Went on stretcher to unveil Nano in Geneva: Tata

New Delhi: Ratan Tata, the chairman of Tata Sons, had gone on a stretcher with a doctor in attendance to unveil Tata Nano to the world in 2008 edition of Geneva Motor Show, as he was suffering from a back injury.

"It`s my baby and so I travelled here on a stretcher with a doctor. And before I spoke and went on to unveil the Nano, he gave me a shot which absolutely numbed me. I did not even know that I`m touching the car. I made my speech, I did the photo shoot, and went back on the stretcher, I went to the press conference and then went back on the stretcher to Bombay," the 74-year-old business magnate told NDTV24X7.

Stating that the trip to Geneva did a lot of damage to his back, he said, "The reception we got was phenomenal. You know we had the Koreans and Japanese with cameras looking under the car… German car makers, and the engineers ? opening and closing the doors to see whether it was real."

Tata Nano was first unveiled here in January, 2008 and after a few months, it was shown to rest of the world in the Geneva Motor Show. "It did everything that you were expecting it to do. And the acceptance was kind of universal. There was no scorn; in fact there was more scorn in India," the Tata group chairman said.

Last week, Tata had said that he has set higher ambitions for the Nano car and it will be available in more variants, including diesel and electric versions, while its 624 cc petrol engine will also be upgraded in power. "We will definitely come out with various variants of the Nano. One day there will be a higher engine, a diesel engine and an electric vehicle variant (of the Nano will be introduced)," he said at this year`s Geneva Motor show.

Earlier this year, he had admitted that Tata Motors had not been able to market Nano well and would try to undo the perception that it is a poorman`s car, which has a starting price of Rs 1.40 lakh.

Launched in 2009, there were high expectations from the small car, since it was projected as Ratan Tata`s dream project. However, as the novelty value wore off, Nano hit several roadblocks and did not match Tata`s own expectations and he described it as an "opportunity wasted".

Presently, about 9000 units of Nano is being sold per month. Besides, Tata Motors has also launched new models in vibrant colours like rouge red, champagne gold, papaya orange, aqua blue and mojito green, targeting youth.