments.
But then, I also do think that the govt. who takes our millions in the name of tax should be doing these things. Unca Bajaj is a businessman, who is doing just what he set out to do- making money while yet serving the common man. While the @#$%^ govt is making money and NOT serving the common man either.

Sandeep said...

You are stealing my thoughts :) ..well said. I believe it is difficult to control anything in this country, whether it school pocketing 1 lac hard cash on pre-school admission or govt. giving license to build one more menace on road to compete with uncle bajaj's auto :(..btw bajaj is going to come up with better version than Nano seems to me like desktop war between MS & linux & Ubuntu(which is FREE) :)

though tata uncle has good thoughts about the vehicles usability, but a collegian who gets it as a present from his dad will make to drive on a bangalore-mumbai NH4 route too ..that's where it is going to create issues I worry most about.

Vidooshak said...

going by trend, first people to buy Nano will be the RICH guys who can swipe 1L merely on their credit cards!! it will be their 3rd or 4th car in family. the real poor people, for whom the car is designed, will be on a 5 year wait list!

next thing you know, the 1L car will be selling in black market for 3L

that's india for you, my friend :-)

Cyn said...

I'm somewhat divided on the Nano, sure it looks cute, but as you said that will mean more cars on the road (as if the traffic in bangalore is not already bad enough) and I still can't get why the car has a side mirror only on the driver's side, apparently havning rear view mirrors on both side would have made it impossible to sell the car at the price of 1 lakh, but only those who never drove a car before wouldn't mind. I destroyed my passenger side mirrors quite a number of time and the few days I had to do without it I felt disabled and that was in Switzerland where people OBEY trafic rule. Being that blind in India can make the difference between life and death, and I think that if you already pay 1 lakh for a car you deserve to have safety as a freebie right?

Just Like That said...

Hey, spoke to a guy with your first name and your surname in an insurance company today,(for the creative material for an ad of theirs) who's just joined them some time back. Would it be you by any chance??
Think of the coincidence if it were.. :-D

Vidooshak said...

naah, JLT, we are too broke to run ads!! but yes, i was also thinking of the coincidence. we are so nice to each other on blogosphere and quite the opposite in real life. what if i was in the car you banged the other day, and then i fought with you and made you miserable. then, read about it on a blog the next day and said: "funny, even i had an accident with a mallu female yesterday..."