My BigRajanikanth Shenoy, KudpiRajanikanth Shenoy, Kudpi

  • Apr 13th 2011

When I booked my Tata Nano Car in April last year, many raised their eyebrows and some of them questioned me if I was out of my mind. Some even suggested that there are hundreds of second hand cars with better features available at half the price of a top end Nano LX. I was firm in my decision and I politely dismissed their suggestions.

My basic idea of going for Nano was that it is indigenously produced in India. It can carry four passengers with safety and comfort within the city and the fuel consumption is just double than what my 24 year old Yamaha RX 100 does. Most of all, I had faith in Ratan Tata and his determination to do something for his Mother Nation. Even if the allotment of Nano was to be in the second round of 100000 cars, I’d have earned 8.5% interest on the Rs. 140000/- that I had deposited towards booking, which is a handsome rate in present time.

Two months down the line, I got an SMS from Tata Motors that my Nano has been allotted in the first round of 100000 vehicles to be delivered. My vehicle was expected to be delivered between January and March 2010. I was extremely happy, but most of my relatives and friends were not so happy. One said that they should have allowed us to have a test drive. There have been issues regarding overheating of the engine, he added. I was cool, for Tata Sumo had its teething problems but later on Tata Motors had them rectified at the Company’s cost. I got the allotment letter some days later.

Eventually, we got to see brand new Nano cars rolling out of Auto Matrix showroom at Bejai and running on Mangalore roads. They looked pretty and easy to maneuver. Even at that moment, someone said, the car is not suited for Mangalore roads. It won’t scale the gradient of Light House Hill with A/c on, my friend who is an expert in automobiles declared! I still managed a smile and didn’t cancel my booking. Another friend said many have cancelled their bookings and opted for some other car, even though the price is a Lakh Rupees more than the Nano. They all tried to make me nervous and lose my confidence in Ratan Tata!

I didn’t lose grit. I was firm enough. First of all, I believed in myself. I was sure about my choice and I had faith in the professionalism of Ratan Tata and his team. The very decision of moving from Singur to Gujarat was one such good decision for which, I had appreciated the Tatas.

Months passed by, people kept asking me about the fate of my Nano. Then we saw some media hype, projecting Nano as an unsafe vehicle. Even children started to look at Nano as something untouchable!

All eyes concentrated on me again. I smiled and said, it was something beyond human control and we must wait and see what exactly happened, than blaming Tatas for technical snag. It could be sabotage even, I said.

The news spread like wild fire and whoever heard that I am still waiting for my Nano, felt that I have gone bonkers!

My car didn’t arrive till the end of March as promised. I started to feel restless. Then again, the solace that I’d earn interest on the deposit money with Tata Motors made me remain cool.

Then it happened. I got a call from Auto Matrix, the local Tata dealers on April 15th, that if I paid the balance amount by cash on 16th April, I shall get the car delivered on the 17th. I responded immediately and got my car delivered on Saturday, the 17th April at 6.30P.M. The MD of Auto Matrix, D Rajendra Kumar was kind enough to hand over the papers and the keys along with a special chocolate hamper and a lovely rose in his personal cabin to me. I felt so good that the dealers arranged the delivery of the lowest cost car to an ordinary person like me with such a great gesture!

Later, my friend Mahaveer drove the car from the show room to my house after showing the car to my mother. Though Mahaveer owns a bigger car, he felt very comfortable with Tata Nano. He said the driving comfort is as good as a big car. The A/c unit worked amazingly well and mind blowing, as we experienced it!

Next day was a Sunday, and I had to ask my friend Kumble Srinivas Nayak for help, since I haven’t learnt driving as of now. Mr. Nayak came to my help in the afternoon and took three of us adults and two kids around the 15 KM stretch within the city and on highway, through potholes, humps and steep gradients.

Later in the evening, we had to attend a function at a place 25 Kms on NH48, and we started at 5.45P.M. We reached there by 6.30P.M., though we passed through 5KMs of un-surfaced road with craters and deviations. Nano kept rolling, and we didn’t feel any discomfort.

After the function, we started at around 8.30P.M., and my friend drove the car smoothly along the highway. The head lamps were bright enough, and all the indicators worked perfectly well. We checked the mileage, and achieved almost 20KMs a liter with A/c on.

The initial run for Nano proved to be satisfactory, and almost 75 percent of my friends and relatives are convinced by its performance. My friend Govindraj, almost on the verge of canceling his Nano booking, traveled with us in my car and felt that this is the right car for him! He said, he shall wait till next January to get it!

Later in the week, I hired a driver and took my 88 year old mother on a pleasure trip around the city and on the highway. One can see her pleasure in one of the pics! We also went on NH17 driving at 70KMPH and the car just zoomed ahead without any noise or heat.

It’s time to move on. Many Nano cars are expected to run the rough roads of Mangalore and the surrounds. I feel like having owned the best city car that has value for money! Those who have apprehensions about Nano may dread about more disasters but trust me; I feel safe and comfortable.

The recent Customer Meet at Auto Matrix to celebrate the First Anniversary of launching Nano facilitated us to interact and give our feed back to the Company. Many were relieved to get the first hand info on the safety features of the car. One should not meddle up with the electrical wiring, especially at the rear end. That’s something one got to remember. We Indians seldom follow safety norms and blame it on the Company when any untoward incidents happen!

Now it’s time for some suggestions on improvements. Nano should come with a rear view mirror on the front left door. I also noticed that glove compartment is missing. Finally, the rear mounted engine makes noise and vibration at first gear and the second. Otherwise, it is nothing less than a BIG car! Huge cabin space, mind blowing A/C, comfortable seats with abundant leg room, four seat belts and good steering control makes this a car worthy to be called as our own Indian Car of The Year!

Tata Nano is here to stay. Whatever, don’t over-speed it, and mind the safety limitations. After all, it is a city car!

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