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Old 1st December 2010, 23:23   #16
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I drove a recent Nano a few days back. The only needle in the ointment was that the car is now nowhere near its 1 lakh price tag. Its way way off it.

I wasn't expecting brilliant handling, smooth engine, finesse etc. As a city runabout it is still great. But the price. Although, nothing else is available at that price band, loans are available, and people can actually take the Alto.

A few days back we heard a tea stall vendor chatting with another of his kind upon seeing the Nano, that few people who brought the car are facing issues, its better to buy second hand small cars. Now this sort of a statement coming from Nano's target segment is an indicator that the target segment too has aspiration of being seen in a ZEN (even if its older). They were discussing that nothing goes wrong with Zens. I highlighted the Zen sraight from their conversation, the idea is that similar cars are much more trusted by these folks.

One of our office drivers had procured a Nano, had used it for 4 months and then sold it. He drives an old Wagon R now and is happier. Thankfully, he sold it while the Nano craze was still on, he did not loose much money.

Moreover in Bengal, there are rumours that fear of backlash from a certain political party is keeping many a prospective buyers from the Nano.

I beleive Nano is not a failure, it will evolve into something that will be more acceptable. Lets wish the cute car all the best.
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Old 1st December 2010, 23:41   #17
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1. If someone can afford to travel at the fuel economy of 15kmpl, he can afford more than 2L for a car.

2. Someone who is used to 65kmpl from a Splendor cannot (or does not want to) spend more than 4 times on fuel

3. The initial idea from Ratan Tata was always flawed because of point 1 & 2.

4. The Nano was never a 1L car on-road. In Bangalore, it touches the 2L mark.

5. If someone has only 2L to spend, he will always go in for a pre-owned Alto (status!)

6. And then there are other flaws as other people have reported.
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Old 1st December 2010, 23:57   #18
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To be honest, I am not surprised and this is something I had anticipated for quite some time

Ratan Tatas dream is definitely a novel idea, but if he expected that his car would fill the roads by the thousands, I guess that didnt go as per plan. Mobile phones, at one time, were only for the privilged few. Then came Reliance with the launch of their phones, very neat ones (depsite already having two nokias at that time, even i picked up the reliance phone) at a mere 500. Almost everyone had a mobile phone and it created a mobile revolution.

Now, a car is not a mobile phone.

Coming to what I felt went wrong

1. The inital claim of stating that the car would cost just a lakh and then after adding up taxes, cost almost a lakh and a half, detered a lot of potential buyers. Remember, the segment he was tapping has a certain affordability level, where even an additional 25k or 50k makes a huge impact

2. If this car was sold at a fixed price of 1,00,00 or 99,999 fixed price, all inclusive, there probably would have been an exodus to the Tata showrooms.ut at nearly 1.5 to 2 lakhs, this shocked a lot of pople who immediately dropped the idea. How many times, peole ending up going for the VXI equivalent versions, as the ZXI's are a tad bit unaffordable. Thats the same case here

3. Status symbol. When you look at those who own a bike and could not afford a car, some of them may like to go in for a nano. But a vast majority of the people are image conscious, and no one wants to be branded a budget monger. They know it is a compromise and can not be a long term vehicle.

4. The second hand car market can give you a host of real cars within the same price range (M800s, Altos, Sparks, Ikons, even earlier model Optras, Santro, Wagon R, Zen, and so on). With access to complete cars like this, that has more space, practicality, reliability and comfort, they prefer to go in for one of these cars, rather than a imitation of a full fledged car

5. Most of the people I have seen till date driving nanos, seem to be people who have bought it because, they want a small car that is easy to drive in traffic, whilst they leave their other bigger cars at home, used by ladies, cars for running errands etc.

With this image conscious segment, it takes more than just a budget car to lure these people to buy this car. The Nanos biggest competiton is the second hand car market. People migrtating from riding bikes, would wish to buy a proper car, but may not be able to afford. They would for a start have an Alto or a 800 in their mind, So rather wait than go in for this

Now, what would make sense would be if tata, somehow worked some more magic and sold the Nano, as a Nano Electric and somehow, i mean somehow price it at around 40-50% of the reva, and with mileage concious people, you will definitely find more takers

Last edited by thedreamcatcher : 2nd December 2010 at 00:04.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 00:13   #19
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The fire incidents and initial niggles in Nano assumed dangerous publicity.

