After several discreet enquiries and false leads, it was found that the Coimbatore-based Jayem Automotives Ltd (JAL) was doing driving tests for Tata Motors and Nano was indeed in Coimbatore, courtesy JAL. When reporters caught up with Mr J. Anand, Managing Director of JAL, an ace car rally driver himself, he said his company was associated with the Tata group because of which he was able to test-drive the Nano. Declining to go into the specific details of the driving tests done by his company, he said: “It is extremely easy to drive and it is very, very exciting to drive (the Nano).”
Mr Anand said though it is a small car, “you will be amazed how much space it has inside”. He said four 6-feet-tall adults (he himself is 6’ 1”), could comfortably sit in the car. Referring to his own familiarity with high-performance cars as a rallyist, he said Nano is a “very exciting and enjoyable car”. As of now no car exists in the price range at which Nano will be available, said the Managing Director of JAL. What would amaze people is the “value for money” the car offers. Nano accelerates well and it is not sluggish and absolutely no rattling noise was heard while on the road. The car is easy to drive and is manoeuvrable as it can turn in a small radius, he said. The big plus was its interior and it has “fantastic air conditioning”.
Mr Anand did not expect Nano to be a hit merely with first-time car buyers. Even those who own luxury cars would love to buy it. It would not be a poor man’s car but would be a proud ownership statement and it was a well engineered vehicle, he said. On the nature of tests Nano was subjected to by JAL, he said his company does validation tests. It also does development work with Tata Motors. He said when his employees go for testing Nano, they had been chased and stopped by two- and four-wheel drivers to make enquiries about the car and where they could book the vehicle.
The former rally driver said he had never come across a new car launch that generated so much excitement as the Nano. Asked for the impact of Nano on the auto and auto component industry (Coimbatore is home to many big and small auto component makers), he said apart from the revival of the market, Nano would show that India could develop such a low-cost car that none imagined would be possible.
On the question of refinement and sophistication of the vehicle, Mr Anand said the perception about Tata’s cars has dramatically changed with the new Indica Vista and Nano. For its price, Nano was fantastic in terms of refinement and it is comparable with any car of its class and will enhance Tata Motors’ image for producing refined vehicles at such a low cost, said the Managing Director. The Nano would be launched at a function in Mumbai on March 23. The cars will be on display at Tata Motors dealerships from the first week of April and bookings will commence from the second week. The booking process and other details will be announced on March 23.