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Nano shows the way for global-local car

The world's cheapest car Tata Nano showcased India low cost manufacturing prowess and now everybody else in the automotive world is following it, reports Sumant Banerji.

autos Updated: Jan 05, 2010 22:41 IST
Sumant Banerji

The world's cheapest car Tata Nano showcased India low cost manufacturing prowess and now everybody else in the automotive world is following it.

Industry majors like Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Suzuki and Skoda are all lining up to tap the low cost production capabilities of India and planning exclusive "made in India for the world" cars in the near future. But it is no more a coincidence that all of this is happening almost at the same time, right after Nano.

With its first small car set to roll out in March, world's third largest carmaker Volkswagen said it will need to go smaller than the Polo to make a profound impact in the domestic market. More importantly, the company says a smaller, cheaper car can be made only in India.

"We cannot make a car at the price point of a Nano, but we will need to go below the Polo," said Joechm Heizmann, member, board of managment, Volkswagen. "We have not decided on that car yet and are looking at various solutions, but such a car can only be manufactured competitively in India."

VW's group cousin Skoda, which has been in India for a much longer time can only nod in agreement. "We are looking at a car smaller than the Fabia and have the A00 project in Europe that may provide some answers," said Reinhard Fleger, member, board of directors, Skoda. "We may also look at a project exclusively for India utilising the low cost of manufacturing here."

Country cousins Toyota and Honda's small car concepts that were showcased at the New Delhi Auto Expo on Tuesday are also developed with India as the lead country.