Saturday, March 8, 2008

Competition to nano? Toyota IQ : Small Car

While not a threat to Tata Nano in terms of price, Toyota's new mini-car concept, the IQ, was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The IQ is only 2.98 m long which makes it about a foot longer than the Smart For Two. While the Smart is strictly a two seater, the Japanese mini is advertised as a 3+1 seater. That means there are two seats that can be inhabited by adults in the front.

The asymmetrical dashboard design allows the front passenger seat to be pulled forward, allowing another adult and potentially a child to sit in the back hence the + 1. No information is available about what kind of drivetrain the car might include other than it's location at the front of the car. The IQ may go on sale in Europe as early as 2009 and would likely have an engine in the 1.0L range.

Tata Nano ready to explore licensed manufacturing route to meet demand

Speaking to a few Indian journalists here at the ongoing 78th Geneva Motor Show, on the sidelines of the unveiling function for the Tata Nano, Mr Ratan Tata said, “Every decision must be based on the demand for the car. If we cannot meet it, we will look at licensed manufacturing.”

In addition to compressing the gestation time for the launch of the Nano in overseas markets, licence manufacturing the car in important geographies will also go on to reduce costs involved in sourcing and logistics.

Speaking about the Nano’s plans for the domestic market, Mr Tata said that the company was considering the idea of distributed manufacturing for the Nano, where ‘easy-to-assemble kits’ can be sold to local entrepreneurs who can then assemble and sell the car at their end in pre-defined locations.

Tata Nano packs in crowds at Geneva Motor Show

Although the car will never be offered for sale in the Europe, the Tata Nano has proved to be among the biggest draw at the Geneva Motor Show.
Just minutes after the unveiling of the Nano at the Geneva Motor Show, Prodrive boss and now CEO of Aston Martin David Richards pumped Tata Motors MD Ravi Kant’s hand warmly saying, “there are so many beautiful cars around but you guys have stolen the show.” A visibly thrilled Kant replied, “Coming from you that’s a huge compliment.”