Power to the People’s Car

Power to the People’s Car
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First Published: Sat, Jan 19 2008. 12 31 AM IST

Ratan Tata: All those in favour of the Nano, say aye.
Ratan Tata: All those in favour of the Nano, say aye.
Updated: Sat, Jan 19 2008. 12 31 AM IST
Ratan Tata might feel less lonely when he hears this: My father wants to buy a Nano.
Growing up, I don’t remember ever riding a motorcycle with my family of four. We always had a car. In short, we were certainly not the type of Indian family who inspired Tata to make a “people’s car”.
Ratan Tata: All those in favour of the Nano, say aye.
But on 10 January, when Tata unveiled the Nano, it was love at first sight for my father.
And a few hours later, when Hyundai Motor’s managing director H.S. Lheem confidently said on television that the new car wouldn’t give his company any competition, I wanted to alert him that my father was already talking about ditching his Getz for a Nano.
So why does my father want the Nano? Simple. He’d like it for that 10 minute self-drive to the venue of his morning walk. Its dinky size means it will be easy to drive and easy to reverse into those nearly non-existent parking spots when the city sleeps.
But Tata’s done his homework; he already knows this is likely to happen.
In an interview with The Times of India, he said the small car was bound to cannibalize some of the existing low-end cars. And that includes the Indica.
Tata also told TOI he was going through a lonely phase because everyone was taking potshots at the car. I can only respond with my father’s favourite Rudyard Kipling quote: “Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne, He travels fastest who travels alone.”
As for the congestion issue, yes, we should be up in arms.
We should rage against the four-wheel giants that ferry just one individual to and from work every day. Argue with the parents who don’t believe in carpools. We should stage a morcha against the people who are responsible for the abysmal condition of our public transport today. We should arrest the men who keep digging my city’s freshly paved roads. We should rebel against the decade-old Fiat taxis and the diesel fumes from the autorickshaws that ply our streets. Yes, we could tell Tata to do something about those trucks too.
But why rail against the new car? It hasn’t even claimed any government subsidies that would otherwise have gone into improving our public transport. Its only “fault” as far as I can see, is that it has been named after the iPod variant.
And those of you who want to stop whining and have some fun with the new car can log on to www.tatapeoplescar.com and design your own Nano.
Write to lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, Jan 19 2008. 12 31 AM IST
More Topics: Ratan Tata | Nano | Car | Lounge |