Monday, March 23, 2009

World's Cheapest Car

The Tata Nano is finally a reality.

The company announced today that orders are being taken, with delivery set for July. The amazing thing of all this is that the car will cost 100,000 rupees, which is just under $2,000. It's been a little over a year since I first heard of the Nano when I was at the Art Center Summit. At the time I think the cost being discussed was $2,500 to buy a Nano, so to see it come out $500 cheaper is absolutely amazing given the fact that the decrease is 20% of what it was expected to cost at the time. Try to imagine seeing one of the big three introduce a prototype, then be able to reduce cost by that rate....don't hold your breath.

Regardless of the lowered cost, producing a car for $2,000 is certainly no easy feat, so kudos to the Tata team. Although the Rally Fighter is much different from the Nano in a mulititude of ways (mainly styling of course), the cars and the company philosophies have similarities.

- The Tata team was able to focus on what was important to their market and deliver everything they want and nothing they don't need, much like we at LM are trying to accomplish.

- They kept the vehicle lightweight by being open minded to what materials would be used for specific areas of the car.

- They used simple design and simple manufacturing methods to build the cars.

- They "right sized" the vehicle for the task at hand.

That which those in the market for the Rally Fighter and the Nano want from their vehicle differ greatly, but the beauty in these designs will again be the ability to listen to the local customer BEFORE the car goes into production to deliver what they want. Tata has done it in the case of the Nano, and we will continue to do it as we progress toward production of the Rally Fighter.

So there you have it, a common thread amongst two vehicles cut from different cloth. Whether it be Mumbai or Massachusetts...

Go Local!

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