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'Good afternoon to Mamata'

March 23, 2009 18:59 IST

Even as the much-awaited car -- and let's be truthful, most of us care about its price, not its size - was finally launched, there was added side-benefit; we got to see head honcho and the man who dreamed of the Nano, Ratan Tata, let his wit roll.

Here are some examples of what Tata, and some other people, had to say about the Nano launch.

"My statement to Mamata Banerjee is, 'Good afternoon!" That was Ratan Tata's reply, when asked what he would tell Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who forced the Nano out of Singur in West Bengal. The Tata Group chairman was addressing a press conference during the launch of the Tata Nano in Mumbai on Monday.

When asked how long would one have to wait for the car after booking it, he said: "It's like waiting for a beautiful woman. If the wait is too long, the woman may get too fat or not be as beautiful. . . ," sending the entire gathering into raptures.

"Today is another day in the journey of the Nano," said Tata in answer to a query. "From today onwards, the product will be available in the showrooms. . . We hope this day we will usher in a new form of transport."

"I don't rule out anything or necessarily commit," said Tata, when asked if he still would set up a Nano plant at Singur (West Bengal) from where the company was forced out due to political opposition last year.

"Personally, to say the least, I feel very excited that we were able to go to the last mile to implement Plan B and launch the vehicle in March this year instead of December (this year) or January (next year)," he said.

"We are at the gates offering a new form of transportation to the people of India, and later I hope other markets as well," he said.

"There have been tremendous aberrations in the cost of steel, the cost of technology used, etcetera, and we could again have taken a view that we would revise the price, but we have kept the price the same," he added.

"It's often asked whether this project is going to be an act of philanthropy which I assure you it will not," Tata said.

"I just hope the dream that we've all had and we've worked so hard for proves itself to be the kind of product that we would like it to be," he added.

"I think, driven mainly by the change in demand that we see elsewhere in the world, we suddenly felt we had a product that could be of considerable interest as a low-cost product in western Europe, eastern Europe, the United Kingdom and even the United States," he said.

"I am very satisfied and excited about this launch today and the Nano is not for my ego trip. . . certainly, not an ego trip at all," he said.

"Had not the Opposition forced Tata Motors to close down its plant at Singur, the car would have rolled out from Kolkata and not Mumbai," West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said, regretting that the Nano had to exit West Bengal.

"It (The Nano) definitely is a major milestone in the mobility paradigm for India and perhaps the world," Dilip Chenoy, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers director general, said reacting to the much-awaited launch of the Nano.

"This will make the car affordable to an additional 14 million families, including a section of 58 million two-wheeler owners," rating agency Crisil said. It added the Nano's price reduces the cost of ownership of an entry-level car by 30 per cent and to below three times the cost of owning a motorcycle.

"The most talked-about car at the Detroit auto show (2008) is a car that isn't here and isn't intended to ever be sold in US showrooms," said the USA Today after the Nano was unveiled.

"The launch of Tata Nano not only reinforces the country's strengths in IT and engineering, but also highlights the fact that global markets today are led by demand and not supply," said a Tata Motors official

"Nano is good for India. It marks the country's coming of age," said Abdul Majeed, auto analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers.