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Tata small car - boon or curse?

Is the Tata 1 lac car a curse or a boon? Some thoughts -


  1. A 1 lac rupee car will only ensure more vehicles ply our roads. More cars - more pollution - more congestion? I end with a question mark for reasons mentioned below (see boon). certainly there will be a big need to get our parking policies in place (a good source of revenue for feeding in to better road safety)
  2. The car is said to be gearless (not sure if this is same as automatic transmission) - like kinetic honda - expect any one to start driving this car. Expect more accidents?



  1. I read it will do 70 miles (112 km) per gallon = 30km per litre.
  2. It won't be a fast car - in a way it becomes safer due to lesser chance of speeding.
  3. It will be a 4 seater (driver included) - we could finally see the end of a rickshaw coming up. The rickshaw was an economic need, a modified water pump once use by farmers and has poor safety / pollution record.
  4. Would people ditch their 2 wheelers - I am not sure (those who drive 2 wheelers only to cheekily get past congested traffic may stick to it). Those who buy 2 wheelers due to cost factors may be happy to consider a 1 lac rupee car. Those who are not happy about two wheelers being safe may choose this car as well. On balance I am hoping there is decline of two wheel drives.
  5. At 30km per litre - with speed restrictions - this may be the best personal vehicle on the city roads with regards pollution.
  6. If (a big if) with time (4-5 years) 2 wheelers and 3 wheelers decline - traffic will be more uniform = possibly less chaotic and despite being bigger in volume may flow better - leading to reduced congestion. Also noise pollution may be lower.
  7. Anyone who has driven an automatic will agree its safer to drive it as you don't have to multi-task with clutch, gear, accelerator - better control could mean our roads are safer (especailly at reduced speeds).
  8. In places like Mumbai, I will prefer this 1 lac rupeee car as a taxi rather than those old rusted Fiat taxi's.
So from hating the idea of a 1 lac car, I am coming to terms with it (presuming what I have read abut the car in press is correct).
I may have overlooked other advantages or dis-advantages but it seems like a boon in disguise to me.
madhava_prakash's picture

For a Cuase

Many a times on Indian Roads we a family carnival - husband riding a bajaj scoter, kid made to stand , wife sitting back and concerned about her hairs and all makeup. Add to this a wet road and rash bike riders. Recipe for disaster!!!!! Probably the one lack car can help us to travel safer. Also I personally I fell down the lane this might introduce more lane discipline. Government will be pushed to widen the roads, paint the lane demarcation. A blessing is disguise???
silkboard's picture

The wake up call we need

Stress on roads will reach such a level that we will all finally do something about it. Thats the positive way of looking at it. Just because we can't manage traffic, doesn't mean you wont let people buy cars. I seriously think that this car will lead to more meaningful decisions and actions on public transportation and traffic management. The only real con I see is overall high energy bill for the nation. That is assuming this car's buyers would be moving up from their two wheelers. Would that be the case though? BTW, I remember reading the news that Kinetic is supplying the gearbox for this car. This might be an automatic transmission car, but that wasn't clear from today's coverage or pictures. This thing could replace autos, a good thing to look forward to. Three wheelers have had an unfair edge in cutting lanes, something that autos make annoyingly good use of. Pros and cons apart, all said and done, this has been one exciting car launch.
silkboard's picture

Not automatic

Read it loud and clear in the papers today. It has 4 speed manual transmission, not automatic.
Vasanth's picture

Media Hype Around 1 Lakh Car

There is a lot of media hype and people discussing many things about this car. I have few points: 1. People are already getting used cars for less than 1 lakh. Even Maruthi Esteem is available for as low as 80,000 and 800s even as low as 35,000. People who badly need car can even now can go for these cars and they are not eager to get this 1 lakh car. 2. Threat to 2 wheeler market - Lot of medias are saying that there is a threat to 2 wheeler market - I don't think so. 2 wheelers are available for as low as 20,000 and second handle vehicles are available for as low as 5,000. Even worst 2 wheeler mileage is more than 25kmpl and most of the commuter bikes gives mileage of 70+ kmpl. Media is comparing high end bike price to low end Tata car which is nothing but impractical. Also, the ease a 2 wheeler for using is not available in a 4 wheeler such as getting a parking space and ease of maneovaribility. So, most of the people who do have cars use 2 wheeler for daily use and cars only for family use. It is very few who think that there is no safety in 2 wheeler use cars. In the recent survey that was conducted in this website also favoured ungeared scooters followed by motorbikes and last with only 4% of votes for small cars. It all tells the story. 3. Coming to the mileage of this car, earlier it was told 25, then it came to 22 and now it is 20 in most of the news papers. The newer MPFI Maruthi 800 gives 18kmpl and older carbeurator model was giving 16. 4. Safety issues - Wheelbase of this car(Nano) is smaller designed for city use for easier manoevorebility compared to even 800. People should stick with this car within city. Highspeed driving on the highway may be dangerous by seeing the wheelbase of the car. Should see how people will use this. 5. Threat to the environment - I don't think so. People especially in the metros are nowadays compare too many features. Although M800 is available for as low as 2lakh 50 thousand with A/C, still people stretch a further and go to either Alto or Santro. 800 market is very low in Metros. Only in tier 2 cities, people go for low end cars. Nano may be successful in these cities. So, we cannot expect roads to be full of Nanos - it will be just another car. Cars are already a threat to environment, if not Nano, some other.
asj's picture

To early to call

Lovely post Vasanth, you have come up with important observations. My views are that its too early to call which way this will go. With regards 'hype' - its to be expected and why not? You have a product with as many patents as claimed, you have to blow the trumpet. I agree they should have been more clear about mileage, transmission as previous reports were different. If 800s go as low as 35k, imagine what second hand Nano's will be going for in 5 years!! With Maruti and Bajaj hot on heels in the race, we will be sure to have 0% deals thrown all over. The difference will be that the first time buyer who did not want to shell out a lac for a second hand now will get a brand new car!! This is a long haul business model they have pitched, all I can say is 'let's watch this space for 5 years at least'. ASJ
City.Zen's picture

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