Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2010 (Revised March 2011)

Tata Nano – The People's Car

by Krishna G. Palepu, Bharat N. Anand and Rachna Tahilyani

Abstract

The case explores how Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company, developed the Nano, the world's cheapest car. The case focuses on the translation of Ratan Tata's (chairman of Tata Motors) vision of a safe affordable car for the masses by Ravi Kant, managing director of Tata Motors into the Nano Project. The case raises questions around breaking the price-quality barrier and changing existing internal processes to accommodate revolutionary new ideas. The dilemma of success—Tata Nano was a runaway bestseller—left Tata Motors debating how large a bet they should make on the Nano and what kind of capacity commitment this requires.

Keywords: Price; Globalized Firms and Management; Disruptive Innovation; Emerging Markets; Business Processes; Quality; Competition; Auto Industry; Manufacturing Industry; India;

Citation:

Palepu, Krishna G., Bharat N. Anand, and Rachna Tahilyani. "Tata Nano – The People's Car." Harvard Business School Case 710-420, April 2010. (Revised March 2011.)