Last week, Indian automobile industry took a major step. Tata Motors, one of the companies in the revered Tata conglomerate unveiled “Nano” – the long talked about 1 lakh car (1 lakh = 100,000 and 1 lakh rupees = $2500 US). This was a dream come true for Ratan Tata – Chairman of Tata Motors.
It was a proud moment for all Indians including me. Someone had pursued his dream, in spite of all the naysayers who said that a car could not be built at such a price point. He persevered, motivated his team to create something what others called unachievable and succeeded. That is the hallmark of a true leader. He had two important criteria that he would not compromise on – the car had to look attractive and had to meet safety standards. It sure looks cute if you ask me – looks something very much like the smart car popular in Europe.
There are some very valid concerns in the general public around this announcement – impact on already congested Indian roads and the impact on increasing pollution. But let this not take away from what was achieved and how one man persevered to make his dream come true.
To me this car is going to make millions of people in rural India (where majority live) achieve their dream of owning a basic transport. Mr. Tata has changed the rules of the game needed to sell into this market segment. This is going to give a major boost to industries such as car repairs, car accessories, car parts etc. in rural India. This in turn will create more jobs and this can have nothing but a positive impact to the Indian economy.
This creation has more impact in revolutionizing the transport industry than any other product that I know. Oh by the way, remember how much hoopla was created in the US around the product codenamed Ginger what is now a failed product called Segway.
Mr. Tata, you have made a billion people proud last week. I hope that this turns to be the tipping point that makes more entrepreneurs worldwide – not just India – to believe in themselves, dream higher, persevere and succeed. I hope this car achieves market success and this becomes a tipping point that also forces the corrupt Indian politicians to wake up and fix the infrastructure problem that India desperately needs.