The subsequent recall of 70000 odd Nanos to put in fire retarding also would have had a negative effect.

Further, though expos and launches were with pomp and gaeity, did not catch on.

Reasons; image - Was not seen as a car by many but as a two wheeler with four wheels.

Initial fan following deserted mid way; even a low floor bus has more onlookers.

Last edited by rajeev k : 2nd December 2010 at 00:15.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 00:33   #20
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I can tell you, why i wont be buying a nano, even if I really want to.
a.) My wife is completely against it. She doesnt like the looks, feels it's an auto.
b.) The inherent quality issues. nano's catching fire, is a real setback for me and my wife.
c.) Except for me and my dad, the entire lady janta in my family, is against nano. Tried convincing them that it's a good car for the money, but just did not work.
May be they're spoilt by driving other cars, or just dont like the cheap car image it comes with. They're not car enthusiasts, for some reason, they're completely against it.
So there goes, my reasons for not buying the nano. This is just not the case in my house, it's the same in my cousins house as well, they'd rather have an Alto.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 01:52   #21
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Nano sold more than 3K units in Oct and then to crash down to a mere 500+ in Nov looks like an abnormal dip.

Comparing numbers from Oct to Nov, all cars from Tata-Fiat stable (except Safari/Sumo) have lost huge numbers, for eg: Indigo down from 9K+ to 5K+. I guess this points to some kind of production bottleneck.

It is debatable whether numbers of around 3K+ make Nano financially viable for Tata. However, to write obituaries for Nano based on Nov sales figures looks very premature to me.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 02:06   #22
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I think the debate on this thread is very city centric. Sure, in a Bombay, Delhi or Bangalore where nowadays even a 7 series has a lost the "wow" factor, the Nano is not going to improve anyone's image. But India does not reside in the metros. From the perspective of a person living in a semi urban or rural setting, an automobile still holds an aspirational value. Some might buy it just for outings whilst continuing to use their two-wheelers everyday. For people in such places, Nanos would matter and I have a feeling they would sell.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 02:47   #23
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I remember when i was young and me, my brother, father and mother used to go on a LML, i also used to dream of having a car. The rationale behind creating the Nano is pretty valid.

As already suggested an upgrade requires more downpayment money, less fuel efficiency and higher maintenance costs. But, this is the second vehicle in the house, So Papa will still go to office on a scooter except when it is raining, running errands will be done using a scooter. So fuel efficiency is not that huge a constraint.
About Higher downpayment money, it is lesser than any other car you want to buy - first hand or second hand. Comparing it to a downpayment of a scooter is not correct.
Higher maintenance cost is an issue because this is a recurring expense.

The Ratan tata's dream was not marketed correctly. Call it Tata's arrogance or naivety, no proper marketing plan was created for the Nano. And the tag of cheapest car, replacement for 2 wheelers did not help. Moving people from 2 wheelers to 4 wheeler in addition to creating a cheaper good looking vehicle, requires a instigation - A Good melodramatic, heart-wrenching marketing campaign.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 04:31   #24
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In a way, the future of personal transportation are vehicles with the Nano "form-factor", at least within cities. Besides, these are early days and there is still much to learn, mature and grow (for both Tata and for the market), and that need not be by means of knee-jerk interventions. From Tata's viewpoint, the best available talent have probably worked on the Nano, considering its importance. There are no doubt more variants to come (hybrid? compressed air powered? electric?) and changes and improvements, before it hits the sweet spot.

It would be cruel to write its epitaph so soon.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 04:32   #25
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In my opinion the Nano is in a class of its own. And this already harbours a danger. Ratan Tata had a great idea, but was underestimating people. He has given many the reakisation of a dream, but to many want to keep it a dream.

Raw material prices have not helped the situation either.

And I believe that we are living in a society that is in process of changing fundamentally. Consumer behaviour is shifting in an unseen way.

The Tata Marketing department, in my opinion is working with outdated strategies. However I believe that the Nano still can be made a success. To be honest I would love to develop a marketing strategy to turn the Nano into a success.

The Nano was dreamt up in a different automotive era. It might sound funny as it is not such a long time, but consumer thinking has moved on despite most of us having virtually the same problems as then.

The Nano needs selling with an up to date approach. There is no point on dwelling on the fire incidents. The Nano marketing needs to implement points why people want to buy the Nano and not why they need to buy one. And this can be helped by variety.

Re-inventing the Nano is the strategy forward. And this needs a fresh set of marketing consultants.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 05:31   #26
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TATA must learn lessons quickly. You can not launch cars which catch fire and you must test cars over and over again. This is basic stuff.

The problems TATA have are actually deeper than just the Nano. The Indica Vista looks backward stylistically to cars like the new Fiesta. The interior looks OK but will age rapidly compared to cars like the Corsa. I know quality of plastics will be lower in India, but overall design could be better.

To be fair to TATA they are having to learn things that established car makers took decades to figure out. And clearly TATA has some good engineers. But given that TATA now have JLR then surely the sensible thing would be to reorganise the business around the UK R&D teams.

Why not simply offshore most of the design to the UK and use the Indian R&D teams to focus on smaller parts of the car and then gradually scale back up from there? Why not just leverage the expertise in the UK to build up the Indian R&D teams over a period of time?

Also why not use TATA as the entry level brand, but introduce Rover as the brand to fit between TATA and Range Rover as a kind of Toyota battling brand?

TATA need to use their British engineers to move forward quickly. Worry about national pride later on....
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Old 2nd December 2010, 05:53   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tstag View Post
TATA must learn lessons quickly. You can not launch cars which catch fire and you must test cars over and over again. This is basic stuff.

The problems TATA have are actually deeper than just the Nano. The Indica Vista looks backward stylistically to cars like the new Fiesta. The interior looks OK but will age rapidly compared to cars like the Corsa. I know quality of plastics will be lower in India, but overall design could be better.

To be fair to TATA they are having to learn things that established car makers took decades to figure out. And clearly TATA has some good engineers. But given that TATA now have JLR then surely the sensible thing would be to reorganise the business around the UK R&D teams.

Why not simply offshore most of the design to the UK and use the Indian R&D teams to focus on smaller parts of the car and then gradually scale back up from there? Why not just leverage the expertise in the UK to build up the Indian R&D teams over a period of time?

Also why not use TATA as the entry level brand, but introduce Rover as the brand to fit between TATA and Range Rover as a kind of Toyota battling brand?

TATA need to use their British engineers to move forward quickly. Worry about national pride later on....
I can see why Tata might wish to employ German or Japanese or American automotive talent if need be. But British - please. Considering the Brits managed to run every brand of their aground, it would be harakiri.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 08:12   #28
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Nano when launched had the masses going mad over it.

The big bunch of people who booked it wasn't the actual target segment, the two wheel riders, but they were the Upper Middle class who wanted a cute city runabout. Which is actually a Niche segment. Reliability issues and delivery delays drove them off.

And where did the target segment go. Oh they had options. Good 2003 Zen Lx/Santro/Alto available at 1.5 lakh. 2 year old M800's available at similar prices. If they wanted garage queens one can get an 2003 Ikon/esteem for the same price.

Nano's obituary can not be written yet. Mr Tata would surely have Plan B for the Nano. The gorgeous 'Europa' may be the result.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 09:16   #29
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Here's what i think.

a. Running costs: target customer will be upgrading from a 2 wheeler. They would be more concerned about the FE/maint costs.
b. Image: for most families - buying a car is a sense of pride. Buying the car popularised as 'the cheapest car in the world" does not exactly fit this picture.
c. The Fire incidents. Enough said.
d. Price: despite being called a 1 L car - in the end the price is not too far away from good old trustworthy, no-fire M800. Heck, people can pick up a used Alto at that price too.


Solutions? Dunno - I think the car is doomed. Nano diesel might take care of the FE worries of the families upgrading from a 2 wheeler to a large extent.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 09:51   #30
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I would agree with most of the observations made. However, another important aspect to be noted is the average income of the first time buyers in the entry level car has risen which is why we can see the Alto sales rising consistently.

Since the nano top end model is priced almost cost to 2.3 lakhs on road Bangalore, people would stretch a little and go for the alto base model.

Somehow I feel there is some other reason for the sales to be at just 500 odd.

Also another aspect is the nano is generally bought as a second car as far as I have come across, there goes the opportunity of the car being a first car in the family.

The fire accidents also has not done any good to the sales numbers.
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