No word yet on Nano rollout

Written by Yogima Seth | New Delhi, Aug 26 | Updated: Aug 27 2008, 05:56am hrs
Will Tata Motors meet the October deadline for the launch of its much-awaited peoples car Nano Seems a bit unlikely if one were to go by the way the auto industry works. Conventionally, most auto manufacturers inform their dealers about the tentative date of a new model that they are set to launch at least three-four months in advance, followed by staff training that begins a month before the launch. However, in case of Nano there has been no communication from the company to its dealers about the launch date till now even when its just over a month left for the scheduled launch, say dealer sources. There has been no intimation from the company about the launch time of Nano, which means there could be a delay of a month or two before the car is finally on the road, says a dealer on conditions of anonymity.

However, despite protests in Singur, the company continues to maintain the October launch deadline. The launch will be done as per the companys calendar and the norm of informing the dealers in advance as well as training them for the product would be followed, says the official spokesperson of Tata Motors. He, however, said that he is not aware of any communication to the dealers as of now regarding the same.

With intense competition in the industry, all auto manufacturers want to ensure that the product is well received in the market when it is officially on roads.

Hence, there is proper training given to every staff at all dealers about the product. Moreover, since the dealers are expected to buy the cars (that they have booked) in cash, they are informed about the product much in advance to ensure that sufficient funds are available with the dealers when the vehicle rolls out. However in case of Nano, dealers have not been informed so far, leave alone the training.

With Singur not coming up on time, there would be some pressure on the plans of Tata Motors. However, with Plan B in place, the company might actually meet the October deadline from either its Pantnagar or Pune plant even if it would mean lower capacities initially than that committed by Tatas earlier, says Abdul Majeed, analyst and partner, Price Waterhouse.

Whenever it happens, according to company officials the car will see a phased launch with an emphasis on smaller cities followed by availability of Nano across all dealerships in the country.

Earlier, this month, the company in a public announcement, had invited applications from prospective dealers saying that it would maximize their opportunities, even as Tata Motors constantly expand its portfolio of passenger vehicle products and services, including the recently unveiled peoples car the Tata Nano.