Mysterious India, land of the Karma Sutra, mango chutney, and over a billion people. And all those people need transportation to their Comcast call center jobs. Scooters and motorcycles are the most popular mode of personal transport in India. In fact, in 2007, the motorcycle and scooter industry sold about 7 million two-wheelers, that’s six times the number of cars sold. But Ratan Tata wants to change that.
Mr. Tata is the Chairman of Tata Motors, maker of The Nano, a small, extremely inexpensive car built specifically for the Indian market. The 10 foot long, 5 foot wide, four door Nano is debuting this year for about 100,000 rupees (about $2,500 dollars). It’s two-cylinder engine will supposedly get 47 miles per gallon; and have a blistering top speed somewhere around 55, no doubt.
The question is: will the tiny Nano even be able to fit on the already cramped Indian roads? The government of India has embarked on a huge national highway project, building roads and flyovers, but they’re still struggling to keep pace with the insane number of vehicles. Some of the country’s most densely populated cities, including Calcutta and Mumbai, are already jammed for hours every day. What’ll happen when people start trading in motorcycles for 4-wheel Nanos? Trouble.