CHENNAI: Few cars have managed to capture the attention of an entire population and then managed to somehow fall by the wayside. And none as much as the Tata Nano. The man at the helm of Tata Group during its most recent and greatest automotive disappointment, Ratan Tata, on Wednesday said that a series of mistakes contrived to dis-enable the car from doing what it was meant to do - reach the people.
“The Tata Nano was meant to reach the people, but it never has,” said Tata in an event in Chennai speaking about the journey that the Nano has taken so far. According to him, a series of mistakes that Tata made led to the less than dazzling performance of the Nana - a not so careful look at siting the plant and a huge branding goof-up.
“The nano was designed by a group with an average age of 25-26 and it was an exhilarating exercise to design a car that could be purchased for a lakh of rupees,” said Tata. The launch was beyond expectations but soon after, the journey went wrong.
“Unfortunately the lessons we learned was perhaps to look more carefully at a situation where we had a very aggressive head of government,” said Tata talking about the re-siting of the Nano’s completely built plant from West Bengal to Gujarat where they lost a year of production.
“During that year we lost a lot of the excitement over the product and gave our competitors an opportunity to create myths and stories about us,” he confessed.
But the greatest mistake, according to him, the branding exercise for the Nano that Tata embarked upon. “The greatest mistake we made was that our sales people took the softest option - of branding the car as the cheapest car, rather than the most affordable car for the people. That caused a negative impact on the market, because people didn't want to be seen in the cheapest car. That has been our greatest deficiency,” he said.
The Tata Nano has only managed to sell a pitiful 2,63,619 units until the end of 2014, a striking contrast to the fact that the Nano plant has an annual installed capacity of 2.5 lakh.