RWE “redux” – 11/17/08 (China or India)

The Nano – India’s Tiny Car


Real World Economics (redux) provides you an opportunity to add points to your RWE presentations on a weekly basis. Every week we do a (S-Option) Student Option choice in RWE I’ll choose one article from all student assignments. I will link an article or podcast to the blog and I will post a question or series of questions that you must answer. You may earn up to ten points extra credit on the previous week’s RWE assignment. This work will count individually – you do not have to work with your partner. I will post the due date and time, however expect that it will be at 11:00 PM on Wednesday of the week assigned. Students from Government and Senior Current Issues may choose to answer RWE ‘redux’ for extra credit. All written blog assignments must adhere to posted Blogging Guidelines.

Kassi Hanchera did her RWE assignment on the Nano. The Nano is the world’s smallest and cheapest car. It was unveiled earlier this year and is scheduled for assembly in India. It’s tiny. And it’s cheap – about $2500. But it has it’s challenges. For RWE “redux” this week you’ll listen to two podcasts from NPR and answer two questions about the Nano.

Podcast #1 – (7:00) In India, Cheap Car Will Challenge Two-Wheelers.

Podcast #2 – (3:30) Nano Production Hits a Pothole in West Bengal.

Question for Podcast #1 – While the Nano has many positive aspects, the pod cast talks about it’s many hurdles as well. There’s a lot of problems that await the Nano, chief of which comes from India’s zillions of scooters. Talk to me about the hurdles (mentioned in the podcast) and faced by the Nano.

Question fot Podcast #2 – Things have not gone so well for the Nano at its new assembly plant in West Bengal. What has happened in West Bengal? And why? Your thoughts?

Extra Credit is available to Econ Students only. Extra points will be added to previous RWE. In order to count, post must be up by 11:00 PM Wed November 19.

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  1. C. Berghuis 3rd hour Extra Credit

    Pod cast 1

    According to the pod cast the Nano will face many hurdles. One is that India has unforgiving roads that would be difficult for the car to get through. Some people feel that the car cost to little for them, they don’t want to look the most cheapest person. Not very many people own cars in India, just 8 out of 1000. In some places the roads are dense with people and the car wouldn’t be able to get around people very easily like a bike would. Motor bike sellers are fighting to sell their product over the Nano. Some people feel that the Nano is too small and crowded.

    Pod cast 2

    The Nano was supposed to roll off this month, but the company closed before it could produce its first car. The company closed due to violent protests and attacks on the factory. Tata leased land from the government, because they said it was for the public interest. The farmers didn’t agree because the land was a rich agricultural area. The farmers are the ones who were protesting.

    I think that the farmers were right to protest, although, they may not have went about it the way I would have. I would be more concerned about farmland then a car. They already have transportation in India that many like. I would want more food before a car that has hurdles to past by. So, I don’t think that it was for the public interest to build the factory on farmland.

    10 PTS EXTRA – Great job as usual Courtney. The difference between a Communist society and a democratic society is that in China they would have just gone through with the plant. At least the protesting forced the plant to move. So people have power even in democratic chaos.

  2. Rachel Stewart 3rd Hr.

    ? #1:

    The Nano sounds like a very interesting car, and I was surprised to learn that it is not being received very well in India. In India, where the Nano was expected to flourish, many Indians do not look upon the Nano fondly. In the last year in India, there were 7 Million people with motorbikes. This population of people with motorbikes was six times larger than those people who owned cars, according to this podcast, 8 in 1,000 people own a car. This is one problem the Nano will face when the car is available.

    Another problem with the Nano, surprisingly, is it’s cost. No, the cost of the Nano isn’t too high, it’s too low for people in India. The man interviewed in this podcast talked about how the Nano costs too little, and would be embarrassing to buy because people who would see you driving it would think you were cheap for buying such an affordable car, they might even feel inspired to give you the “stink eye” as you drive by. I found this extremely odd. What’s wrong with buying a car that’s extremely affordable and will get you where you need to go?

