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Tata Nano, The New Volkswagen Bettle?

Updated on October 26, 2015

The Tata Nano is a city car manufactured by Tata Motors. Made and sold in India

Tata Nano Launched In Auto Expo 2008 in New Delhi

Tata Nano -- 2500$ Car Launched In Auto Expo 2008 in New Delhi.  Designed to lure India's middle classes away from two-wheelers, it received much publicity.
Tata Nano -- 2500$ Car Launched In Auto Expo 2008 in New Delhi. Designed to lure India's middle classes away from two-wheelers, it received much publicity. | Source

The Tata Nano

Post-war Germany saw the rise of the Volkswagen Beetle as ‘the people's car'...It was a cheap automobile that allowed German families to have a mean of transport for a reasonably low price. The Volkswagen Beetle, became an icon, and travelled around the world becoming the longest-running and most-produced cars of a single design.

In 2008, Tata, India's largest automobile company launched the Tata Nano during the New Delhi auto show. It was then the cheapest car in the world, although the price of the Nano was three times the average yearly national income in India.

In 2013, five years after its launching, the Tata Nano still here with quite a few improvements and a new public to seduce. Even easier to ride and more comfortable, the Tata Nano is here to stay.

Tata Nano Dashboard

 Tata Nano dashboard is very simple. CD player and radio on this deluxe model
Tata Nano dashboard is very simple. CD player and radio on this deluxe model | Source

At its launch in 2009, Indians were so eager to get their hands on the Tata Nano that 200,000 orders were put through before the first Nano had even rolled off the production line.

Cost-cutting Features To Reduce Manufacturing Costs of the Tata Nano

  • The Tata Nano trunk is only accessible from inside.
  • The Tata Nano only has One windscreen wiper
  • No power steering
  • No airbags
  • No airconditioning
  • No CD Player in basic model
  • Maximum speed 65 mph

Tata Nano engine in the trunk that's only accessible from inside

Tata Nano engine in the trunk that's only accessible from inside as a cost reduction feature. The back seats have been removed to reveal the engine in this photo.
Tata Nano engine in the trunk that's only accessible from inside as a cost reduction feature. The back seats have been removed to reveal the engine in this photo. | Source

The Indian Car Scene

Despite the Tata Nano being the cheapest car in the world, it is still very difficult for an Indian to buy a Nano without using credit. And being eligible for credit in India not only includes being a minimum age of 21 and a maximum of 60 at loan maturity but you will also need to have been employed at least 1 year and show income proof. You would also need address and identity proof, voter ID card, driving license and even Notary certification with photo. Considering India's work market, filling all these criteria is not as easy as it may seem.

India is the second largest two-wheeler market in the world

entire families riding a motorbike
entire families riding a motorbike

Currently, India is the second largest two-wheeler market in the world. You can see entire families riding a motorbike. The average price for a two-wheeler is 50,000 Rs. For double that amount, a family will now be able to have a family car. Hopefully this move will increase safety for hundreds of people.

India's market share for trasports


Volkswagen Cabriolet
Volkswagen Cabriolet

The Volkswagen

Despite being regarded with suspicion, the Tata Nano, will probably be a success. Hopefully like the Volkswagen Beetle did during the 1940s. If you have any doubt, just remember that the Volkswagen with its underpowered motor, rough ride, high noise levels and particular style was at its time considered a market failure. However, years later, it proved to be a success not only in Germany but in other countries such as Peru.

I remember, when I was a child in Peru, we had a Volkswagen Beetle. Well, everybody had one... Even car rental companies had entire fleets of Beetles. Who would imagine that it was Hitler who submitted the sketches for a proposed Volkswagen searching to find a people's car for the Germans. It was supposed to be a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children at a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).

