While the Indian press and public have been going ga-ga over the Tata Nano, let's have a look at what the world thinks of it. Of course most of the stuff dished out is by guys who've never been to India nor seen / driven the Nano for real - but its still fascinating to have a look at their perspective.
Foreman, a popular blogger on the Top Gear Website has this to say, "... Avoid all the options (like a brake servo, lighter socket or parcel shelf) and it comes in under £1,400. Small wonder its home country, India, is going berserk for the Tata Nano." More interesting though are the comments on this post.
Kilroy says, "When it finally arrives in Europe, at least you can be assured that it would never be stolen.. No self-respecting little chav would be caught dead in one for fear of being beaten to death by the rest of his mates…..
Remember those old Skoda jokes years ago? Like how do you double the value of a Skoda? Fill it with petrol?? Gentlemen, I give you your new Skoda… At least Skoda got better as time went on…"
while Qasim says, "Look, the thing is, no matter how much hype they make about this car in India, it is still, for most, too damn expensive.
People in the sub-continent have to take loans that take decades, even generations for some families to clear.Vicious cycle, Economics 101. I fear like many things, this may too, be an elusive dream for most Indians..."
And here is what F1fan says, "im an indian(a pretty well off one at that) and this madness seriously degrades me. A stupid little pointless peace of rubbish to my culture , I say. Anyways, how would I know? I drive an R8."
A Washington Post reporter test drove a Nano recently, and this is is her perspective. She writes and I quote, "On the track, with one of the car's engineers offering encouragement from the passenger seat, it felt comfortable and surprisingly sturdy and spacious. The seats are set high off the road, allaying some people's fear that it would be like driving a go-cart. In a country where a family car must provide space for mothers-in-law, the car has vast legroom."
People who commented on her article are mostly Indian, and here is a sample of what they had to say..
"fairenbalanced wrote: another condescending piece of crap article about India tinged with jealousy by ms wax, who should be sent back to wherever she came from. comparing a car to a lawnmower, words like pride and self esteem thrown in. im sick of these condescending pricks. proud, esteem, you guys are proud of your troops."
" Bangal wrote: What a arrogant attitude! Half of the article devoted to bashing India's traffic. Did you forget traffic jams in LA, NY, Chicago and of your beloved Washington DC? If we have revamped Nano in here instead of the gas guzzler,we better we be better of economically and environmentally."
While the lines are drawn and the vote is divided, here is my personal take. I think the Nano is a great car - an engineering achievement at the cost at which is going to be sold. But frankly its going to lead to more chaos in the small towns. Any one who's tried to drive through towns like Saharanpur, Agra, Bayana or Nellore would probably understand what I am trying to say.
It is commendable for a company like Tata to come up with an affordable car for Indians, but what we also need are the roads to drive them on. Sadly, there seems to be no effort in that direction from the authorities. The Nano will sell regardless of what people say about it - but I can only see the situation on the street going from bad to worse.
Now... you can chew my head off too :D