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Old 19th December 2013, 23:14   #151
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
A big WHY to your statement. We have seen people fitting/retrofitting power steering/power windows on non power steering/manual window versions of the Maruti 800/alto for ages!! The cars don't seem to lose their resale by these retrofits.
All retrofits of power steering were aftermarket jobs and not done by company workshops officially. No authorized service center is officially allowed to do such a modification and the warranty would be void from the next day. For 800, they could never do it officially since there is no 800 specific PS unit.

My friend had bought an Alto LX in 2007 and later realized that he should have got an LXi instead but the MASS was not ready to do a PS conversion and he wasn't ready to give his car elsewhere. So it is still an LX.

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Also what is the big risk of retrofitting a power steering unit if company workshops themselves do the task? And how has power steering unit affected by the car having an ECU or not?
Please remember that we are speaking about a Tata Nano here and the TASS are already notorious about screw ups with regular servicing works. So I wouldn't bet my money on the TASS folks doing this job to perfection.

Since the company wouldn't officially allow it, they wouldn't get any training for this exercise and would need to reverse engineer the process based on the training they get for maintaining the power steering unit of the new Nano. Are you willing to take that risk and get on with a process where there is no turning back once you begin? All projected cost savings of not buying a new model with PS is based on the assumption that they'll get it right the first time. It can turn really ugly if they do a 90% job.

Coming to the risk part, what would you do if you are in the middle of an overtaking and your retrofitted PS unit stops working for some reason? Steering would still work but you'll need to put more force to turn and the split second judgment might go wrong leading to very serious consequences. This can happen with OEM PS too but I assume these things would be tested out heavily by the manufacturers to prevent such occurrences. In case of aftermarket fittings, its fully your luck. This risk is one of the reasons most buyers in used car market prefers cars that are as close to stock condition mechanically as possible.

If it is an EPS, then the ECU module would play a role in controlling it and hence you might need a new ECU to get the setup to work which would take the cost to a totally different level. Older cars with carburetor technology had many mechanical parts that really didn't know what else existed in the car. However, the newer MPFI models with the ECU control has sensors everywhere to detect malfunction and these retrofits can create a lot of unnecessary false alarms.

Power windows or central locking are a totally different situation. If it stops working, there is unlikely to be a life risk and you can very well get it repaired later.
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Old 30th December 2013, 06:04   #152
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

Another column in Economic Times on Tata's plans to revive the Nano.
Power steering, CNG, a souped up engine, AT, Hybrid, Diesel, Electric versions (gosh - that's quite a few all right) - plus a big effort to make it aspirational.
They sure have their work cut out. Being an admirer of the Tata group, I hope they make it.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...63.cms?curpg=2
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Old 30th December 2013, 06:46   #153
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If they want to create aspirational value they need to take a leaf or two ouf of M&M. Advertising won't cut it. They need to involve the Nano owners directly through rallies and other focussed activities.

I read a post above which says Nano is good as a city car. Well, I took it on a 1500km journey, took it on a couple of 800km journies, drove it over the dried out Rajmachi trail and am thinking of taking it to Ladakh.

I don't think twice before chucking my luggage into it and driving off. My wife is reluctant to let go of it and so I am confused if I should really think of replacing it - with the CNG version.

And all this while it's been my daily workhorse too.

But I do envy the great escapes and other events organised by the other manufacturers. Even the Renault Duster has a club and Renault advertises it to attract potential buyers.

It would be nice if something similar were done for the Nano owners too.
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Old 30th December 2013, 09:19   #154
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

I don't think you can ever create aspirational value for something after tom-tomming it as cheap at the very beginning. It will take a lot of doing.

It is similar to what happened to the Yamaha Ray. They went and shouted all over the town it is a bike for girls. Now they are trying to give it a make over as a guy's bike!
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Old 30th December 2013, 11:44   #155
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Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
I don't think you can ever create aspirational value for something after tom-tomming it as cheap at the very beginning. It will take a lot of doing.
I believe the Nano owners have already become a cult of sorts, having suffered ridicule for buying a newly engineered VFM car from Tata. What is needed now is some formal acknowledgement from the company.
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Old 30th December 2013, 12:05   #156
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

Though, I personally feel that Tata group has messed up with the car during its initial years. They have not been able to maintain the consistency in sales and ever declining sales of the car has been a cause of concern for them.

But, I feel equally happy to note that they are still willing to go an extra mile to make this model a great success. We must compliment Tata group for this very thought.

