New Delhi: A day after Tata Motors unveiled the world's cheapest car, bringing car ownership closer to millions of consumers in emerging markets, there has been showers of praise for the Nano from experts and man on the street alike — and the accolades have been as much for its style and engineering as for its 'world's cheapest' price tag.
While Ratan Tata added another feature to his cap as a revolutionery in the Indian industrial landscape, the main man behind bringing the Nano dream into reality has remained behind the sidescreens.
CNN-IBN caught up with the man, Girish Wagh, for a friendly chat, in which he shared what has gone into making Nano what the world sees today. Excerpts from the tete-a-tete.
What would you say about the speed with which you have come up with this car??
Girish Wagh: I think all of us in Tata Motors are proud of this speed. To us, it is as good as, when we made Indica. We were entering into the passenger car industry. This is equivalent to that.
What were the three key underpinnings when you started working on this project?
Girish Wagh: Cost target was an important underpinning. The day we started this product, we were also looking at two other points. We were looking at meeting all the existing regulations, be it emissions, or safety and also package the car for forthcoming regulations. We were also looking at bringing in an acceptable performance in low cost. We worked around different concepts to meet up with all these underpinnings. We looked at aggregate, subsistence, and the entire product to make it fit all three requirements.
It is eight per cent shorter than the smallest car in the market and has 21 per cent more passenger space than Maruti 800?
Girish Wagh: You are right. It is 8 per cent shorter than the smallest car in the market. At the same time if you look at the footprint, the length and the breadth, it is two and a half per cent lower than that car. While deciding our strategy, we worked on engine packaging concepts, whether it should be in the front, or rear, and finally we settled for rear.
What are the advantages of having a rear engine in a car like this?
Girish Wagh: We are able to reduce the length of the engine box, which means more space for the driver and rear passenger.
The tail pipe is in the center. Is it because of the architecture of the car or is it simply because of style?
Girish Wagh: It is also because of the styling point of view, as it looks good. It is also an architectural requirement.
How about the boot space?
Girish Wagh: The boot space continues to be at the back and one can easily keep the luggage at the back, once the seats are folded. The boot space is also comparable to existing cars?
How can you compare the boot space to a Maruti 800?
Girish Wagh: It is equal to that car.
Is there a particular reason the keep the meter console in the center?
Girish Wagh: That is a new styling statement. Even the new Indica has it in the center.
As far as the seating capacity is concerned, how many passengers can be in the car?
Girish Wagh: The certification of the car will be for four passengers.
How was the experience working on this project with a team of about 500 engineers?
Girish Wagh: The experience is still on. It is a learning experience. We hope to be prepared for future challenges.
Tata is known for strength in diesel cars. If you have diesel engines, will you have to make any changes in the architecture of the car?
Girish Wagh: No. We have package protected for various future requirements and one is diesel engine. Once we are ready with it, we will come out with a diesel engine.
How powerful will it be?
Girish Wagh: We have not finalised the specifications, but it will be more powerful that the gas engine?