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Posted in delhi, good design, what really matters by hemmant jha on August 6, 2012

It’s been a while since the TATA Nano was launched in India, and it has seen its share of ups and downs. Never in the history of automotive development have electrical faults and fires been a selling point, and the tendency of the first batch of Nanos to burst into flame did nothing to help matters. Using ‘cheap’ as an USP seems not to have worked either – this approach alienated those looking at the Nano as an aspirational product (a move up from the scooter or the motorcycle) and alienated those who may well have considered the Nano a perfectly fine urban runabout, and a replacement for any number of significantly higher priced Japanese automobiles.

Many see the Nano as a failure, and measured by all the traditional yardsticks, it probably is. Seen in light of the images below, however, it is a success – never in the history of modern motoring has a vehicle existed that is a perfectly plausible replacement for the scooter or motorcycle when used as a family vehicle. At just about USD2000, it is cheaper than most scooters sold in the US, and about twice as much as most scooters sold in India. It seats five in relative comfort, keeps them dry, and gets them where they need to go. It’s not the last word in anything, really, but the only four wheeled automobile available that delivers on the promise of the peoples’ car.

Still have doubts? Put yourself in the place of either one of the kids in the pictures below. In Delhi. On poorly surfaced roads slick with rain.

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