The Nano was unveiled today in India and has been creating tidal waves across the globe. reactions range from admiration to sarcasm laced jealousy. Tata Motors has received it all.
a little background about this car to crank us up a bit... its been called (cliched) the 'People's Car' - VW must've let out a yawn too many already. but then, VW has come a long way now and with its customers acting pricey, so have its cars. but then, thats what the nano is for... the masses who care two hoots to exclusivity and frills - just the basics. a set of wheels for the light-pocketed middle class family of 3/4. one would rather risk their lives balancing themselves on a 2-wheeler than be fleeced by the autorickshaws or minced in the city bus. its really that simple. get them onto something relatively safer. replace the bike with a car. if you look at it, thats one mean feat to achieve. safety, efficiency and mobility in a $2500 package.
but not all look at it that way. the New York Times blogsite writes a rather harmless article but the readers' comments make it interesting. ranging from an overly swollen sense of desi pride to cribs of accelerated global warming and substandard products.
i think its time we cleared some smoke here. mostly by americans or supporters of the american auto industry, they are only quick to pass judgements that a cheaper car meant drop in quality and safety standards - a family casket on wheels, throwing caution to the wind. that would be akin to buying a cheap airticket and expect to be air-dropped from a coast-to-coast airline. wonder why no one has thought of that yet... real cheap tickets. as a bonus, keep the parachute! a cheaper car means a more polluting vehicle. little do people know that BS II had more stringent norms than that of euro 3, now BS III is at par with euro 4 norms and the Nano conforms to both. excessive pollution eh? more than the sputtering 2-wheeler it intends to replace?
and of all the people, the americans complain about this cheap car will only add to the congestion and pollution on the roads - more hazardous emissions, faster global warming. and they feel thanks to all this happening in the developing countries, the "poor" souls in developed countries have to pay higher taxes, environment protection fees and the like to offset this avalanche! now i am all for the butterfly effect and all that, but isnt this theory a little too far fetched? for a country holding a report card like this i must say, some cheek! 5% of the global population contributing to 45% of global vehicular pollution. did i hear someone talk about rising pollution in the east?
for someone who would rather travel cross-country in a 20mpg car burning 15 gallons of fuel than be caught dead in a 50mpg car, should i refer you some books on commonsense? or math rather? take your pick sir. those who inherently travel alone to work are now waking up from their deep slumber to notice rising gas prices. carpool is still an alien concept. and somehow asking their colleagues living in the same neighbourhood doesnt occur to them. they need a 1-800 number to share-a-ride! throw in a dedicated carpool lane to indulge them. never have i seen a populace been so enticed to exhibit common sense!
let not our desi readers be given a clean chit either. one of us gets rather creative in his views... a passionate gujju he comes across clarifies the etymology for the Nano. its got nothing to do with apple's namesake - its नानो which is gujarati for "small" :) and there is this other lady who would rather have Mr. Tata do something for the environment now that he already has done it for humankind. whats wrong with you starting the movement lady? dont see any point in starting the movement yourself? some say a mass transport system is what the world needs and not a cheaper car to add to the clamour. point taken and agreed it adds to the clamour, but it also gets that many 2-wheelers off the road. there's only so much space a car could squeeze into that 2/3 bikes would've otherwise!