9 Nanos will undertake a voyage of 12,000 km to showcase safety of the cars
The first set of small cars Nano, manufactured by Tata Motors at its new location in Sanand, near Ahmedabad in Gujarat, is all set to roll out on Wednesday.
The Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, and the Tata group Chairman, Ratan Tata, will flag off nine Nano cars heralding the beginning of the marketing of the products manufactured at Sanand where the plant was shifted, amidst controversies, from Singur in West Bengal, some 19 months ago.
The nine Nanos, claimed to be the world's cheapest four-wheeler, starting from Sanand would undertake a voyage of over 12,000 km passing through 40 cities across some 20 states in the East, South and the North. The exercise, apparently to reach the target customers in urban areas, is also believed to have been planned to assure the buyers about the safety of the cars after a couple of recent incidents in Mumbai and elsewhere of the running cars suddenly catching fire. The incidents, which also believed to have delayed by about a month the company's target of inaugurating the Sanand plant, forced the company to undertake a detailed investigation of the causes and make necessary changes before declaring the Nanos to be “completely safe.”
The company had originally targeted to bring out the first set of Nano cars from Sanand on May 1 to coincide with the launching of the “Swarnim Gujarat” celebrations, the golden jubilee of the creation of the state, a celebration very dear to the heart of the chief minister. The month-long “super drive” by the nine Nano cars was apparently aimed at showcasing the safety of the cars. The Tatas have so far put over 30,000 Nano cars on the Indian roads, but these were all manufactured at its existing facilities in Pune and Pantnagar in Uttarakhand.
Following controversy over the allocation of land in Singur, which quickly assumed political colour, Mr. Tata on October 7, 2008, announced that he was accepting an offer of Mr. Modi to shift the plant to Gujarat investing about Rs. 2,000 crore on the Sanand facility. The state government promptly allotted nearly 1,100 acres held by the Gujarat Agriculture University (GAU) to the project that included space for some 60 vendors (ancillary units) while shifting the project with equipment and other facilities from Singur to Sanand cost the company an additional Rs. 300 crore.