Want To Start Your Own Little Car Factory?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

I’m thinking about opening a car factory. A really small one. Tata would sell me their Nano in kit form. I’d have it assembled (using cheap Chinese labor, of course) and sell it as the Bertel car. Entirely possible. Tata may allow small car assemblers to put together its Nano and sell it under their own brand, India’s Business Standard reports via Reuters.

Tata began selling the Nano, supposedly the world’s cheapest car, this July, but so far it hasn’t been flying off the shelves, so to speak. Only 3000 were sold this October. Supposedly, it is production delays that are holding things up. Some of the cars went up in flames.

Tata is building a factory for the Nano that has an annual capacity of 250,000 units. It is expected to be ready by the end of March. Until then, it is making the Nano in smaller numbers at an existing plant.

Vice Chairman Ravi Kant said that Tata Motors might allow assemblers to set up micro-assembly sites. They can give it their own pet name. “We call it Nano, they don’t have to,” said Kant.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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4 of 24 comments
  • Lokkii Lokkii on Nov 03, 2009

    Bertel - I'm in if you'll agree to a few suggestions: 1. We dump the petrol motor and replace it with batteries and an electric motor - don't worry much about range... that's not an issue. 2. We seek American government funding for the start-up (see Fisker) because it's a 'green project'. Note that we may have to agree to put Al Gore on the board. See the news for details there. 3. We will build in Detroit. Plenty of empty car factory space around there, and we can also get funding for labor costs from agencies promoting employment opportunities for inner city residents. We will need some staffers who can do good power point presentations, and one talkative engineer. Not much more in the way of management necessary as I'm not too worried about actually building any cars. We can draw salaries as directors of the company. We can have loses for 5 years before we have any tax problems, so in 5 years, we'll have to think of something new.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Nov 03, 2009

    Build kit cars - but kit cars with good looks of your own choosing i.e. no more Gazelle and those abominations based on the 80s Camaro. ALL sorts of rules that won't apply to your product if you open your business in the right state. Have a friend building very WELL done kits of pleasing cars with modern drivetrains. Capable of being driven every day.

  • Johnster Johnster on Nov 03, 2009

    If you were going to start your own little car factory wouldn't you want to build something more fun than a Tata? Maybe something reminiscent of those Lotus 7/Caterham roadsters? You could import the kits from England and build them here. Perhaps with the engine of your choice? Flashpoint has an engine that would work better in a roadster than a Tata.

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Nov 03, 2009

    Put the factory in Latin America and you probably will make money. China and India get most of the attention, but Latin America is the fastest growing automotive market.