Tata has announced that it is stopping the production of India’s cheapest car Nano due to a huge dip in sales. It seems that India’s only middle-class friendly car is not actually loved by middle-income families. Ratan Tata’s ambitious dream remains unfulfilled, even though his company did its best to attract middle-income families by labelling Nano as ‘India’s car’. Due to zero exports in June this year and 25 exports in the same time last year, the company has been left with no option except to quit production. So, who should we blame for this? The company or Ratan Tata or the Indian middle-class?
If we believe this Quora thread, Ratan Tata’s project didn’t adopt the right marketing strategy, despite having the honest intention of making a car that a lower income family could afford. Their branding strategy was horrible. The company branded itself as a cheap car, and while they didn’t compromise on quality, people still didn’t show an interest because it became a matter of prestige. Instead, they opted for rival products at a higher price.
From the beginning, the Nano became part of an unnecessary controversy created for political propaganda. Right before it started production in West Bengal with permission from the Communist government, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress began protesting against it.
The protest in Singur was supposed to protect the farmers who would lose their land because of the Tata factory. The proposed factory had acquired 1000 acres of fertile land which would leave thousands of farmers without a source of livelihood. The farmers knew that they would not get work in the factory since they would be classified as unskilled labour. Additionally, most of the work in the factory would be automated.
The rape and murder of Tapasi Malik added fuel to the protest and finally, Tata decided to move the location of the factory to Sanand in Gujarat.
The unfortunate part is that despite the success of the protest, the farmers still suffered. The only person who benefitted from it was Mamata Banerjee. After coming to power in West Bengal, she promised to return 400 acres of land to the farmers. It took almost six years, but the land was ultimately returned. However, many farmers are still unable to cultivate land returned to them because they can no longer tell where their portion of land begins and ends.