On the second day of the ninth Auto Expo 2008, Tata Motors unveiled its much-awaited peoples’ car – Tata Nano. The standard model of the car has been priced at Rs 1 lakh excluding transportation and VAT. The company also showcased two deluxe variants of the Nano, whose prices were not disclosed.
Unveiling the compact Nano, Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group, said, “I assure you that a diesel variant will also be available once the company is through with the launch of the petrol car. The company has initiated the construction work, which is in full swing. The official launch of the Nano would be by the second fiscal of 2008.”
Nano is a two-cylinder 623 cc vehicle with a mileage of around 20 km per litre of petrol. The four-seater is 3.1 m in length, 1.5 m in width and 1.6 m in height. The company claimed that the car could easily manoeuvre on busy city roads as well as in rural areas. The car promises to follow all safety and emission norms and would meet the Euro IV standard. With an all-steel metal body, it has a strong passenger compartment with safety features such as crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, and the rear glass bonded to the body and tubeless tyres, among others.
When queried on the distribution system of Nano, Tata replied, “We have plans to remove some layers in the distribution network, retail and service to smoothen the system.”
Tata Motors has plans to provide the cars to the Indian market in the initial two-three years, before exporting it. Tata is also considering having assembly plants in other countries, in addition to exports. The manufacturing capacity of the small car would be 250,000 units, which could be expanded to 350,000 units.
“India desperately needs a mass transportation system as well as improved infrastructure, both within and outside the cities. The car is meant for the masses and should not be segmented for any particular class. The car has been built taking the Indian roads into consideration,” explained Tata.
When queried whether the price of Rs 1 lakh was only introductory or would prevail for a reasonable amount of time, Tata said that he had a made a promise that he would launch a Rs 1 lakh car for the masses, and has kept that promise. The price is not introductory and the company would have an endeavour to continue with the price for a reasonable period of time.
Commenting on the Fiat-Tata tie-up, Tata said that both companies would market each other’s products in areas where each has a stronger foothold. This association could also include the marketing of Nano.
The company has also initiated a website, tatapeoplescar.com, wherein it has invited slogans and first impressions about the car. It also has a blog, forums, contests and a car configurator and news related to Nano, among other features.