a few weeks back was arguing intensely(nothing new there), with a friend of indian origin about cars and the Tatas. this gentleman is widely travelled, has a passion for cars, and both took him to an automobile show in geneva. the nano and the indica were on display there and according to him were the only cars in which visitors werent allowed to sit in, to get a feel for the cars. the reason given to him was that visitors who had sat in the cars, had damaged parts of the car, and the dealer didnt have spares available.
this got my friend started on his hobby horse of indians not being able to plan, anticipate.
he has a point. however dealers sell cars not at exhibitions but at their showrooms. car makers dont sell cars at exhibitions. they sell awareness.
the nano annoumcement generated a lot of front page publicity in britain with business papers and magazines givint it extensive coverage.
while most folks seem to associate the nano with a cheap small car for the masses, i tend to look at the nano differently.
with the nano, the tatas have taken first mover advantage. they have forced the established manufacturers to accelerate their development plans for cheap small cars. they probably have got the manufacturers to give away freebies in the basic version, to differentiate from the nano.
i am willing to bet that the nano will be higher priced than the 100k originally declared, but then i am also willing to bet that a few grand here and there will not take away the sheen of the nano.
i have always believed that indian companies are not very good at marketing and branding with the odd companies such as kingfisher being the exception. however indian companies are good at innovation and thats what the nano is about.
on jaguar, i am on less sure footing re the tatas abilities. given my take on the marketing and branding abilities of indian companies, it will be interesting to see how the jaguar brand value is retained. but then toyota did launch lexus demonstrating that a mass market car maker could also launch a successful luxury car so there is precedence.