Mumbai: The much-lamented Tata Nano was given rather nice but belated obsequy by a rival carmaker at IIT-Kanpur today.
“It is very unfortunate that Nano didn't do well,” said Mahindra & Mahindra MD Pawan Goenka, going on to critique Indians’ tendency to use much-too-big cars for much-too-small purposes.
Indians weigh an average of 65-70 kg but they use a 1,500 kg car to travel individually. That’s a waste of all the resources that go into making the hulk move.
“We need to have personal transport that’s more tuned to moving a single person,” Goenka said.
Tata Motors’ Nano was a 600 cc vehicle that was billed as the Rs 1 lakh car. Kg for kg, it may have answered Goenka’s sense of transport aesthetics but it received a poor response from Indians, and its makers abandoned it.
Many experts said the product's ultra utilitarian pitch did not go down well in a country where owning a car is a symbol of prestige.
But now M&M itself is having a go at the small is suitable theme. Goenka is convinced that his company’s smaller car, which should be hitting the market soon, will not meet the same fate as Nano.
Awareness of pollution maybe one reason M&M’s small car has a chance. Pawan Goenka said automobiles at present contribute 7 per cent of carbon dioxide and a fifth of PM 2.5 particulate matter.
He said India can lead the race on the connected car front due to its prowess in information technology.
There is a lot of work being done on electric vehicles (EVs), with startups dedicated to niche areas like batteries, charging, two-wheelers and three-wheelers mushrooming, he said.
India is at present five years behind China when it comes to EVs, but can lead the world on R&D as well as production front, he noted.
At present, India is trailing the world, being just a consumer of EVs, he said, adding that only 1,400 cars were bought in 2019, which is a very small percentage of the world demand.