    A bigger problem the Nano will face in India is the streets of India. With such a huge population in this country, the streets of India are, literally, chaos. The streets are filled with people and vendors and getting a car through these streets is very difficult. A motorbike is able to move through these streets more easily and can go through places a car can’t.

    ? #2:

    Not only could Tata be having trouble selling the Nano, but the company is also having trouble assembling the Nano.

    The factory where the Nano was suppose to be assembled was on farming land. Tata got this land from the government who was legally able to take this land from the farmers because the Nano was a public interest program and by law, this land could be taken away. The farmers were not happy to sell this land to the government because it was such fertile land. Politicians began siding with the farmers and started protests against the government for taking the land. Tata is now deciding where to relocate to again, try to assemble the Nano.

    Although I feel bad for Tata not being able to build the Nano, I do think it’s more important for the farmers in India to be growing crops. In a place with such a huge population, fertile land is scarce and should not be taken away for a car factory. This situation is an example of how the “public interest” to build the factory did not match the public interest of everyone, such as the farmers. Again, I feel for Tata, but I’d rather see them relocate and push back the release of the Nano, than see Indians starving because farmland was taken away for a car factory.

    10 PTS EXTRA – I know that thing about the Nano costing too little was kind of bizarre I guess until you figure that India is becoming a little cloned capitalist USA. Luxury cars for people with the bucks. Even if the Nano makes more sense. It makes me wonder what kind of credit cards are available in India. Nice job once again. Make sure to wear a neck brace tonight.

  3. Danny Carlson

    Podcast #1

    The nano is the cheapest car in India, so a lot of people aren’t going to buy something that’s built cheap. India has sold over 7 million scooters in the past year, which are 6x as many scooters as cars. Only 8 in 1000 Indians own a car. Another problem is that the city streets are not wide enough to have a bunch of cars driving around. With the Indians pay, most Indians can’t afford to buy a car.


    Violent protests have broken out in West Bengal. They broke out because farmers feel they didn’t get enough money for their land that they sold to the government. They government then leases the land to the car company that is making the Nano. They plant is also located in a rich, and farmland area of west Bengal, which wants the plant gone.

    6 PTS EXTRA – you’ve got a nice outline here Danny. Basics are covered. For more points, I’d like to see more depth. Take a look at the two above that would be more like it. But that being said you’ve done a pretty good job.

  4. A. McNerney 3rd Hour


    Question for Podcast #2

    The Tata plant in West Bengal has closed before even making their first Nano car. The Nano which was stated in the podcast will be sold for around $2,000. But, Tata acquired their land from farmers. Many farmers did not agree to this so the Communist government took action. The plant land was taken away and Tata doesn’t want to come back.

    Since the Tata plant was forced out they do not want to go back to West Bengal. They are very angry about what happend. Since the closing of Tata, other car makers are doing better though. This is not good for Tata. The other car makers are selling their vehicles for more money than what the Nano would be selling for.

    I think that the Tata plant should come back to West Bengal. I know that they are angry for what happened, but a lot of people need jobs. The farmers do deserve their land, which I think will help with food production. Since their will be more land to develop for crops, more food will be available.

    -3 SPELLING / 5 – 3 = 2 PTS EXTRA – where’s #1?

  5. Jenn Martz 5th Hour

    *Extra Credit*
    Question #1
    In the podcast there were many positive things about the Nano, but there were also some hurdles. The pod cast explains that by having a motor bike it is easier to get around in India. The motor bikes might be more expensive and not be able to hold an entire family, but with people buying over 7 million bikes in a year, the owner of the motor bikes is not worried about going out of business. Motor bikes are 6x the amount of cars. The unforgiving roads or alleys are about 9 feet wide and most likely filled with tons of people. They say that it is so much easier to get into a 3 wheeled ritual while in a traffic jam rather than being in a Nano. A lady was interviewed and had replied that the Nano car might be easier to get the family around in but most families don’t like small cars they like big cars. The ladies in the household are in charge of the family decisions. A lot of them had made the comment that the Nano has no space inside.

