The concept car …the word is too often heard in recent times . but what is it? A concept vehicle is a car prototype , that is built to showcase a concept, new styling, new technology and more, to gauge customer reaction towards it. Concept cars many times don’t go for further production considering the various reactions of the customers and the seriousness of its application. And even then those concept cars which make a foray into the real world , they are modified several times to maximize its practical utility.
Though many manufacturers had before attempted in building a concept car but the one which is worth mentioning and had made a place of its own in the history of car manufacturers is Henry Ford’s model t. comparing TATA Nano to Ford’s model T, Times of India comments-
On 10th January 2008, just 100 years after model T of Ford was built , TATA Motors unveiled its concept car , Nano , at 9th annual Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Commercially Nano was launched on 23rd march 2009, following which a booking period from 9th to 25th April, 2009, was kept and which generated more than 2,00,000 bookings. On 17th July 2009, TATA Motors handed over the keys of the world’s first TATA Nano to Ashok Vichare. Closely following in his wheels was 2nd runner up Ashish Balakrishnan."This raises the question: How have the Tata’s accomplished such a task? Pursuing this question a fascinating story unfolds that reminds one of Henry Ford's Model T that was built exactly one hundred years ago (September 1908). Ford wanted to make a car for the multitude, not for the elite, with the best material and the best design that the technology of his time could devise, and he wanted to make it, above all, at a price that was affordable. This is the example that Ratan Tata has followed with determination. When he announced the price of his car in an interview to the Financial Times during the Geneva Motor Show, his colleagues were 'aghast', but he had set his goal”. (Surendra Munshi15 September 2008, 12:00am IST. "LEADER ARTICLE: More Than Just A Nano — Edit Page — OPINION — The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Editorial/LEADER_ARTICLE_More_Than_Just_A_Nano
Positioned as the people’s car , it brought about a revolution in the automobile sector with a starting price of Rs 100,000, which is far cheaper than its main competitor, Maruti 800.TATA NANO received immediate media attention owing to its cheap acquisition price . The financial times reported-
"If ever there were a symbol of India’s ambitions to become a modern nation, it would surely be the Nano, the tiny car with the even tinier price-tag. A triumph of homegrown engineering, the $2,200 (€1,490, £1,186) Nano encapsulates the dream of millions of Indians groping for a shot at urban prosperity."( "/ Columnists / David Pilling — India hits bottleneck on way to prosperity". Ft.com. 2008-09-24. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e68ab572-8a3e-11dd-a76a-0000779fd18c.html)
Initially it was felt that would be the choice of bikers and the whole nation went tumultous on the above discussion, on whether bikers would be interested in shifting their preferences towards Nano? The bike manufaturers were intimidated by the different voices.. But then one month past the sales report says it all. Comparing the two would seem ridiculous as both would differ in their price, maintenance costs, and re-sale value. More –over the success of TATA NANO on roads is yet to be established and had a to go a long way. The target market for bikers are young teenagers , the mindset of whom resonate with the passion and the new found freedom . On the hindsight it can target buyers who are aiming for branded budget cars and are even looking at the second hand car as an alternative. Another potential target market can be the auto rickshaws which commute locally in the suburban areas.