• Aug 25, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the Tato Nano

Fueling speculation that the Tata protests last week may have been much more effective than originally reported, India's Tata Motors Ltd has said it will move the upcoming Tata Nano plant from its planned eastern India location if the violent protests don't end. The tension is between the industry that is pushing for the 1,000-acre plant and the farmers who wish to retain the land for agricultural use. After the unveiling of the plant in January, which was hailed by the state's ruling Communists, the protests have been gathering steam. It eventually led to the violent clash last week as more than 1,000 people marched against the planned facility. The announcement from Tata Motors is significant as the company has invested more than 1,500 crore rupees ($350 million) in the project so far, and there is no alternate plan to replace the facility at Singur (although the Nano is going to be manufactured at other plants, as well). In addition, other manufacturers who are expanding into India (including Nissan, Renault, GM, and Hyundai) are watching the unfolding events very closely as they plan their next moves.


[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]



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  • 14 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      "state's ruling Communists"

      India is a democratic state.
        • 6 Years Ago
        India is a democracy, true, but it also has an active Communist party that in the case of West Bengal, currently is the party in power.

        India is constitutionally a "socialist secular democratic republic", however the national government abandoned central planning and instituted free market and foreign investment reforms in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

        Many Indians have expressed regret over India's socialist past as well as India's role in the so-called "non-aligned" movement, which usually supported the Soviet bloc during the Cold War and the Arabs in the Mideast conflict. India now has close ties to the US and Israel.

        Still, socialist and communist party continue to be active.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Communist are a political party and Communism itself doesn't imply that you can't have democracy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nano is now becomming the most awaited car in India. With all the contraversies surrounding it, its getting more and more attention. Also after this WB violence, many states are already trying to lure Tata's Nano project including Maharashtra and Rajasthan according to an article on UTVi (http://utvi.myrecourl.com)
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is less about farmers vs Tata than a struggle for political power in the state of West Bengal, between the ruling Comnunists, who approved the plant and land acquisition, and the Trinamool Congress party which is fomenting opposition to the project from displaced farmers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If Nano plan to bring this thing to the US, they'd better hurry up. Gas prices are dipping and soon enough people will get tired of giving a crap about mileage.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gee, it's just like the North American auto industry where the domestic auto companies are demonized by their own people. In the meantime, foreign companies establish themselves as being friendly and wonderful... meanwhile they quietly siphon money out the country.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Every time I see the Nano I feel kind of sorry for it.. like when you see a dog with 3 legs or something.. Its so awkward looking. It's like a smart car that didn't quite make it out right.

      At any rate, it is ridiculously cheap so I hope it goes into production for that reason.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maharashtra vs. Enron-Dabhol power. That one case in the late 90s set back foreign investment in India by 5 years. Individual cases will reflect greatly on the government; and in turn on investment (both domestic and foreign) in the region. 1 step forward, 10 steps back.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actually, West Bengal is ruled by the communist party. And they have played a signficant role in ruining the once beautiful city of Calcutta (Kolkata), the major metro of West Bengal.

      The Tata vs. Farmers argument is complex, but one issue is more clear: India's metropolitan roads are choked with pedestrians, animals, pedicabs, bicycle carts, cars, trucks, schooters, motorcycles, 3-wheelerer "autorickshaws" and the other mobile objects. Can it really support an invasion of Nanos?? I just got back from there, and I don't think so.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Tata's argument is that the Nano will reduce traffic congestion and pollution by replacing many of those 2-cycle scooters and autorickshaws.

        Would you rather see a family of 4 in a Nano or on a scooter?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ronnie,

        No doubt I would want to see them in a Nano. But I really doubt this would do anything but worsen conjestion. Heck, the small size will cause drivers to treat it like a four wheeled scooter. I am assuming you have been to Kolkata? Then you already know that during the frequent james, to go a few kms can take more than an hour.

        In practice, there are no rules of the road. One forges ahead however possible, with the size of the vehicle bieng the rate limiting factor. This contributes to the awful congestion, as well as the massively overburdened infrastucture.

        My point is that when more people buy these cars (as the affordability will allow just that) there won't be any place to go. They will all sit in jams. True, most of the south and other metros in India might benefit in the short term, but longer term, I think the Nano will clog up and emit more polution in an already maxed out system.

        A better public transport system to tie into India's excellent (though ageing) rail system should be invested in. They need to leapfrog the Western ideal of one family, two cars.
      • 6 Years Ago

      So the Nano has become more like Nono.
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