A great deal is being written about the Small Car Nano, a prominenet milestone on the highway of Indian Technology. Ratan Tata has delivered what he promised, despite so much opposition and cynism. His team deserves a mention too.
All eyes were turned towards the shy 36- year old Girish Wagh, Head, Project Team, People’s car, Tata Motors when Ratan Tata called for him onstage while unveiling the People’s car – Nano. He walked up t o the stage with a light gait and smiled awkwardly while looking upwards.
The soft spoken engineer is an unlikely hero . He was among the 3,500-odd engineers who toiled at the Pune factory in 2004 to launch vehicles using the Ace platform. As a divisional manager at the time he had designed Ace, Tata’s mini truck.
The product was ahead of its time and boasted of a modern cabin compared to its crude three wheeler rivals. Tata Ace created a new mini segment in India. Priced between Rs 2.25 lakhs -2.35 lakhs. It was best suited for use by villagers in carrying goods over short distances.
The dedication Wagh has shown over the years had made him different and today he is among the handful of people who have led projects that built new vehicles from scratch for Tata Motors in the last three decades.
Today, Wagh is amongst the top team leadres of Tata . He headed a team of 500 people to design Tata’s Nano.
Speaking at the launch of the Nano car today Girish Wagh, said the car had an oxidation catalytic convertor and it emitted 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.
Further stressing the point on features in the car he mentioned the car meets all the safety norms and will be available in several versions which will be introduced in phases,’’ he said.
Insiders in the company Wagh say he is a true team leader and believes in hard work and dedication to his job.
The man behind the car has come a long way and now he joins the league of Sumant Moolgaonkar and Ratan Tata who have started projects from the scratch.
The Nano has been benchmarked with the Maruti 800 which is the smallest car in the country and was a runaway success for two decades. The Nano costs half as much. However, Suzuki executives maintain that it is not possible to produce a car at such a low cost.
Shinzo Nakanishi managing director of Maruti Suzuki India speaking before the unveiling of the car said, “we cannot make a cheaper car. We don’t know how to make a 1-lakh car unless we sacrifice something. We won’t go below the 800 in our product line-up.”
Maruti Suzuki’s mini 800, priced at nearly double the Tata car, was the cheapest in the market. Asked about the impact of the Tata car on Maruti’s sales, Nakanishi said: “There may be some impact.”
Venu Srinivasan chairman and managing director TVS Motor Co said, “it is fantastic; outstanding engineering. It helps redefine the sector in the country. It has established new grounds.”
P. Sam group head marketing and sales of Yamaha Motor claimed, “the 1-lakh rupee car is not going to impact our potential customers. Our customers would buy our products for the sheer joy of riding.”
Onkar Kanwar of Apollo Tures said, I congratulate Tata. He has delivered what he promised.