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If you pursue something, you will certainly get there. Nothing is impossible,” said Ratan Tata unveiling the much-awaited Tata Nano at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai. The city’s iconic Marine Drive and its gentle breeze formed the perfect backdrop for the occasion and there was not a soul who was not moved by the significance of the event.

The event was not just about what Tata Motors had achieved by offering a car at Rs 1 lakh (ex-factory) but was more a statement on what India had achieved. In Mr Tata’s words, his company had succeeded in giving the country an affordable car. “In some way, this is dedicated to the youth of India,” he said to a tumultuous applause. Appropriately, there were three Nanos that kept him company on stage.
If the appreciation from the audience was unabated, it was most palpable when the car’s price tag was announced. “We made a promise a couple of months ago and I am glad to say that we have kept that promise today,” said Mr Tata. At Rs 1 lakh for the base model, the Indian middle class’ dream of owning a four-wheeler had come true.

For Tata Motors, it had been an arduous journey for six years, with naysayers not giving the company too much of a chance to offer the consumer a car at a price as cheap as that. Mr Tata modestly said this product would “rewrite the evolution of transport”.

The audience comprised not just the head honchos from Bombay House, the Tatas’ headquarters, but dealers and suppliers were there as well. Some of the best names from advertising and the world of finance were also present.

Indian Hotels’ MD Raymond Bickson spoke fondly of how the Nano reminded him of his Fiat. “That was my first car and I used to drive it around as a student.

To my mind, the Nano is the result of the vision of the chairman who saw it through so many challenges.” There was probably a sense of deja vu for those who had seen the Maruti hit the Indian roads in the early ’80s. The Maruti 800 at that stage, according to Naina Lal Kidwai of HSBC, succeeded in transforming demand for cars in India.

Source: Pricewale.com

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rom drawing board to Singur and to Sanand before hitting the showrooms, it has been quite a journey for Tata Motors’ Nano, the world’s cheapest car. Here’s how the Rs one lakh car was born.

March 2003 : Ratan Tata discloses plans to launch the world’s cheapest car at Rs 1 lakh at Geneva Motor Show.

May 2006: Tata Motors announces setting up Nano manufacturing unit at Singur in West Bengal with initial investment of Rs 1000 crore spread over 700 acres; scaled up to 1,000 acres with total investment of Rs 1,500 crore.

Oct 2006 : Trinamool Congress opposes Tata Motors’ plans to set up factory at Singur, calls 12-hour state-wide bandh alleging forcible acquisition of farmers’ land.

Dec 2006: Violence mars Singur, five hurt in rubber- bullet firing. Mamata Banerjee goes on indefinite hunger strike, which was called off after 25 days following appeals from the Prime Minister and the President.

Jan 2007: Land puja offered at Singur car project site

Feb 2007: Police-mob clash at Singur.

Mar 2007: WBIDC signs a 90-year agreement with Tata Motors for Nano plant; farmer commits suicide; mob attacks proposed site; bomb explosion damages fencing

May 2007: Peace talks between state government and Trinamool Congress fail; one more farmer commits suicide

June 2007: CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu echoes Mamata Banerjee’s demand that only 600 acres is required for the Singur project instead of 1,000 acres, but state government rules out returning Singur project land to farmers

Nov 2007 : Central forces deployed at Singur after fresh protests

Jan 2008: Ratan Tata unveils Nano at Auto Expo in Delhi; Calcutta High Court orders Singur land acquisition legal

Mar 2008: Nano showcased at Geneva Motor Show

May 2008 : Supreme Court refuses to stay Nano roll-out from Singur

June 2008: Singur protesters break factory gate

Aug 2008: Talks between West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Mamata Banerjee, who demanded return of 400 acres to farmers, fail. Subsequently, Ratan Tata threatens to exit from Singur. It was followed by Trinamool Congress’ indefinite dharna. Factory workers stay away from work after assault.

Sep 2008: WB Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi intervenes. Agreement signed between state government and Trinamool Congress but it is shortlived. Mamata Banerjee holds rally demanding return of 300 acres of land. Security guards at Singur factory attacked.

Oct 2008: Ratan Tata formally announces pulling out of Nano plant from Singur and days later declares Sanand at Gujarat as the new manufacturing location for Nano at an investment of Rs 2,000 crore

Feb 2009: Tata Motors announces launch date of Nano to be March 23.

Mar 2009: Ratan Tata unveils European version of Nano with added features and complying with Euro V emission norms at the Geneva Motor Show; Nano makes commercial debut.

Source: Pricewale.com


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