A list of head-aches that will probably be caused by the small Nano....
When Tata Motors displayed Nano publicly for the first time, Ratan Tata had said that he " saw middle-class families riding 4 at a time on a scooter (no doubt a Bajaj!) " and he thought that he should make a car that would be affordable to a common family. The 1 Lakh Car!
Commendable vision or just some Marketing Bullshit. We may never know!
But the stark reality is that the pint sized Nano comes with a Mega package of problems. Both for the infrastructure and the environment.
1. The problem of safety:
The Tata Nano lacks airbags and ABS (anti-lock braking system). Putting these two in Nano would have instantly doubled its price. Hence these essential safety measures have been omitted from Nano.
Tata has said that later versions of will have these features. But the price will definitely be doubled and who would want to buy a 2 Lakh Nano car when you have other better cars starting at 3 lakhs?
Also there is the question that when this variant will be coming out!
In India where almost 90000 people are killed/crippled in road accidents every year will it be advisable to flood the roads with a car that lacks airbags and ABS?
2. The problem of Traffic:
Major metros like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi are already facing bad traffic problems everyday. Small cities and towns are not equipped to handle a sudden increase in traffic(By the way neither are the metros!)
In such situation is it advisable to dump a low-cost car on the middle class which looks at a car as a status symbol? The middle class will definitely jump at such an opportunity without thinking about the consequences.
The Tata's wont stop marketing it since it is their business, the middle class won't stop buying it for the sake of owning a car at low price and the government(!) even if it opens its mouth a wad of money will be put in it and the mouth will promptly close!
Although it is said that Tata has conceived a scheme for crowded metros like Mumbai to offer Nano only to those individuals who do not have a vehicle already, I doubt how much this scheme will succeed regarding the implementation of it and also how many people will try to bypass this scheme!
A counter argument doing the rounds is that, once Nano enters the market the sale of two-wheelers will go down. Honestly can you imagine a college-goer going to college in his Nano? What about the parking problems then? In the college as well as on the roads?
Is a boy likely to take his girlfriend for a ride in Nano?
And when Tata has released Nano will the bike companies sit back and let Tata eat their share of market?
3.The problem of pollution
Although Tata Nano is a low emission car, is it emission free?
A simple logic I apply is ,
Normal emission from 1 car = Low emission from 10 cars
Now if people are going to buy Nano like anything wont the 'low emission' of many Nano's eventually be equal to the normal emission of some cars?
With global warming already showing its drastic effects ( you noticed the sudden rise in heat-levels, the untimely rains, the warm winters - all side-effects of global warming!) is it advisable to market the Nano?
When are we going to learn to keep our managerial and business sense aside and care for the earth rather than for ourselves?
Is it so difficult to understand that if the ecological balance stays, we stay, else we are dead?
Tata has promised an electric variant, a variant with compressed-air as fuel. I do hope these ventures succeed and that they be better than the current Nano. I just don't want them to end up as REVA the electric 2 seater car did! A total flop.
4. Enter the rivals:
Market rivals like Bajaj have already started with their attempts at their own 1 lakh car in collaboration with Nissan & Renault and is called Bajaj Auto-Renault-Nissan ULC.
Other giants like Fiat, General Motors have expressed interest at developing a cheap car like the Nano.
Imagine the amount of traffic and pollution when these cars too make their entry into the market!
A solution to this problem would be replacing the existing old taxis (Fiats in Mumbai, Ambassadors in Kolkata, don't know about the other cities!) with Tata Nanos. Of course the Taxi replacements should be offered at a discount.
But if the taxi is a CNG one then I do not see any point in replacing it.
The same thing goes for the autorickshaws.
Infact, a cheaper variant of Nano could be introduced by removing the doors of the Nano to make it look like an auto!
It is upto us people, the common people to think, not only for ourselves but also for the sake of our cities, our nation and our planet whether buying a Nano would be really advisable or not!
PS: 1. This article although is based on the Tata Nano and the problems that it may cause, we need to use public transport to the max. Maximising use of public transport will reduce the number of cars on the roads directly leading to reduction in traffic (and also pollution!) 2. Any counter argument is always welcome. If I, in any way have erred in the above article please do comment on that!
This work by Pranjal A. Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License