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June 6th, 2009

Could There Ever Be a Market for the Nano?



Indian automaker Tata Motors announced plans to introduce their mini-auto, the “Nano”, to Americans by 2011. The car, “designed to be cheap, simplistic transportation for the working classes of India,” is expected to be introduced to Europeans within a similar timeframe.

The vehicle, which retails for $2,300 in India, is expected to cost significantly more in the states due to safety, style, and fuel standards.

Will this minute passenger car ever catch on here in the states?

Taking into account the recent trends in the automotive industry, one could argue that the Nano has a fighting chance to win over American consumers. Thanks to pressure from the White House, General Motors will likely emerge from bankruptcy as an automaker dedicated to manufacturing much smaller, economical, and more fuel-efficient vehicles than what we’re used to seeing.

Moreover, the recent introduction of such vehicles like the Mini Cooper and the Smart Car will make the Nano’s small frame and odd shape seem a lot less strange to Americans in 2011, than if it was introduced to the market some three years ago.

Will the Nano ever catch on with American consumers?

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3 Responses to “Could There Ever Be a Market for the Nano?”

  1. Mickey Says: June 8th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    The marketing of this vehicle will make or break the success. Think about this, MINI Coopers are a status symbol due the close association with BMW. The Smart Cart became all the rage when gas was cost prohibitive to run SUVs and V8 sports cars.

    The bottom line is that success is built on brand recognition. If you/your brand can distinguish yourself from a crowded pack of products that basically offer the same thing then sales will increase and success will coincide. But if you struggle to do that, the $2300 price tag on a Tata Nano may not be as attractive.

    Think about the Ipod. There are thousands of products that hold music. Some may even do it better but Apple has had resurgence as a company due to redefining their brand. It probably doesn’t hurt to be playing in the ever-changing world of consumption electronics. But this holds true regardless of product. Before 10yrs ago, Apple probably didn’t advertise on TV. If they did, it wasn’t memorable.

    The same can be said for GEICO. They aren’t the biggest or the best. In fact, in some instances they get beat on price which is their crutch. BUT, consumers are more apt to check them out due to the Lizard, the Caveman, the money stack and the “I got some terrible news but I just saved 15% on
    my car insurance” routine. It is all about recognition. They, perhaps better than anyone else, are constantly redefining their brand.

  2. Tim Manni Says: June 8th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Hey Mick,

    Good hearing from you again. You make some great points. You tapped into my original concern over the Nano and it’s potential for success in the U.S. As far as name and brand recognition, this will not only be a new brand, but it’s also an Indian company. Will Americans be willing to purchase an Indian automobile? Americans have had no trouble buying foreign vehicles — our domestic brands are so tainted and poorly run that two just filed for bankruptcy — but, as you pointed out, there’s no association here in the states with Indian products, and furthermore no association India and product reliability.

    That $2,300 price tag will rise likely to somewhere under $10K. But will low cost be enough to attract buyers? Well as you say, without any brand recognition they don’t stand a chance and I’d tend to agree. Beyond brand recognition though, India is going to have to fight for some recognition itself. Unlike Japan, India isn’t known for it’s industrial prowess, so right there, there’s no real motivation for Americans to buy besides the price tag.

    Thanks for commenting, always appreciated,

  3. Using A Trade Show Video At Your Next Trade Show | Marketing Segmentation Says: June 12th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    [...] Could There Ever Be a Market for the Nano? | HSH Financial News Blog [...]

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