every businessman who starts a business, there is either success waiting for
him or absolute failure. Thus, when Tata Motors bought UK based Jaguar Land
Rover (JLR) it was construed as a sure short risky proposition. But suddenly
the China market came alive with massive demands for the JLR products, making
this purchase by Tata Motors one of the most profitable business deals for
Ratan Tata and his team.
if Ratan Tata is known for his smart business acumen, then he can also be held
responsible for the failure on the Tata Nano. With the Nano, he let his heart
speak, rather than his mind. Businessmen are not supposed to heed to the cries
of the heart. Businesses thrive on the smart and canny decisions one makes from
the mind. When the Nano was launched several years ago, it was the talk of
every Indian town, rather it was the talk of every country across the world.
Tata marketed the car on the hope that it would enable two-wheeler owners who
travel dangerously with their families on their bikes and scooters, to buy a small
affordable car. The media picked up this sentiment and badged this car as a
cheap car for the poor. With one stroke, the media killed a product even before
it had seen the world. Ratan Tata and
his team that had spent hundreds and thousands of crores of rupees were left
shocked and hurt. Their dream had turned into a nightmare.
car per se is an excellent product. It has over the years improved and some of
its glitches have been removed. There is no small car in the country that looks
so cute and beautiful. It drives well and with a power steering and a factory
fitted air-conditioner it’s as comfortable as any other car more expensive that
it. Nano, in fact, spawned a new generation of small cars based on frugal
engineering. Surely, Carols Ghosn of Renault Nissan got his frugal engineering
dream only after he saw the Nano. Perhaps, even the revival of Datsun in the
world today could be a result of the Nano, in a roundabout way.
at the Nano sales and see how badly it has performed over the years. According
to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) figures, in the
financial year 2013-14 (April 2013 to March 2014), the Nano sold a mere 21,129
units. In the 2012-13 fiscal it had done 53,848 units. In 2011-12, it had done
74,527 units and in 2010-11 it had done 70,432 units. Surely, this car which
has seen sales of more than 10,000 units per month at one time is now doing a
mere 1000 odd units per month.
matter what Tata Motors does to revive the Nano in the country, it’s very
unlikely that the car sales will pick up dramatically. As a journalist, I
personally feel that the Nano should be scrapped immediately and in its place a
new car with a new name and a new legacy should be given birth. Tata Motors has
huge reserves and potential. But somehow when it comes to its products in
India, there is something amiss. There is not a single product from the Tata
Motors stable that can be termed as a market leader or ‘revolutionary’ in
mindset at Tata Motors has to change. It’s cash rich because of JLR. It’s
forgetting the fact that it has to make money in India while it is making money
everywhere else. For the last several years, there is absolute complacency in
the company when it comes to product innovation. Racing a few trucks on Buddh
does not increase sales, it merely makes the crowd happy and that too
momentarily. Once the applause dies down, it’s back to business and then the numbers
matter. It’s time the company does a huge re-think on its products and does
away with its boring products. To begin with, it’s time to get rid of the
Nano...lock, stock and barrel!
Photography Mohd Nasir
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