Nano, the wheels that millions of Indians have been waiting to drive, hit the roads and waved goodbye to Tata Motors’ enduring image as a truckmaker.
Although the hatchback Indica, launched in December 1998, helped clear the good-for-only-trucks air surrounding Tata, it was the Nano – the sub-USD 2,500 car – that made the global auto industry stand up and take notice of the company that was set up in 1945 to manufacture locomotives.
In 1954, Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co Ltd began manufacturing medium commercial vehicles along with Daimler Benz A.G of West Germany.
The Nano, unveiled at the ninth Auto Expo in New Delhi in 2008, is possibly the world’s most anticipated car since the original people’s car Ford Model T.
"The most talked-about car at the Detroit auto show (2008) is a car that isn’t here and isn’t intended to ever be sold in US showrooms," wrote the ‘USA Today’ after the Nano was unveiled.
Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said that he plans to export an upgraded version of the Nano to eastern and western Europe, the UK and possibly to the US as well.