    Question #2
    In West Bengal, the company that was building the Nano is now closing because they had run into violent protests. A lot of farmers had to sell or give up their land for the company to start making the Nano cars. When the farmers did not agree with them taking their land away they went to the state and then there began violence. A lot of the violence against the company and the owner decided to let go some of his workers because he was worried about there safety.

    10 PTS EXTRA – As usual good job on the Extra credit. Real thorough on #1

  6. Morse 2

    Answer for podcast #1:
    India produced the Nano which is the cheapest car in the world, and now millions of people could become car owners. Everyone looks at this as wow this could be the perfect car driving 47mi for every gallon and being so cheap, but the big question from India is will it survive the unforgiving roads? Some even say that it costs to little and they wonder if its made to cheap. Even though it appeals new customers people are still saying its much easier to just drive a bike. The Nano can’t get through the traffic jams like bikes can. The bikes also drive like a horse which the Nano will not. Another thing is that buyer aren’t looking for a little girly car, they are looking for a strong vehicle that can get through it all. The bikes names have a masculine swagger, Avenger, Splender, and Passion and the T.V. add show good looking young men pulling wheelies, this makes the bikes look perfect for all men. But all this will depend on who makes the decision.

    Answer for podcast #2
    The company closed new plants in West Bengal following violent protest. Tata is closing the factory in W. Bengal even before it produced anything. They got the land from farmers, and the farmers had to sell it under the law because the Nano was under the public interest. The state payed more than market price for the land, still farmers did not agree with this because the area that they would build on was a very rich agricultural area. When the farmers didn’t agree the communist government let the police go on the people and this caused violence. There was mass protest and attacks on the factories. Tata fairing for the safety of the workers decided to abandon it. 5 other states then wanted Tata to put the factory in their state. While Tata is deciding what to do other car makers are circling . They are now working on new cars even smaller. Riva is an electric car it’s more expensive but you don’t have to buy the gas.

    10 PTS EXTRA – Nice job Molly. Thorough.

  7. Kirsten B 5th hour extra credit

    #1 — The Nano faces many hurdles. It’s a very cheap car, and that makes the buyer look cheap as well. Tata the maker of The Nano wants to sell to Indian’s that use motorbikes and scooters, that is a problem because the bikes and scooters are much smaller and in certain parts in the city there get traffic jams and the bikes and scooters can weave through the cars. India spent over seven million dollars on bikes and scooters that number is 6 times more than the price of buying cars. Also the majority of Indian’s are poor, and they will not be able to afford The Nano. Families also in India are fairly big and The Nano is too small for most families.

    #2 — What has happened in West Bengal is that Tata’s factory is closing and he is looking to find a new place to have his factory. Why his factory is closing is because the state paid high market prices to get that land from farmers, and the farmers did not want to give up their fertile land, so people and the farmers protested and had attacks on the factory. The communist government got the police involved as well, and workers abandoned the factory. Also there are other car companies that are making smaller cars than The Nano. Some of the cars are already on the streets.

    10 PTS EXTRA CREDIT – Nice job Kirsten. Good overview on both questions – you mention the communist government go the police involved…but India is a democracy. You sure you got that correct?

  8. Kelly L. 2nd hour



    The Nano faces many challenges to its success. India is a densely populated country, as such, the roads are a nightmare. Traffic jams are common, and scooters are the best way to get around them. Scooters are, in fact, the perfect traveling device in India. It can maneuver the crowded streets, and can drive on paths too small for cars. However, with such dangerous roads there is need for a small car that is affordable. The Nano is that car, yet, when asked what kind of car Indians would intend buying, they took larger cars over smaller ones. Another hurtle for the Nano is competition from other car companies, who are planning to cash in on India’s growing demand for cars. Indians will also have to get over their social perception of scooters as the best way to travel. Of course that might be just the case, and the Nano will never beat out scooters. Then again, if the Nano can prove itself as a better way to get around then Indians will drop their scooters for the car.

