September 22, 2010 | The Hindu

Small car, big story

Launch of “Small Wonder: The Making of the Nano” It isn't every day that you see a little yellow car blinking its headlights at you in the corridors of the Taj. But then, this particular little car has been famous for doing things differently, right from its inception.
 
The famous Rs. 1-lakh car, the Nano, was at Vivanta by Taj Connemara for the launch of, essentially, its life story. “Small Wonder: The Making of the Nano” tells the tale of how the world's cheapest car came to be, from the birth of the idea in 2003 to its high-profile roll out in 2009.
 
“It's about how a group of very committed people at Tata Motors turned the dream of Ratan Tata into a reality,” said Christabelle Noronha, one of the three authors of the book, at the launch.
 
The book details the unusual challenges the Nano team faced — economic, technological and logistical — and gives you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the way the concept of the car evolved from a glorified three-wheeler to a fully-outfitted, stylish car.
 
Basic and good
 
“We started with the idea of providing a basic transportation solution, but as we went along, we felt that we should give the customer a full-fledged car, good to drive and to look at, at the lowest cost,” said Ravi Kant, vice-chairman of Tata Motors, who launched the book. “We faced huge challenges — the global meltdown, rising commodity prices, and, of course, the problems in West Bengal — but our young team rose to the occasion.”
 
Through “Small Wonder…”, you get to know some of these team members, and hear their stories and recollections of the Nano saga. “Being part of the Tata group, the three of us were able to tell the insider story, interviewing nearly 500 people in all,” said Noronha, who, like co-authors Philip Chacko and Sujata Agrawal, is on the Tata Corporate Communications team. “The only challenge we faced was drawing anecdotes from the engineers — they're not a talkative lot!”
 
Celebration time!
 
The book is also a celebration of the sort of global attention the Nano garnered upon its launch last year. “There are a few moments when one feels truly proud to be Indian — one of those was when Ratan Tata unveiled the Nano,” said Susheela Ravindranath, contributing editor of the Financial Express, at the launch. “I don't think the launch of any other car has been associated with the kind of excitement one felt with the Nano.”
 
And, the excitement continues, as Nano is poised to go around the world as well as increase its production in India.
 
Through Westland Books, the publisher of “Small Wonder…”, readers get a chance to be part of it all with the ‘Grab a Copy, Win a Nano' contest. Buy a copy of the book, and fill out a form before November 30, and you might be the proud owner of your own ‘Little Car That Could', when the results are declared in December.