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Nano missed chance; to remove tag of poor man's car

Last updated on: January 5, 2012 16:25 IST

Nano missed chance; to remove tag of poor man's car

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Admitting that Nano has 'wasted an early opportunity' due to teething problems, Tata Group chief Ratan Tata on Thursday said Tata Motors will do everything to undo the tag of 'poor man's car'.

In an interaction with media here, Tata, who is also the chairman of Tata Motors, said: "Many efforts were made to discredit the product. We never pushed it (Nano) as a poor man's car, but as an affordable family car. Whatever stigma is there in the market, we will undo it."

Asserting that the very concept of Nano is a robust one, he said: "The launches of similar small cars by others vindicate our belief that this segment was missing in the product line."

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Image: Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata.
Photographs: Reuters

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He further added that Tata Motors was "not much in competition with others as far as pricing of it is concerned".

When asked about the problems Nano has faced, like the fire incidents and the recent replacement of starter motors, Tata said the issue was mainly due to various parts coming from different vendors.

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Tata , Nano

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"Current upgrade should help resolve the problem... upgrade will resolve issue relating to problematic supply from vendors. Upgrade will also resolve the earlier issues and also take in customer feedback. We will look at variants of models to move up the value chain," he said.

Asked about the break-even timeline for the Nano project, Tata Motors Vice-Chairman Ravi Kant said: "We are maintaining the break-even timeline as far as numbers are concerned, we are on line."

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Answering a query on whether Tatas will go back to West Bengal again, Tata said: "I do not think our position has changed. As and when the hostilities are over and (if) we get an amicable reception, we will think of it."

Commenting on plans to take Nano to developed markets, like Europe and the United States, Tata said it would depend on supply lines and appropriate dealer network, but he did not elaborate.

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Image: Ashok Vichare, the first owner of Nano, gets the keys from Ratan Tata.
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff
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In 2008, Tata Motors had pulled out of Singur in West Bengal, where it had planned to set up a Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion) manufacturing plant for Nano, due to political opposition.

Later, it moved to Sanand in Gujarat for the same and announced over Rs 2,000-crore (Rs 20-billion) investment there.

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Image: Ratan Tata with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Photographs: Reuters
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Tata further said Tata Motors had to move out from Singur when nearly 85-90 per cent of the project was completed with nearly 300,000 orders in hand.

His dream of making a car costing only Rs 1 lakh (Rs 100,000) had to face challenges -- both technical and political -- ever since it was conceived in 2003.


Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com
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