A comment article on the home page of motoring.co.za at the weekend, 'World going nuts over the Nano' left the way open for readers to voice their thoughts on the el cheapo Tata Nano.
Readers went nuts too - here's the first batch of emails received - we'll add a whole lot more in a couple of days.
Hi, if the Nano can travel at up to 105 and not only 45km/h I would consider buying one of them.
Mervyn Thomas, Parklands, Cape Town
I agree with you whole-heartedly - it would be absolute insanity to import yet another make/model into this country where we are already spoiled for choice but you can almost bet on it, someone will find a way to do so.
I also cannot believe for one minute that this car was inspired by a need to provide affordable transport for the masses - it was driven by nothing other than corporate GREED!
Steve Holliday, Cape Town
What do I think about the possible import of the Nano? Well, before we start "selling" the car to the masses at R17 500, we must remember that there will be import duties and VAT etc on the cars, as well as probable price increases by Tata (the "one lakh" promise was only for India) before it gets here.
So, so I'm guessing a price closer to R30 000 would be more realistic. While this is still less than half the price of the nearest competitor, it is only for the base model. I believe history has shown that, generally, South Africans are not happy with just a base model so I would expect the price range to be from R30 000 to R50 000 across the eventual model range.
And, of course, the initial cost of a vehicle is not the only factor that prevents much of our population from owning a car. The running and insurance costs are a major factor as well. I remember a story of a peasant woman in Russia doing missionary work who was given a Mercedes by a well-to-do American preacher but she turned it down because she couldn't afford the fuel.
So I don't believe either our markets or our freeways will be "flooded" by the Nano simply because of continued financial concerns of the majority of the population.
On the other hand, congratulations to Tata for proving that it is possible to produce a car at such a low price. I hope the Nano does indeed sell well so that other car
manufacturers can "catch a wake-up" and realise that it is not necessary to put all the bells and whistles on a car if they are not wanted or needed.
I recall a few years ago, when it seemed car prices would drop because of tax changes, but instead of dropping prices most suppliers simply took some of the options and made them standard.
I would rather have taken a discount but that wasn't an option, so my response to Tata? I say "Bring it on!" and let's see the dust fly like it did when Hyundai first came here.
Guy Snelling, Centurion
I would like to order a new Tata what do I do?
Hi, as a single mother feeling the pinch and punch of having car I think the Tata Nano would be great. Cost effective in all aspects.
Nano: It means one thousand millionth - of a metre or a second. It will take considerably more than a few million Nanos to get the government off its ponderous butt but surely Toyota Conquest / Tazz and VW Golf can come up with an equivalent vehicle in terms of cost?
The Tazz or Golf in their present form (crappy seats, ill-fitting panels, zero sound proofing, etc) could be the basis for a truly Sarf Efriken cheapy. The problem is not how cheaply the vehicle can be made, after all is said and done - the tooling costs have surely been paid for a million times - it is the cost of labour that blows us all out of the market!
Our emerging middle-class blacks are (rightfully) demanding a meaningful wage and are potentially the prime target market so maybe it is time for all the unemployed / retrenched whiteys that could pick up the pittance (better than nothing) wage and produce the SarfEfrikan NoNo??
I say bring it on and rather through legislation force the scrapping of all those 20-year-old and older death-trap-due-to-lack-of-maintenance Cressidas, Cortinas and what else that also waste fuel and pollute.
With a top speed of 105km/h, this Tata Nano would be faster than those old cars are driven in the centre lanes of our highways, anyway!
Perhaps we can also convince Mr Tata to set up a factory in SA as his gateway into Africa for his Nano...
I think it is absolutely brilliant! Can't wait to get my hands on one or perhaps even two for that matter.
I agree with you on the congestion issue but there is a flip side to the coin. We have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of barely serviceable, unroadworthy vehicles on South African roads and almost certainly all of them would fall into the price category of under R20 000 on the second-hand market.
The reason why this market continues to proliferate is because new cars are simply too expensive for the most of the population.
How about this then? Replace those old under R20k-R40k vehicles with a brand-new Nano. Perhaps some form of government-sponsored incentive for people to exchange or trade in their old vehicles as a further rebate against the already ludicrously low price of the Nano.
This would have a two-fold effect of not only increasing the number of safe, roadworthy vehicles on the road but also reduce emissions. The older vehicles on our roads are probably the main culprits when it comes to emissions and smog.
Something similar, perhaps, to the taxi recapitalisation programme? Certainly food for thought.