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Cornell exhibit deconstructs Indian "nanocar"

The Innovation Trail got a sneak peak of Cornell's new nanocar exhibit, opening at the Johnson Museum of Art next week. To make "Unpacking the Nano," students disassembled a Tata Nano.  The Nano has been hailed as the low-price car that would revolutionize transportation on the Indian subcontinent.

As The New York Times detailed last month, the Nano, which retails for just over $2,000, has not made the expected splash. The company wants to sell as many as 2 million cars a year. But in November, they delivered just over 500 to dealers. Many Indians have stayed away over questions about the car's safety after a series of fires, and a general reluctance to trade motorbikes or rickshaws for four-wheeled vehicles.

The Times also noted that the initial announcement of plans for the Tata Nano led other auto makers, including General Motors, to launch plans for ultra-cheap vehicles:

But the Nano’s poor showing could give pause to corporate executives and policy makers, eager to see goods and services sold to people of modest means. Analysts say the Nano situation demonstrates it may not be sufficient to make cheaper, smaller versions of existing products to win over that broad base of customers. Companies, they say, must also make sure the products are widely available and are seen as safe, useful and alluring.

Click the video above for a look at the naked Nano, and for the view from the other side of the world, check out an article about the exhibit in the Hindustan Times.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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