Big Crowds for a Small Car
Tata Nano packs 'em all
It's a car that'll never be sold in Europe – but it drew the biggest crowds at the show. The tiny Tata Nano, which sells in India for just $2,500, drew a huge crowd – though many of the journalists weren't there to see the controversial Indian 'people's car'.
Instead they hoping Tata chairman Ratan Tata would announce that his company had finalized the deal to buy Jaaguar and Land Rover from Ford. Pre-show rumors suggested an announcement was imminent – but Tata only wanted to talk Tata.
In a emotional speech, he said: "Eleven years ago, we came to Geneva as a new car company from the developing world that was trying to find its place in the global car industry. We launched the Indica, which we designed in India, and received such encouragement and support from the international media that it spurred us on to be a car company of consequence."
He said Nano would not be coming to Europe – it would struggle to meet emissions or safety standards. But he said Tata had brought the car to Geneva because "emotionally this is the place where we launched our first car".
A more likely candidate would be the new, heavily revised Indica, with fit and finish significantly improved over the original Indica. This has only ever been sold in Europe as the ill-fated CityRover, which was heavily criticized for its poor interior finish and basic specification.
But Ratan Tata said he "hoped this car will be available in Europe in the future" - leading to the intriguing possibility that it could even return as a CityRover. Under the terms of the Land Rover sale, all '...Rover' brands will pass to Tata. BMW, Rover's previous owner, had retained the rights to the same until last year, when it was bought by Ford.
"We are serious about making a contribution to the car industry on a global basis," said Tata. The Jaguar-Land Rover deal is still on course, according to Ford executives at the show – and when the deal goes through, Tata will get his chance to make that contribution.