Tata's Nano Goes to U.S.A. and EU. Again. Maybe

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
tata s nano goes to u s a and eu again maybe

Tata reiterated its threat to invest the the U.S. and Europe with their bargain-basement Nano car. At an event held today in Toyko, Tata’s Vice Chairman Ravi Kant said that “Tata Motors now plans to take it forward to the developed markets in Europe and in the U.S.,” The Nikkei [sub] reports. “Now plans?”

Tata had announced plans for Europe in 2008 (nothing happened). Mr Kant himself said in the beginning of the year that “we also recognize there is a market (for the Nano) not only in developing countries, but possibly in the developed countries.” (Sound familiar? He must have a stump speech.) Again, nothing happened. Nightmare scenarios of Tata and BYD flooding the U.S. and “blow up the distribution chain” by selling cars via “warehouse stores or electronics stores” made the rounds. Nothing happened. Dealers continue to die like dinosaurs without the help of cheap Indian or Chinese cars. Meanwhile, Tata struggled with getting the Nano produced in India, and in China, the sheen is off BYD’s halo.

Major barrier to entry: Tough regulations in Europe and the U.S. In Europe, a car must be EU certified before you can sell it. In the U.S., you self-certify, but woe is you if NHTSA buys a car at a dealer and it’s not within spec. Might as well close down.

When Kant announced the impending arrival of the Nano at U.S. shores last January, he said that “for the United States we need a car which has a larger engine and we need additional crash test modifications and we are in the process of doing it.” Today, he said in Tokyo: “The car we are going to be making for Europe meets European regulations.” Sound familiar? European tests are demanding. Guess where most applicants from low cost countries fail? In the crash with pedestrian dept.

While Western companies struggle with building low cost cars that emerging markets demand, producers of low cost cars in emerging markets struggle with their entry into overdeveloped and saturated markets.

Join the conversation
  • Charly Charly on Oct 26, 2010

    In the US and Europe the Nano will compete with second hand cars and loose. It would also loose in India if Japan could exports it second hand cars there but it can't. ps. Do they fail the pedestrian crash test department because most of those cars are old models of European cars who are updated and decontented or is the test really that much harder?

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Oct 26, 2010

    The EU pedestrian protection test is tough

  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that