Far removed from Germany and war times, we had a Volkswagen to travel along the Peruvian coast. It was the 70s and my mother was quite adventurous and never doubted her driving capacities or her Beetle power. I remember one weekend, she wanted to see my dad who was working more than 900 km. away from Lima. My mom just put us in the car with a thermos flask and a couple of ham rolls and drove all night to see my dad for the weekend. We were only 8, 3 and 1 year old. No seat belts or air conditioning... just lust for life!

That is how I imagine the Indians with their newly acquired Nanos. Before our Volkswagen, we had travelled in a motorbike, just like they do in India now and in countless places in South America and the Caribbean. It is much less secure, but if it is the only means of transport for your family, then you have no option.

Tha Tata Nano Environmental nightmare or progress?

Why are some people against the Tata Nano?

I have read reports from environmentalists complaining about the pollution that mass production of the Nano will cause. I think they are misguided. It is no more polluting than the motorbikes they will replace and it will certainly be safer for the occupants. Those who complain have surely never been poor and have always had the luxury of choice, often making the extremely bad choice of a gas-guzzling car. Here's a message for those hypocrites: Feel guilty now if you like and continue pretending to be green, but don't try to prevent others from improving their standard of living because they will still be a lot greener than you are.

It annoys me to see in many sites people making fun of the Tata Nano for being small. I see it the same way as if they are making fun of someone for wearing clothes made in China rather than designer gear.

Bigger cars pollute more and are far more risky for pedestrians than driving a Nano. People blogging and laughing at the Nano, just demonstrate that they are uneducated and ignorant of the realities of living in a third world country.

Polls tell us that 70% to 90% of affluent Westerners want to be 'greener' so do they mean it or are they just saying that to be trendy?

Regarding safety, large cars are no safer than small cars because they:

  • are less nimble so can't as easily avoid trouble,

  • take much longer to stop when braking,

  • are more likely to rollover if high,

  • are often far too rigid so don't absorb shocks,

  • kill more pedestrians,

  • drivers feel safer so they take far more risks and,

  • are faster so it's easier to get into trouble in the first place. The bottom line is that small cars are greener and more sensible - so don't just talk smart - live smart!

2013 Tata Nano Quick Review

Citroen 1948

Top 5 Cheapest cars

Other Low cost cars in history

The Volkswagen Type 1. It was introduced in 1938 (engine 985cc), with a top speed of 115km/h. Manufactured by Volkswagen from 1938 to 2003.

The Citroen Deux chevaux. Introduced in 1948 (375cc engine) it could achieve a top speed of 60 km/h. It stayed in production until 1990. It was laughed at when launched, but the 2CV was a great commercial success: Within months of going on sale, there was a three-year waiting list.

The Fiat Nuovo, introduced in 1957 (479cc engine) it could do a top speed of 85km/h.The Tata Nano:

The Nano: Manufactured by Tata, 2008, and sold for £1,250 (100,000 rupees) the cheapest car available at the moment. It seats 4, maybe 5 skinny people. It is 5ft 3in tall (like me). It can reach a top speed of 65mph.

A Citroen 2cv fits 22 people.

© 2008 Wendy Iturrizaga


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    princeland 9 years ago from New Delhi, India

    Reallly Marvellous hub. How you know so much about Indians and Tata Nano is great on your part. I like your hub a lot. I have also written something on Nano which you can read if you like. This is my first hub I have ever written.

  • profile image

    free car quotes 9 years ago

    Great Hub you have here :) please read my new hub about getting free online car quotes...

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

    Great and a comprehensive Hub. I think India should improve public transportation, in the long run cars will not be an ideal solution.. The gas prices will go up very soon and many can't afford it at that price.

  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 10 years ago

    I used to LOOOOVE beetles! Never really see them anymore. :(

  • compu-smart profile image

    Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

    Great Hub. The new Volkswagen Cabriolet is a very cool car!! Herbie rides again!!


  • ram_m profile image

    ram_m 10 years ago from India

    Your article was very comprehensive and objective. The Beetle is indeed a versatile vehicle, but my father had a 1947 Morris 8 which was an equally small and marvellous one.Let's hope Nano would match it.