The Enigma

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Small Wonder

As the clock ticks and the date draws closer, excitement is in air and no one can wait for Ratan Tata to pull the sheets off his dream project - The One Lakh Rupee Car. Much has been talked about the car and the dream of Ratan Tata across newspapers, TV, blogs and the anticipations knew no bounds. The auto industry in India is abuzz with so much of activity of late, and the one lakh car could only mean it getting spicier and spicier. The choice of models, price points, companies and configurations could only mean tougher sales, but challenging opportunities.

Coming back to the One Lakh car by Tata Motors, there have been innumerable debates on what its effects on the Indian passenger and traffic would be. I shall keep those for another day though. The most fascinating thing to watch out for in the One Lakh Car would be the magnitude of its effect on the Indian Consumer. Will it be another Maruti 800? It is being touted as the "People's Car", and there has been a reported slump in bike sales in the previous quarters. To me, that is an indication that the market is ready to lap up a car that is priced marginally above the bikes and they are ready to forego bikes for this one car, if it delivers on what it promises to be.

Speculations are rife about the design of the car. The implications of the car being rear engine, the expected mileage etc etc have been beaten to death. Autocrust gives a neat detail of what the car is about here, and also carries an image that looks authentic. The implications of the car on the Tatas shares would be another interesting thing to track. The Tatas are a group that shall be unfazed through anything that happens to the car though. But, Ratan Tata could turn a Dhirubhai Ambani with this by giving the common man affordability for a car. He might just provide a choice to put in the money Ambani made the common man save.

The advantage Tata carries is his ease of operations, distribution, marketing and sales because of the gargantuan group that he has. The production plans for the car are impressive, and there needs to be nothing said about Tatas ability to sell and the acceptability they enjoy in the country.

With the car made and done, comes the question of making it closer to the public. People's Car would make it sound cheesy, and Janta or something similar would make it sound like Laloo has made it, not that he cant make cars but lets keep him to the trains for now. Speculation is one for the name too, and it remains to be seen what it shall be called. In fact, even if it would be named something, I feel people will still call it the One Lakh Car for a few months to come! With the price at one lakh, it could as well be called IndiOne, like the hotel venture of Tatas.

The One Lakh car obviously means an entirely new market, an entirely new segment of customers who could be in newer geographies, definitely newer social segments where the car marketing never treaded into. That would mean Tata has to come up with a strong, yet economically feasible marketing plan. The first step would be through proper and prompt advertising. Rediffusion has already bagged the contract, and it remains to be seen what they do of it. Another important aspect would be the effect this one lakh wonder could have on other Tata offerings like Indica, Indigo etc...

All said and done, this is the most-waited unveiling of any product in the country in the recent years. And if you thought, this was the only car in this range, think again and read this.

More action is slated at the Auto Expo 2008, Delhi to be kicked off on the 10th of January 2008 at Pragati Maida, Delhi. Do look at Maruti's soon to be launched concepts - The Swift Sedan and The A Star. And people, automobiles and Auto Expo is not all about cars, and it could be a surprise, shock or just a piece of news but there's going to be a 1.68L cycle.

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At January 10, 2008 12:36 AM, Blogger Prasoon said...

Lemme just hope that its not the traffic woes this car will result in. If he mileage is high enough or lets say decent, the traffic is bound to rise - that imminent. :|


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