Recurring Decimals…..

Everything here is irrelevant

This Nano doesn’t shuffle

with 9 comments

But it can carry you from point A to point B. The Tata Nano.

The much anticipated Nano (a name I don’t really care for much) was unveiled today amidst much fan-fare. Touted by Tata as ‘the people’s car’, it is the world’s cheapest automobile. Additionally, if you are so inclined to think such manners, it is an ‘environmental nightmare’ (even though there seems to be evidence to the contrary) and an assertion of India’s growing economic might [1].

Speaking of global might, it is possible that in addition to the cheapest car, Tata will also own some of the most expensive brands if their bid to buy Jaguar and LandRover goes through. Talk about a spectrum.

[1]: Check the link – even while talking about cars, there is a sly dig at the recent cricket controversies. πŸ™‚

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Jaguar’s potential sale to Tata, however, hasn’t made everyone happy. US car dealers apparently think it will dilute the brand value (of Jagaurs).

“I don’t believe the U.S. public is ready for ownership out of India of a luxury car make,” Ken Gorin, chairman of the Jaguar Business Operations Council, told the Wall Street Journal. “And I believe it would severely throw a tremendous cast of doubt over the viability of the brand.” (link)

Hmmm…..I can imagine the before and after scenes. Pre-takeover:

Customer: I want to buy a luxury car.

Dealer (showing a Jaguar): How about this one. It will break down often, cost you high maintainence, and is generally unreliable. But ….oooooh look……. it is a Jaguar, the Brits make it and Ford owns it.

Customer: hmmmm…..

Dealer: it is enormously expensive and a great status symbol.

Customer: Yay-diddly-doo – thats the one I want then. Where do I sign?

Post Tata takeover of the brands:

Customer: I want to buy a luxury car.
Dealer (showing a Jaguar): How about this one. It will break down often, cost you high maintainence, and is generally unreliable. But ….oooooh….. look it is a Jaguar, the Brits make it and errrr…an Indian company called TATA owns it.

Customer: hmmmm…..

Dealer: it is enormously expensi-

Customer (interrupting): ….wait did you say – India ? Dammit – I don’t know how to drive an elephant.!! And I really wanted something faster……..

Dealer: ….but sir, its still a car, in fact the same car as before – not an eleph-

Customer (interrupting again): and do I have to wear one of them turbans ? I can’t do that – everyone’ll think I am Osama !!!

Dealer: sigh ! forget about it.

PS – here is an even worse piece on Tata’s takeover bid: dripping with post-colonial angst. Will rant about it separately.

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 11, 2008 at 1:14 am

9 Responses

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  1. Hey,

    I don’t think that conversation of yours befits the company, seriously.

    Right now, we’re looking too far ahead and making too many assumptions here, which are not good when the market is untested.

    We should be only judging Tata by assessing the merits and de-merits of the new car, Nano (which makes me think of Apple…what an irony) on the basis of the market if purports to serve- the lower middle class.

    Ruhi

    January 11, 2008 at 1:31 am

  2. @Ruhi: the comment was a my (futile) attempt at sarcasm in response to the Ken Gorin statement. It seemed like a bit presumptuous for this guy to assume that JAguar’s brand value would be diluted if owned by an Indian company. Hence the imaginary conversation.

    I wasn’t saying anything about the long term viability of the Nano.

    BongoP'o'ndit

    January 11, 2008 at 1:36 am

  3. Oh all right. That didn’t com out very clearly when I read the post,, in my opinion. πŸ™‚

    Ruhi

    January 11, 2008 at 3:24 am

  4. I read that piece in Time too.. but decided to not post about it. There is enough outrage in the air for the moment πŸ˜‰

    Vivek

    January 11, 2008 at 5:13 am

  5. Also read the latest in NYT on Nano and the Elephants (who only make an appearance in the headline, not the story):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/11/world/asia/11indiacar.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=asia

    Vivek

    January 11, 2008 at 5:15 am

  6. Somini’s article was a scream ( the one Vivek refered above) :). I wonder who edited out the comments about India’s poor (The mandatory reference to the number of people living below $1 a day seems to be missing in the article).

    barbadkatte

    January 11, 2008 at 7:18 am

  7. The “people’s car” is a wonderful example of India’s mid-20st Century mindset and its squandered chance at 21st Century development. My short essay on this can be read at http://memestreamblog.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/india-going-nowhere-fast/.

    MBJ

    mbjesq

    January 11, 2008 at 7:02 pm

  8. […] article about Tata’s bid for Jaguar and LandRover takeovers – briefly mentioned in the previous post – is but one […]

  9. @Ruhi: My mistake, I have have taken the lazy route to making it clearer – drawn a line :). But do read the newer post on a similar issue.

    @Vivek: The Overlord can always delegate it to the minions πŸ™‚ Check the new post. Although I decided not to leave Somini Sengupta out this time. As the Aussies would say – she is ‘too easy’ (to rant about).

    @barbadkatte: Heh ! Methinks Somini

    @mbjesq: thanks for pointing out your post. interesting point of view. I agree with you on some issues. but thats for another time.

    BongoP'o'ndit

    January 11, 2008 at 8:18 pm


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