They should consider improving its overall build quality and try and bring it at par with the other entry level cars.

All eyes from across the world were on India when this car was launched. I hope that with the commitment Tata group has shown towards this car we will be able to prove to the world that an Indian company is capable of turning around a product and also equally competent in delivering best in the class product.

My best wishes for Tata, and I am sure that they will make the country proud.
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Old 30th December 2013, 12:22   #157
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

The basic idea of a cheap/cheerful/reliable car was fantastic. The execution of the idea was pathetic. Mr. Ratan Tata's interview about how he saw a family in the rain on a Bajaj, and he aspired to move them into their own car, is great for a social service mission, but very bad for selling cars. No one wanted to be perceived as buying a Nano, because he couldn't afford any better. That very statement by Mr Tata and the subsequent media over-bole IMO, killed the Nano before it was launched.

A car is not a 'necessity' for the average Indian. 300 days out of 365 days we have bright sunshine, and two wheelers offer unmatched mobility. For 3 months of rain (at max), people 'adjust' their traveling habits. Plus a decent covering of public transport ensures that if one chooses to, one needn't have a 4 wheeled personal transport at-least in the major cities and towns.

The second failing was, promising and not delivering. The Nano was never a Rs 100,000 car. Even the base model, with taxes, when launched was slightly over the one lac mark. A model with minimum of air conditioning was around 2lacs on road.
Tatas also failed to come out with a small down-payment, cheap EMI scheme for atleast the base model, the kind Bajaj used to offer with their entry level bikes.

Third failing, was the atrocious quality/fit and finish of the initial lot of Nanos. Adding the couple of fire catching incidents, it was easy to brand this as a sub standard and unsafe offering.

The fourth failing was not Tata's fault but was because of finance schemes. At an EMI of 3000-5000Rs if one could buy a Nano, or an Alto or a Santro, why would a customer not buy the so called 'big' cars instead of a 'cheap' offering?

The fifth error was not launching Nano in two trims at one go. One the basic trim we see on the roads, and the other a hotted up trim with a 1/1.2 liter four cylinder engine, with air-conditioning, lockable glove boxes, central locking, stereo, power steering etc, which felt and sounded like a car. The higher trims would have driven customers to the dealers, most of whom would have bought the 800cc. This way any cannibalization would be internal to the brand and not outside.
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Old 30th December 2013, 12:43   #158
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

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Originally Posted by mgh View Post
When you do not have power steering, you have to get the car barely moving before turning the wheel, a trick everyone who has driven the ambys and fiat 1100 learnt.

In the modern situation power steering is justified.

A petite 5 feet nothing female relative drives a 2012 Nano without problems, She keeps 28 psi at front and 30 psi at back in the tubeless tyres. At 26,28 she finds steering heavy.

just for info
Yes as you rightly pointed, increasing tire pressure can lighten steering but ride also is equally sensitive therefore there is an immediate counter effect on ride which deteriorates in especially in metros like mumbai where the roads have become abruptly sharp edged and most crudely broken/uneven due to paver block abuse and and unplanned combo of concretisation, tar, paver blocks. This makes her ride a little rough and noisy with high pressure
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Old 30th December 2013, 12:44   #159
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

Tata Nano diesel likely to be shelved.

Narrowing gap between petrol and diesel prices affect Tata Nano dieselís viability

http://www.autocarindia.com/auto-new...ed-368518.aspx
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Old 30th December 2013, 13:24   #160
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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
That very statement by Mr Tata and the subsequent media over-bole IMO, killed the Nano before it was launched.
Bang on. However this has already been debated to death.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
The second failing was, promising and not delivering. The Nano was never a Rs 100,000 car. Even the base model, with taxes, when launched was slightly over the one lac mark. A model with minimum of air conditioning was around 2lacs on road.
Tatas also failed to come out with a small down-payment, cheap EMI scheme for atleast the base model, the kind Bajaj used to offer with their entry level bikes.
Tatas have clarified that the Rs 1L Car is something that came from the media frenzy and was never originally proposed by Tatas. They did take it up and offered the initial lot at 1L.

Also I think you could book a Nano by paying just about 15k and they also tied up with SBI to facilitate booking from most locations. So which promises were not kept?

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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
Third failing, was the atrocious quality/fit and finish of the initial lot of Nanos. Adding the couple of fire catching incidents, it was easy to brand this as a sub standard and unsafe offering.
The fires were never attributed to any manufacturing defects, though Tatas did add some precautions for the same after a string of such incidents. They appointed a third party company to investigate these incidents. Also after that first year there have been no such instances.

