Ratan Tata: Tycoon's ride in India's cheapest car wins the internet

May 19, 2022
Ratan Tata during the inauguration of the car in 2008.
Ratan Tata during the inauguration of the car in 2008.

MUMBAI — Indian tycoon Ratan Tata is being praised on social media for traveling in one of the world's cheapest cars.

The Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group, Tata is known for his simplicity.

When he traveled in the Nano, which his firm launched in 2009 but ceased production 10 years later, he revived the frenzy over the car.

It was launched amid great fanfare as a compact with the base model costing just 100,000 rupees ($1,979; £1,366).

But after the initial success and euphoria, the brand began to lose out to other manufacturers due to issues with production and marketing.

The first batch of 100,000 Nanos was sold through a lottery, with demand exceeding supply. But the demand kept decreasing in subsequent years. Tata in 2012 admitted that mistakes were made with the launch of the Nano.

However, the Nano project has remained close to his heart and he's often described it as "an affordable car for all Indians".

But his ride in the Nano surprised many who pointed out that the man also owns the firm that manufactures the Jaguar and Land Rovers. And his ride to Mumbai's iconic Taj hotel, which is also owned by the Tatas, on Tuesday, was described by many as a "masterclass" in simple living.

After popular paparazzi Viral Bhayani posted a video of Tata at the Taj, Indian social media started buzzing with praises for the business tycoon.

The video also brought back memories of the car that was once pitched as "the most affordable car in the world" and took India by storm. Tata also talked about why the Nano was so special to him a few days ago on social media.

What really motivated me, and sparked a desire to produce such a vehicle, was constantly seeing Indian families on scooters, maybe the child sandwiched between the mother and father, riding to wherever they were going, often on slippery roads. One of the benefits of being in the School of Architecture, it had taught me to doodle when I was free. At first, we were trying to figure out how to make two-wheelers safer, the doodles became four wheels, no windows, no doors, just a basic dune buggy. But I finally decided it should be a car. The Nano, was always meant for all our people,” Tata said on Instagram.

Meanwhile, some reports suggest that the Tata group is planning to relaunch the Nano as an electric car. Many Indian and global firms have been trying to capture the growing electric car market, but experts say India still needs to invest heavily in charging stations and supply-chain management to make it a viable option for carmakers. — BBC

May 19, 2022
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