Nano to launch today

Tata Motors said it will launch its ultra-cheap Nano car in Mumbai on Monday — a vehicle meant to herald a revolution by making it possible for the world’s poor to purchase their first car. But few predict the snub-nosed Nano will be able to turn around the company, which has been beset by flagging sales and high debt, anytime soon.

tata-nanoThe Nano, which is priced starting at about 100,000 rupees ($2,050), is a stripped-down car for stripped-down times: It is 10.2 feet (3.1 meters) long, has one windshield wiper, a 623cc rear engine, and a diminutive trunk, according to the company’s Web site. It does not have air bags or antilock brakes — neither of which is required in India — and if you want air conditioning, a radio, or power steering, you’ll have to pay extra.

Tata Motors has been hard-hit by the global downturn. Commercial vehicle sales, its core business, have been decimated as India’s growth slows, and consumers have had trouble getting affordable car loans. The company declared a loss of 2.63 billion rupees ($54 million) for the October to December quarter, and it has been struggling to refinance the remaining $2 billion of a $3 billion loan it took to buy the Jaguar and Land Rover brands from Ford Motor Co. in June. Even the launch of the Nano has been scaled back.

The car is arriving six months late because of violent protests by farmers and opposition political party leaders over land, which forced Tata to move its Nano factory from West Bengal to the business-friendly state of Gujarat. Company officials have said it will take at least a year to complete the new factory, and until then, Tata will only be able to produce a limited number of Nanos from its other car plants in India.

Tata Motors hasn’t yet given details on production volumes, but most analysts doubt the company will be able to make more than about 50,000 cars in the next year — a far cry from the 250,000 the company had planned to roll out initially. Vaishali Jajoo, auto analyst at Mumbai’s Angel Broking, said even if Tata Motors manages to sell 250,000 Nanos a year, it will only add 3 percent to the company’s total revenues.

“That doesn’t make a significant difference to the top line. And for the bottom line, it will take five to six years to break even,” Jajoo said.

Still, in this new age of global thrift, the Nano sounds appealing to more than just the struggling farmers and petty businessmen across India that Tata initially had in mind for the car. “What do you think the chances are that the Nano will come to America? Personally, I’d love one,” Steven Smith, whose first car was a Volkswagen Dune Buggy, wrote recently on the Nano Facebook page.

Tata Motors unveiled the Tata Nano Europa, a slightly more robust version of the Indian model, at the Geneva Motor Show this month, with a planned launch of 2011. But the company has no plans to bring the Nano to America anytime soon.

Above news source: Associated Press

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  • chrome story

    nano …. its not the news of today, but future .. you will see more issues and questions coming up
    fuel, all types of pollution .. busy roads …..

  • B K CHOWLA

    Look at it positively.India has made the cheapest car in the world as per promise.Also,middle class man also can aspire to be a car owner. Why not?As far as traffic is concened…has the Govt ever planned any infrastructure for traffic except for VIP movement?

  • Biju Mathews

    I can’t imagine driving through the roads after its launch. As far as I know, many known to me are planning to buy it. To think of it, it’s called Indian empowerment. From Hercules cycles, to our good old chetaks, to finally Nanos

    Keep Blogging!!

  • amreekandesi

    Like everybody else is pointing out, Nano might be good for Tata, but Indian roads cannot take any more cars!

    Tata should work on developing some cutting edge bicycles. That’s what we need to solve the traffic, environment, and energy problems!

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  • Liju Philip

    @Dinu, of course. But we cant deny the people all choices. Bad roads, pollution is all govt’s failure and is the job of the govt to fix it not Tata’s.

    @Chirag, traffic’s gonna explode on the roads.

    @Saritha, bingo

    @Chowla, exactly, its govt’s responsibility to make the roads and it has failed miserably. No wonder they are blaming Tata for the car.

    @Biju, cheapest space launches, cheap cars, cheap bikes. Way to go.

    @AD, oh ya, i would love to pedal some of those hi-tech cycles some time.

    @Santosh, thanks will check up the site.

  • tejas

    The nano is a disaster waiting to happen! Once launched the already overburdened roads will be bursting with traffic. Imagine the pollution caused by that tin can… It gives only 20-23 kmpl which is much lesser than economical diesel micro cars. Now everybody who can buy a decent two wheeler is going to end up buying a nano. All well and good for Mr Tata’s profits but not very good for the hard working Indian. Work hard and move up in life to buy a nice car only to know that you can’t use it because some twit took a loan and bought a car he didn’t need. maybe they need to introduce a nano tax. five hundred bucks for everyday you take it out.
    The car itself an unsafe pile of garbage which will act as an accessory to murder the Indian population. And because of that Insurance companies will go bust, the government will bail them out and tax people like me for it. Bloody rubbish.