Monday, February 04, 2008

Peoples car, peoples bus

Tatas Nano recently stole all the thunder from larger rivals at the Delhi Auto show. The game plan of the Nano is to change the way people move in this country (and perhaps in the world). Which is why, the current big mover of people, Bajaj, the company which makes auto rickshaws is worried. And they launched their own small car initiative because if the Tata Nano really picks up, it has the potential to hit their rickshaws business straight on. And that is considering it is a business model as of today. If people put their brains together and come up with self driven vehicles or a vehicle pool or some such other community initiative, it has the potential to turn urban transportation on its head. But while the focus has really been on the Nano, Tata has done some similar work in another segment.

And with some success actually. The Tata Ace, an 800 cc beast of a truck has had amazing success in the market. There is nothing quite like it until some competitors woke up and came up with a me-too version. What did it displace, rather target? The 3 wheeled truck - the worst thing on Indian roads - in my opinion. The Ace is doing well to upstage it.

Another of the Aces versions - the Magic is actually targeting those Vikrams and the smoke belching 10 seater 3 wheelers that wreck havoc on many inner roads in the country. The Magic to me, has the potential to get the roads rid of this stupefying contraption and perhaps improve public transport in the hinterland as well.

Taking it all together, Tata has done nothing short of targeting the entire way that the population moves. Add the Starbus and the Winger and you have more transport solutions than India ever really had.

4 comments:

Karthik/SK/wimpy/SKimpy said...

piaggio's response to the Ace is (perhaps appropriately) called "Ape".

of course it's pronounced ah-pay (thatz how they pronounce it in the kannada ads)

Neelakantan said...

Yes, the pronounce it the Ah-pay for some reason. Perhaps ah-pay-(dirt)!

Kavi said...

Its interesting to see all the transformation thats taking place in the roads !

Ace & Ape are still democratising the people movement in the hinterland. They dont have to wait for those huge buses or the roads to drive them on !

Karthik/SK/wimpy/SKimpy said...

was reading the wiki entry for vespa
and found this

Ape (pronounced Ah-pay), is Italian for bee. This was the three-wheeled variant used for commercial purposes, including the popular auto rickshaw.