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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
The fourth failing was not Tata's fault but was because of finance schemes. At an EMI of 3000-5000Rs if one could buy a Nano, or an Alto or a Santro, why would a customer not buy the so called 'big' cars instead of a 'cheap' offering?
Again this was a marketing goof up. Which other car gives you the claimed average in real life?

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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
The fifth error was not launching Nano in two trims at one go. One the basic trim we see on the roads, and the other a hotted up trim with a 1/1.2 liter four cylinder engine, with air-conditioning, lockable glove boxes, central locking, stereo, power steering etc, which felt and sounded like a car. The higher trims would have driven customers to the dealers, most of whom would have bought the 800cc. This way any cannibalization would be internal to the brand and not outside.
At 635cc this car puts to shame most 800cc hatches. I can even out-rev higher specced vehicles which lose breath much earlier in the RPM band.

Tatas did goof up by not launching a complete car from the beginning. Even the top end variant didn't have a factory fitted music system.

If they could launch a higher spec engine in the beginning they wouldn't have launched the 635cc version.
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Old 30th December 2013, 13:25   #161
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Tata Nano diesel likely to be shelved...
But at 35kmpl, it's an astoundingly low cost of running. Didn't that count when deciding its fate? Although the running cost of the Nano wasn't a big issue, we'd all have liked a car with such low running costs.

They won't let the people who need it most hire it as a Taxi, they won't get the Diesel version. This is like the final nail in the coffin. IMO This fizzes off the little interest that was generated.

R.I.P : The TATA Nano project. Too bad it didn't work out.

Also, TATA just proved right what the Top Honchos at Maruti were telling when Mr. Ratan TATA announced the project. Kudos :(

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 30th December 2013 at 13:43.
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Old 30th December 2013, 15:40   #162
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Just because the positioning failed doesn't mean the product has failed. Also the CNG variant does give you 35kmpl.

There's little sense in investing in a completely new diesel engine for the Nano when the sales don't justify it. The petrol is already there, so it's best to strengthen the product and make it more attractive.
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Old 30th December 2013, 15:47   #163
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

Contrary to the other report which says that the plans for Diesel Nano has been shelved, here's another report that confirms a Diesel Nano plus some other improved variants of the car.
http://aajtak.intoday.in/story/tata-...-1-750822.html
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Old 30th December 2013, 16:00   #164
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

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Originally Posted by wilful View Post
Another column in Economic Times on Tata's plans to revive the Nano.
Power steering, CNG, a souped up engine, AT, Hybrid, Diesel, Electric versions (gosh - that's quite a few all right) - plus a big effort to make it aspirational.
They sure have their work cut out. Being an admirer of the Tata group, I hope they make it.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...63.cms?curpg=2
Tata has never fallen short on the planning front

Even for the Indica, there have been two EV's and two sport editions, and a whole bunch of other variants which were 'planned' and did not even make it past the concept stage.

Talk is cheap. Walking the talk is what counts. Something we are yet to see.

On another note, There seems to be a sort of brain drain within Tata motors.A lot of good talent seems to be sent to Europe and other videsi operations, and whoever is left seems to be fed up with the state of affairs in India, and seem to be keen on jumping ship. It's almost as if the india market is being neglected. One wonders if it's by design or inaction. I can imagine why they want to expand internationally, and not look inward into India. The existing product segments are saturated, and they're running out of unsuspecting users for their "long term automotive beta testing program" and looking for suckers in other markets!

Beyond this new product strategy, and their 'old wine in a new bottle' service strategy rebranding exercise, I don't know what other aces Mr Slym has left up his sleeve.

Last edited by greenhorn : 30th December 2013 at 16:14.
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Old 30th December 2013, 16:59   #165
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Default Re: Tata Nano - Will it ever sell in vast numbers?

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On another note, There seems to be a sort of brain drain within Tata motors.A lot of good talent seems to be sent to Europe and other videsi operations, .
Actually what i know of the reverse is also happening, a friend of mine left a nice cushy job working in Detroit and joined Tata about an year back.

May be Tata is sending their top guns to man and learn from Foreign operations in a cycle , similar to what Honda does and at the same time is bolstering its operations from head hunting.

Mr. Behram Dahbar too joined Tata from M&M in the past year or so .
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