The long-awaited, much hyped dream car “Nano” is finally set to embark on the assembly line. Press reports state that over 50,000 booking forms have already been sold. Like so many other first time car seekers I have closely followed all developments of this economy wagon.

When I decided to buy a car I only had enough savings to afford a small second hand. The cheapest option was a Maruti 800 but the vehicle seemed too crammed to survive hours of never ending traffic jams. Besides, compared to the trendy little chariots like the Santro, Swift or Spark, the 800 appeared to be malnourished. But even the second hand Santrosand Swifts weighed down my budget. After doing some survey and eyeing every compact car at the signals, I almost boiled down on the slightly pumped-up version of 800 i.e. theMaruti Zen. It was at this time Tata Motors announced the launch of Nano. And that completely changed the direction of my mini auto project.

tata_nano_1A brand new car in just Rs.1,00,000 !!!. Just what I wanted. I must have read every possible article on this wonder car. First came all the oohs and aahs, and then, the negatives popped up. It can be only used for city driving, I was advised. But then who wants to hit the highway anyway. Engine capacity is only about 600cc….but who cares what that means. As long as this four-wheeler safely gets me to my office, parlour, shopping mall and back home, why bother doing the maths? It is toooooo tiny for a family….well, it is at least bigger than the bike that we currently own. Better still…it gives a roof over your head, windows to protect you from the liberal emission of carbon-monoxide, and can carry two more passengers safely. (if not comfortably) And of course it is definitely more stylish than a second-hand skeletal Maruti800 and cheaper than a used zen.

Since I refused to budge, they decided to attack my budget. Car experts advised me that after all the paper-work, accessories, upgrades etc etc, the car price is going to exceed Rs.1,00,000. Plus they are those complex jargon of ex-showroom prices, deliveries etc. But then doesn’t all this gibberish hold true for other cars. I mean, rather spend money on a bright new vehicle than waste it on treating tired engines of a pre-used car.

Then came the final assault. Let the car first hit the roads….why be the guinea pig? Isn’t it wise to wait for customer reviews?…Well !!! I hate to admit but that last missile has hit the target just right. I can feel my brave stand slowly crumbling. I just may have to follow mysurvey’s interim recommendations. The reason? – If I book the Nano in April, I need a good reserve of luck to get delivery this year. Waiting for customer reviews and then booking makes this chance even lower. And if I have to wait for more than a year for Tata’s mini, I might as well save more to buy a brand new time tested zen. Oops !!!…that gets me back to square one.

Still confused, I will now commence a new auto study for the changed market conditions. My hypotheses….

1. A second-hand tested car is better than an untested first-hand.

2. When your knowledge about cars is inadequate, better trust the knowledgeable.

……But deep within I still hope that the Nano truly proves a ‘small wonder’ for those who courageously purchase it !!!