Where: Mumbai, India
March 23, 2009 : The Tata Nano was launched by Tata Industries chief Ratan Tata. The car will go on sale in April 2009 and deliveries will begin in July 2009. ‘Nano’ means ‘extremely small.’ The car costs just 100,000 Indian rupees, and it is only 3 metres (10 feet) long. It can seat five. Mr. Tata said, ‘I hope it will provide safe, affordable four-wheel transportation to families who till now have not been able to own a car.’ The company is out to compete with the two-wheeler vehicle industry. The basic model doesn’t have any frills like air conditioning, radio or power steering.
In spite of concerns like the safety of such a small car, the demand is expected to be huge. The launch of the car was delayed by six months. The plant had to be relocated from the state of West Bengal, where the project ran into trouble for having bought land from farmers. The new manufacturing plant in Gujarat opens only next year. It can produce up to 250,000 cars in a year.
Environmentalists wonder whether it is advisable for every Indian family to put a car on the road. Indian cities are congested. There is not enough road space to take the load of present traffic. Pollution levels are soaring. The need of the hour is not more cars for more people, but public transport solutions to reduce auto emissions. Tata, however, claims Nano will be the least polluting car.