The wait is finally coming to an end. Just a few hours from now, on March 23, Tata Motors will launch the world's cheapest car -- Nano -- in Mumbai. Many a company had pooh-poohed the Tata Motors claim that it would soon manufacture a Rs 1-lakh (Rs 100,000) car. Their constant refrain was 'it can't be done'.
But now the naysayers have been silenced. And the world has sat up to take notice of this car. Little wonder then that the launch promises to be a very high profile affair.
It has been a very long journey for Tata Motors -- the world's, fourth largest truck manufacturer, and second largest bus manufacturer.
Set up to manufacture locomotives and other engineering products, Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co Ltd, or TELCO, started its journey way back in 1945. Renamed as Tata Motors in 2002, today it is India's largest automobile company with revenues (2007-08) of Rs 35,651.48 crore ($8.8 billion) and 23,000 employees.
Over 40 lakh (4 million) Tata vehicles ply on Indian roads since the first one rolled out in 1954. The company's manufacturing base in India is spread across Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), Pune (Maharashtra), Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand).
The company is setting up two new plants: at Dharwad (Karnataka) and Sanand (Gujarat).
Milestones in the life of Tata Motors. . .
Image: Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata speaks at a press conference in Mumbai. | Photograph: Punit Paranjpe
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