It was a 500-odd Nano team at the Engineering Research Centre (ERC) at Tata Motors' Pune plant that was behind Rata Tata's dream: an all-weather affordable car for Indian families.
"It's a car that made history," the exclusive website for Nano says, introducing the team behind the iconic car led by engineer Girish Wagh.
"It was an incredibly tough journey - filled with challenges, questions, detours and self-doubts. But the Nano team developed and delivered a car that exceeds the world's expectations beyond their dreams," says Wagh.
It all started in 2003, when Tata asked a four-member Tata Motors team to start work on a new project. "The brief was very fluid," the website says.
Nikhil A. Jadhav, industrial designer at INCAT - a Tata group engineering and designing firm - says it began as an advance engineering project.
"The idea was to try and create a very low cost transportation with four wheels; it was not even defined as a car," said Jadhav, who has been working on the project since inception.
The Nano design team looked at every alternative to construct the vehicle within the strict price constraints. There were debates on measures to bring down the costs: whether plastics could be used instead of metal, whether a low powered engine would suffice, or even whether doors were necessary.
As the Nano website says: "One question was a consistent driving factor: What is the bare minimum a customer will accept."
According to Jadhav, the team also looked at other concepts such as soft doors in vinyl with plastic windows, two big doors, or a bar in place of doors. "But all these were turned down by Mr. Tata, he was very clear that it had to be a complete car," he added.
As if in support of this, Tata said at the press conference in Mumbai on Monday: "All we set out to do is to move Indian families at an affordable price. It is serendipitous in some manner that things have worked out this way."
The original thought was to have a conventional front engine and a front wheel drive. But the design team threw conventions to the wind, keeping a rear engine with front wheel drive.
"It made the car more low-cost, more efficient and more compact ," said assistant general manager of vehicle integration at Tata Motors' research Centre Abhay Deshpande.