    The Nano assembly plant in West Bengal closed down before even a single car was produced. Violent protests have caused Nano maker Tata Motors to close the plant, and attempt to relocate elsewhere. The protests occurred because the land on which the factory was built had been bought by the government from farmers. The farmers were forced to sell their land due to a law which made it possible for the government to buy citizens land when it aided the public interest. Of course the farmers are less than pleased by this turn of events. A politician named Mamata Banerjee and her party have sided with the farmers and created the violent protests that lead to Tata motors closing their factory. Now Tata is looking for a new place to build, and many other states are welcoming them, eager to get the jobs that an auto factory provides.

    -3 SPELLING EXTRA CREDIT 7 PTS – Nice job Kelly. However, I do believe your assessment of zombies is rather lame. Actually the Nano seems like a pretty good zombie car. Whereas I would expect a real vampire to drive a Maserati.

  9. Kristin Hollenbeck 5th Hour

    “The People’s car that everyone has been waiting for”

    The Nano is the world’s smallest car, it can go 47 miles to the gallon and is extremely cheap. There are many positives to this car, but negatives as well. The Nano is mainly targeted to Indians who use scooters and motorbikes as a means of transportation now. Many of the streets in India seem to be extremely small. They talked of one street being only 9 ft. wide and so busy that it was hard even for the scooters and motorbikes to get through. Last year in India, there were close to 7 million motorbikes and scooters sold. That is 6 times the number of cars sold in India. The streets in India are so packed that it may even be difficult to get the Nano through. Scooters and motorbikes are known as a “tough male vehicle”, while the Nano is far from it. The creators of the Nano are not the only ones working on a small car that will work well in India. Reno and Nissan are working on a car much like the Nano that will be close to the same price. With all of this work on the small cars, the motorbike industry is putting up a fight to keep selling their product. While it was said that they are going to produce 250,000 Nanos a year eventually raising it to a million, many Indian people say that they are going to stick with their motorbikes or scooters. It is much more convinient for them and inexpensive. The majority of Indians are unable to buy cars which is why only 8 in a 1000 Indians own a car. The Nano is going to have to prove itself to many people.

    5 PTS EXTRA – Great job on number one where is number two.

  10. Kate-Lynn

    1) The Nano faces many hurdles the main problem is India roads, they have tight twist and turns that some scooter bikes can not even travel through. The government is creating more roads but can’t keep pace with the idea of the Nano. Motor bikes handle dense traffic jams better and barely get by traveling through the crowded streets of people. Also many Indians feel that the Nano would symbolize “poor people”. The Nano company can not compete with bike advertisement that give their bikes powerful and majestic name where as Nano means “very small” or wimpy.

    2) The land that the Nano assembly plant in West Bengal was located on was land bought by the government for Nano producers for more than its worth from Indian farmers. A populous politician in India was infuriated that the farmers had to sell their fruitful land. She riled up the farmers who in return started to violent protest. Nano workers felt threatened and eventually the announcement was made that this production center was shut down. I think that this entire situation could have been avoided, if the government never made the farmers sell their land. This production plant could have been located somewhere else in India, perhaps in the spot where they seek to build the new plant.

    10 PTS EXTRA CREDIT – Nicely done!

  11. Katherine P. - 5th hour

    Some of the Hurdles the manufactures crossed while making the Nano are whether or not it can compete with the motor scooters, and how scooters make it easy to get through traffic and with the Nano it’s not as easy. The Nano also would not fit on road areas in certain part of towns.

    The carmaker shut down and wants to find a better location for his company elsewhere besides West Bengal because of violent protests. The Farmers where not agreeing to the use of the land because it was Rich in Agriculture. I think that the Nano is a great Idea and I also think that they should move it to the United States, in the long run it might help us out. Add Jobs to the community and a cheaper car. The carmaker should definitely keep trying.

    6 PTS – nice job there Plumby – could use a little more detail. But for a working girl not bad.

  12. Mr Wood