• CHAPTER 1: THE BEGINNING
• CHAPTER 2: THE CHALLENGES
• CHAPTER 3: THE COST FRONTIER
• CHAPTER 4: FROM SINGUR TO SANAND
• CHAPTER 5: THE FIRST LOOK
• CHAPTER 6: THE WORLD REACTS
• CHAPTER 7: NANO IN A NUTSHELL
• CHAPTER 8: SUMMARY
A visionary businessman, caught up in the traffic of Bangalore, notices an entire family on a scooter and
thinks of creating a people’s car for the Indian market. Thereafter began a decade long journey for India’s
most powerful business house, one that would bring India on the map of world automobile industry.
His first doodle was to rebuild a car around the scooter.
The Rs. 1 lakh cost project was born of a casual comment Ratan Tata made at the Geneva Motor show in
2003 when a reporter who interviewed Mr. Tata reveled next day in the newspaper that Tata Motors’s next
agenda is to make a dream car worth $2500.
Reactions to the Announcement
Osamu Suzuki, Chairman of Suzuki, proclaimed that building such a car was not possible, nor would it be
safe, & it would be buried by the competition.
Among the rare few to differ with the crowd was Carlos Ghosn, who heads the Nissan-Renault combine.
The cost was the major hurdle thus, at first it was decided to make a three wheeler car without doors
and windows as an upgrade version of an auto-rickshaw.
Cost cutting was done by using lighter materials such as engineering plastics and aerospace
adhesives instead of using welding.
Other challenges were related to finding suitable design solution in terms of looks and ergonomics,
engineering packages, time constraints, staff work load, confidence, urgency and exhaustion level of
There was only one supplier “General Electric” ready to sell spares at monopolistic prices.
As per G.O.I regulations BHARAT STAGE-4 engine had to be used in NANO which was much
expensive then traditional BHARAT STAGE-3 engine.
Important concerns were product positioning, land acquisition for plant with nearby resources and to
pass the safety car crash test while using cost cutting materials.
• The government of West Bengal persuaded more than 10,000 peasants in Singur to accept
compensation for 1000 acres of farmland on which the Nano plant would be built. However, almost
right from the start, as many as 2000 peasants refused the compensation, and demanded their land
• Farmers complained that the state communist government forcibly took their land to give to Tata.
With the help of the opposition parties, peasants opposed to the land acquisition filed petitions in
court. In January 2006,Calcutta High Court threw out all the complaints, ruling that there was “no
violation of the Land Acquisition Act or any other regulation” by the West Bengal government in
acquiring the land.
• When legal avenues were shut, Singur peasants took to the streets, organising daily protests and
roughing up workers employed at the Nano factory. As the protesters grew more menacing, Ratan
Tata was forced to acknowledge the possibility of never seeing a single Nano roll off the plant in
• While Tata was contemplating the future of his pet project, one of the most audacious projects in the
history of Tata Motors, Narendra Modi – the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujrat approached
him and promised to provide all support needed for Tata to move the plant form Singur to Sanand.
Finally, Tata decided to move to Sanand and the first Nano rolled off the assembly lines at Sanand
The naming of the nano was no small task. The process began in early 2007,a year before unveiling when
the creative team of the nano at Tata design studios Pune sent list 0f 40 names including names like Nio,
Inca, Mycar, Eon, Era ,Atom, e.t.c. to Bombay house, the Tata headquarters in Mumbai. Finally keeping in
view the compact design the Tag “NANO "was given to the family car by Ratan Tata.
Seven show cars were manufactured for the Delhi unveiling, five for the show itself and two as backup.
These special Nanos did not roll off an assembly line; they were crafted at Tata Motors Engineering
Research Centre in Pune.
