Tata Nano: The World’s First Rs. 1 Lakh Car
On a rainy day in 2002, Ratan Tata, Chairman of India’s Tata Group, was driving to the airport in Bangalore. In front of him was a typical sight: an entire family on a two-wheel scooter. The father drove the scooter with a young child standing in front of him, and his wife held a small baby in back. Suddenly the scooter skidded and overturned, sending the family tumbling. Tata and his driver narrowly escaped running over the poor family.a
At that moment, Ratan Tata conceived
of a dream that would take five years and the help of a global network of 800 suppliers to realize: a car that was affordable by the masses of India. In a seemingly off-handed comment Tata mentioned to a reporter that the car would be priced at around Rs. 1 Lakh (approximately $2,200). Despite extreme difficulties in meeting this price point, and increases in both parts and commodity prices during its development, Tata upheld what he viewed as a promise to the Indian public: to produce a Rs. 1 Lakh car.
Tata Group and Tata Motors
The Tata Group was founded in 1868 by Jamsetji Tata and is one of India’s oldest and most revered companies. It is headquartered in Mumbai, India, and comprises 114 companies in 8 business sectors; it earned revenues of $72 billion in 2011. Tata Motors is one of the businesses within the Tata Group. It was established (as Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company, or TELCO) in 1945, and is South Asia’s largest auto manufacturer; it produces passenger cars, commercial vehicles, vans, and coaches.