Maruti Suzuki: Nano failed to meet customer aspirations in totality, says R C Bhargava

New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India Chairman R C Bhargava on Friday said Tata Nano failed because it did not meetaspirations of car customers “in totality” and not because of just one or two factors.

He said when a two-wheeler buyer upgrades to buy a car, he looks at the luxury that a car offers and does not look at it as a mere means of transportation.

“I think the Nano failed to meet the aspirations of customers in totality, not just one or two factors,” Bhargava said while speaking at an interaction here.

“The project at that price became an insurmountable challenge and also the challenge to meet customeraspirations.”
Bhargava, however, reiterated that Ratan Tata needed to be given credit for attempting to offer an affordable car to the masses through the Nano.

The Nano has been in the news with ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry stating that it needed to be shut down if Tata Motors had to make a turn around.

Bhargava said the idea behind Nano, as conceived by Tata, was to offer an affordable and safer mode of Personal transportation to two-wheeler riders and their families, which needs to be lauded.

He said, right from the beginning, MSI and its parent Suzuki were clear that they could not have come up with such a product at that price despite being a major small car manufacturer.

Mistry, in his letter to Tata Sons board members, had said that for Tata Motors to make a turnaround, the Nano needed to be shut down as it had reached a peak loss of Rs 1,000 crore.

Asked about the impact of taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber on the automobile manufacturers, Bhargava said they were good for the industry.

“The reason is they bring much greater efficiency into the ability of people to use cars fortransportation, the cars are used much more intensively and efficiently and there is much less of empty running, all of which lead to greater efficiency,” he added.

In future, these types of companies will become large purchasers of cars, he added.

Moreover, as cars of aggregators are used optimally and therefore, the replacement cycle is faster and so it is better for the industry, Bhargava explained.

On future eco-friendly products, Bhargava said Maruti and Suzuki are working to develop a low-cost small hybrid car, without sharing any timeline for its possible launch