Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Other Nano

An editorial in the New York Times --

What do a ’73 Volkswagen Bug, a navigation system on a new Jaguar and a brand new Nano sedan have in common? Two things: they cost about $2,500 and involve the Indian entrepreneur Ratan Tata.

Mr. Tata is chairman of the Tata Group and currently the leading bidder to buy Jaguar from the Ford Motor Company. Last Thursday, he unveiled the world’s cheapest car — a cute five-door hatchback called Nano that’s powered by two cylinders in back, capable of running at 75 miles an hour and costing about $2,500. Mr. Tata hopes to sell a million Nanos a year in India and to expand to other developing countries. He claims the car meets European emission standards and gets a hybridlike 50 miles to the gallon.

Given the gas-guzzling behemoths that so many of us in the West feel entitled to, it would seem hypocritical to begrudge people in poor countries an affordable car. Much like the hypocrisy of the dealers who have resisted Tata’s bid for Jaguar on the grounds that Indian ownership would erode the brand’s prestige.

The sad fact is that the world has changed since Americans celebrated the egalitarian breakthrough of the Ford Model T. We know now that gas-driven automobiles do terrible damage to the environment, and the notion of loosing millions upon millions of new carbon emitters on our planet is not something to celebrate.

So while we admire Mr. Tata’s business and engineering acumen in creating the Nano, we ardently wish that he would focus his talents elsewhere: creating transportation that is both affordable and doesn’t emit ever more greenhouse gases. That would be something for the whole world to celebrate and buy.

1 comment:

Leo 009 said...

RATAN TATA is to applauded first.He has made transportation available even to lower middle class people.
The same way Dr.Gopinath, made flying affordable to comman man, thro his AIR DECCAN.
Because of this prices of flying fell down considerably.
Same way let the Automobile makers India, who are looting the public by unquestioned high pricing, must be made to revise their policy.
Foreign Cars makers are looting the public in India by High Pricing, Introducing Obsolete Models which are not being sold in their countries.
Govt has failed in their policy to improve in infrastructure for several decades in India.Why blame Mr.TATA for this. He is a Businessman & wants to Improve the Travel conditions in India.Istead of unsafe Two wheeler,The user selects NANO, which is affordable & Safe for him.
Let the Politicians,Beaurecrats etc who travel several times Abroad Correct the situation.Why have they been sleeping SO LONG?
Last but not least Even USA has failed miserably to Improve Public Transportation.This has increased Pollution. Everybody knows the reason.
It has become a style for every one to blame India's Infrastructure.Those who critcise,let them come to India & set right matter,fighting thro their way.