about 2 years ago
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By Ruma Dubey

India’s luxury-car market is on course to hit anew peak this year as sales have topped 20,000 units, showing a 17% increase.

Then there is the sales of total commercial vehicles (CVs); right from two-wheelers to trucks and cars, SUVs; each and every segment has shown a robust growth in June with sales jumping 38%. CVs showed a 42% growth, two-wheelers 22%. And the market leader, Maruti, showed a 40% jump in June sales volume.

And then there is this news – Tata Nano produced one car, yes, one single car in June and exports were zero.

So clearly it is a final adieu to this much touted car from India.

The cheapest tag, which got it the world’s attention was also its Achilles heel in India. Plus the safety an issue, with Nano’s catching fire was the beginning of the end.

The company says that Nano cannot continue in its present form beyond 2019. Why 2019? Why waste more precious money – why chase some more good money behind bad?

Tata’s did everything possible and even repositioned it as a car for the new generation, changing even its name to GenX Nano. Even its USP was changed from “cheapest car” to an aspirational vehicle. And it included a host of new features. Tata’s aimed at the emotional level through brand building and at the product level by making it a complete hatchback. Sadly, the image of Nano as a “poor man’s car” was too strong and the new branding simply did not stick. Also it no longer carries the price tag of Rs.1 lakh, the new variant was sold in the range of Rs.2.25 lakh to Rs.3.25 lakh.

On the other hand, a Coimbatore based company has seized this as an opportunity. Jayem Automotive has tied up with Tata’s for supply of only the body shell of the Nano, without the engine and transmission; Jayem will itself make the electric cars, sourcing the electric engine from Electra EV and sell it under the brand name of “Jayem Neo.”

What does the failure of Nano convey? Apart from being an extremely status conscious country, we seem to be miles away when it comes to innovating and implementing indigenous technology in the automobile sector. Every day we hear stories of local inventions, like saving fuel, use of solar power to drive a car and various inner engineering marvels. There is so much happening at the grass root levels; so why are we not able to tap into local inventions and make it commercially viable? ‘Make in India’ is good but what about those things which are being made by Indians in India?

The failure of Nano in many ways has hurt the emotional cord and a big disappointment to dreamers. Sadly, majority of the users are all praises – yet, it is shutters down today. Wish the Nano could be reinvented; somehow letting go of this dream is hurtful.

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