The unveiling was as much Ratan Tata’s baby as the star of the show, the Nano. “He had it
choreographed down to the last detail”. Ratan Tata drove his dream to the centre stage at the Delhi Auto
Expo on 10th January 2008. The crowd attendance was a record for the event around 180,000 people. The
unveiling started with a pre-recorded 11 minutes message from Ratan Tata that was projected on a giant
screen, the presentation covered variety of subjects like innovation, the first manned flight, his quest for
an affordable and safe transport and the evolution of Tata Nano.
o Magnanimous response to the NANO launched at the Delhi Expo, on January 10, 2008.
o Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, Bal Thackerey, & Business Bosses & Autombile Industry Executives
from around the world were receptive to the idea of the Nano.
o Carlos Ghosn, Head of Nissan-Renault combine, praised Tata motors and the product, coining the
term ‘frugal engineering’.
o Osamu Suzuki, Chairman of Suzuki Motor Foundation, did a lot of Tata-bashing, to which Tatas
decided not to respond and let the car speak for itself after its display and lauch.
o Hyundai announced a $3200 car, Renault-Nissan plans to launch its own low cost car, General motors
along with China’s Wuling Automotive started planning on ultra low cost cars.
o Bajaj Auto decided to launch RE-60 a 4 seater compact car under price tag of 1.5 lakhs INR.
o Two wheeler prices slashed by companies such as Hero moto corp., Honda, TVS, etc.
• 37 patent applications & 31 design applications.
• ENGINE:624cc,35bhp,developed by German company. Bosch. It has EMS(engine management system),
with top speed of 105kmph, BS-4 and meets all regulatory norms on emission in India.
• ENGINE LAYOUT: Located under the rear seats, patented design, freeing up more cabin space. (21%
more than Maruti-800).
• DASHBOARD, MIRROR, FUEL INLET & WIPER: Panel has a speedometer, odometer, & a Digital fuel
gauge, smooth round shape for safety & and cubby holes for storage. Single piece wiper, fuel filler cap
below the nose.
• BODY: Lightweight, sheet metal body, intrusion resistant doors, & space in front to hold a tyre, car is
stronger than a conventional car due to its unique engineering.
• WHEELS: Made of low cost alloy, three lugs instead of the traditional four, and tubeless tyres. Small &
light with improved maneuverability.
• INTERIORS: Plentiful space, safety devise to absorb the impact of a side collision, corrosive-preventive
• PRICE AND VARIANTS: There are three variants of the Nano-the standard, the CX and the LX and their
price ranges from Rs 0.12 million to Rs 0.18 million. The three model differ on the basis of comfort and
convenience, interior and exterior, and safety and security.
• DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT: The Nano is 3.1 metres in length, 1.5 metres in width and1.6 metres in
height. It has a net weight of 600kgs with a ground clearance of just 7.1 inches.
• PERFORMANCE: 35 bhp engine power, can accelerate to 60kmph from a standing start in eight
seconds. It has a fuel efficiency of 23.6 kmpl as certified by company.
• SAFETY: Having passed the roll-over test and offset impact. It has a tubeless tyres, central locking,
reinforced passenger compartment, crumble zones and intrusion-resistant doors.
• Once upon a time there was a dream- born of the vision of Ratan Tata to enable middle-class Indians
to have safe and affordable means of personal mobility. This book tells the story of how that dream
was realised. This is the story of the Nano, the Rs 1 Lakh wonder.
• As Ratan Tata said “ A promise is a promise”, the Tata Motors delivered Nano to the nation despite
of cost, political, resources constraints and cut throat competition.
• This book depicts the story of how Tata Motors, the company behind the project, overcame the
limitations imposed by conventional; technology and traditional methods of manufacturing to craft a
motor car that has changed the automobile world.
• This book gives two important lessons:
“results are rewarded efforts aren’t”
“if one has a belief in himself and his ideas he will strive to success no matter what the world says”
SMALL WONDER- the making of Nano by Philip Chacko, Christabelle Noronha and Sujata Agarwal.
- Foreword by Ravi Kant V.C Tata Motors.