When it comes to cars, I have been experimenting. Initially I was an avid fan of Maruti. We had both the Maruti car, a status symbols among the Ambassadors and Fiats of that era, and the Maruti van, a truly multipurpose vehicle. While moving on my Maruti I noticed a very beautiful car with large lights. The vehicle was new to Indian roads. I craned my neck to read the make and model of the vehicle. It was the Tata Indigo. I landed in the showroom and purchased a blue Tata Indigo, mainly for its looks. That was the beginning of my romance with Tata vehicles.
I used my first Tata Indigo for 7 long years with no breakdown worth the mention. Just occasional tyre punctures. Subsequently, I bought another Tata vehicle, this time for both looks and the excellent performance my previous vehicle had given me. It may be relevant to mention here that I got an unexpectedly good price for my 7 year old vehicle in the Christmas offer of Tata Motors. The new vehicle was a beauty, a real head turner – a lovely yellow coloured vehicle with large red lights and all high end features found in very expensive vehicles of that time.
The story starts here. Then came along Tata Nano. I read about it. It was hard to believe that a vehicle with such a small engine capacity could support both air conditioning and heating. More out of curiosity, I went to see the vehicle. Once in the showroom, I sat inside one. I was truly amazed. The tiny vehicle accommodated my huge 6 feet, heavily built frame with room to spare both over my head and near my legs. I was further impressed by the performance of both the air conditioning and heating. The ingenuous design of tucking the engine somewhere behind made it a large, tiny vehicle. The turning radius was impressive too. The salesman promised 20 kms / liter of petrol on city roads. To me it appeared to be a vehicle very suitable for driving in crowded city roads. I bought my first Tata Nano.
Friends, today I use the Nano almost everyday. It is so very convenient. The convenience and maneuverability of a two wheeler on four wheels. My beauty, the much bigger Indigo Quadrajet, cools its heels most of the time in my garage. My Nano has done nearly ten thousand kilometers and I have only taken it for servicing and the occasional fixing of a flat tyre. A wonderfully convenient vehicle.
Today it is sad to watch the poor Nano die. Sales did not pick up. You know why? This vehicle fell pray to its own advertising extravaganza. It was the cheapest vehicle on Indian roads. That was the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of that vehicle. A car for the masses. Well, the status conscious Indian does not want to be seen in a vehicle that is “the cheapest”. A wonderful vehicle was cannibalized by its own marketing campaign. How sad!!! The manufacturers perhaps underestimated the inferiority complex we Indians carry. We want to be known as successful by our watches, mobile phones, laptops, cars etc. Who cares for merit?
If the same Nano is renamed and repackaged with a price tag of 7.5 lakhs, its fortune may change.