Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tata Nano: A 21st century Peoples Car

The recent introduction of the Indian Tata Nano has created a sensation in the international media for cheap cars for developing countries, some good, some not so good. Regardless it does go a long way to illustrate the possibilities when one focuses on designing cars specifically for that kind of market.

At $2500 (approximately ₦300,000), the Nano is by far the most affordable brand new car in the world. That in itself is an achievement, something many of the contemporary automakers ridiculed at first. But the real success of Nano is the numerous patents filed for the car. The car is not just cheap it is packed with innovation. A true modern day Citro├źn 2CV. Tata in the process of designing the car has created new techniques for manufacturing that can be put into their conventional line-up.
Cost saving measures like making use of a single wiper, using similar mecahnisms for the doors and dorr handles, making a self made 2 cylinder engine, strategic location of manufacturing facilities and suppliers shows how little improvements add up. for comparison the second cheapest car in the world is almost twice as expensive. this shows the power innovation. It is so revolutionary that it is receiving respect from western carmakers.
Tata has managed to create a vehicle that follows the principles of the historic people's cars from ford model T to the VW beetle. and answered the question revelant to the 21st century. Nigeria can follow the same route. It does not have to be a cut and paste pattern. The lessons learned from Tata just have to be implemented with respect to the market and culture of Nigeria.

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