Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Pune – The Birthplace of Nano & The Automotive Capital of India

Posted in Pune, Science & Technology by Amit Paranjape on March 23, 2009

Today, India and possibly the entire automotive world commemorate the customer launch of the ‘Nano’ – the world’s cheapest car. The brainchild of the Indian corporate legend Ratan Tata is finally available to the Indian consumer. I am sure that the Nano will raise a whole bunch of debates around urban traffic-management issues; but today is not the time for those. Today is a time for celebration!

 

Pune too celebrates this historic occasion; but I am not sure how many Punekars realize the significance of Pune’s role in creating this and other automotive history in India.

 

The Nano was completely designed and developed at the Tata Motors facility in Pimpri-Chinchwad Pune. The initial manufacturing will also be carried out here.

 

Here’s a brief list of Pune’s key automotive achievement over the decades. (In each of these milestones, Pune has played a pivotal role)

 

  • 1950s-60s: One of India’s earliest and most iconic automotive brands – Bajaj Scooter.
  • 1970s: India’s first moped (quite literally a motorized, pedal-based cycle that ran on a tiny 50cc engine) Luna.
  • 1970s: One of the first (and most successful) Auto Rickshaws: Bajaj Auto-Rickshaw.
  • 1980s: Manufacturing of India’s first automatic (non-geared) scooter: Kinetic Honda.
  • 1990s: India’s first fully indigenous car: Tata Indica.
  • 2008-09: Launch of world’s cheapest car: Tata Nano.

 

You can also add the development of India’s most popular Truck-Line to this list. Pune also leads the nation in various automotive suppliers, ancillary units and industrial equipment.

 

  • India’s biggest, one of the most innovative and world’s 2nd largest forging company – Bharat Forge has been at the forefront of this pack.
  • India’s largest Diesel Engines & Generator Manufacturer – Cummins has been active in Pune’s industrial landscape since the 1960s.

 

Research and Software for Automotive Engineering also have strong presence in Pune.

 

  • It’s no coincidence that all major global CAD/CAM software and services companies have significant presence in Pune: Ansys, AutoDesk, Catia, Geometric, PTC and UGS-Siemens. I doubt if there’s any city in the world that has the presence of all these entities!
  • ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) based in Pune, is the premier automotive research institute in India, that is responsible for research and testing & certification of every vehicle model on Indian roads.

I am confident that in the coming decades, Pune will continue to innovate and be at the forefront of automotive engineering in India, and the world.

 

So now remember – next time you see a Nano on Pune Streets (traffic jams not withstanding  J ), it is as ‘Puneri’ as the ‘Puneri Pagdi’ or ‘Chitale Bakarwadi’!

 

 

NOTE –

              Checkout other Pune related blog posts: Click Here.

              This article is also reproduced on PuneTech.Com.

 

 

7 Responses

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  1. […] a proud Punekar (and also chief evangelist of PuneTech) wrote this article on his blog, about the achievements of Pune in automotive technology. It is reproduced on PuneTech with […]

  2. Abhay Patil said, on March 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I must confess that I had not been able to see anything bright and celebratory in the Nano phenomenon. And then you put the precondition that this is NOT the time to discuss. Tough indeed.

    However, it suddenly dawned on me that the Nano rush (no pun intended) will hasten the crumbling of our traffic system (if it can be called a system that is) so fast, that the powers-to-be would have just no option but to fix it the right way. And by right way I mean by (a) providing convenient, accessible and affordable public transport and (b) right-taxing the private car owners so that they pay the right price for using the public places. BTW I just heard that the Pune Commissioner has promptly hiked parking rates on arterial roads by 100%!

  3. Amit Paranjape said, on March 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Abhay,

    Agree with you fully regarding the potential issues that Nano might cause to the increasingly worsening traffic situation in Pune and other Indian cities.

    I also agree that tough measures such as taxing the private car owners might be eventually needed to deal with this, along with substantial improvements in the public transportation system & infrastructure.

    I myself debated this issue of positives and negatives of the ‘Nano phenomenon’. Then decided that if I were to take a strictly ‘technology/engineering focused’ view, then the achievement of the Tata Engineers needs to be applauded. The ‘traffic impact debate’ shouldn’t take anything away from them. I also wanted to use the ocassion to highlight Pune’s contribution in the automotive space over the years.

    I will follow-up with another post on the ‘Nano’ topic in future – this time specifically talking about the potential traffic impact, and explore possible ways to alleviate the problems.

    Thanks
    Amit

  4. Nilesh Sane said, on March 24, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Its a proud moment for every Indian. The car looks so much of an accomplished product than the other cars by TATA(which are cheap imitations of Mercedes models). Given that they have maintained the price to what they had promised, and despite the WB debacle were still able to launch the same is truly commendable.
    Will I buy the Nano? Well if they give the puny 600 cc engine some steroids and if I find some meaty rubber, I am all game for it.
    Roll it on.

    Oh BTW, wanted to add that Pune is also the hub of leading auto magzines in India.

  5. Anand said, on March 25, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Hi Amit
    I enjoy your musings as a global citizen …keep ’em coming.

    But do want to point out a minor correction in your article on the Automotive Capital of India.

    Regarding …. “1970s: India’s first moped (quite literally a motorized, pedal-based cycle that ran on a tiny 50cc engine) Luna.” Well, India’s first moped was actually called Suvega, manufactured not by Bajaj but by an obscure auto manufacturer called ‘Mopeds India Ltd’ based — of all places — in Tirupati, famous for Balaji, ladoos and a railway junction (Renigunta) that really was not in Tirupati but on the outskirts and on the Madras-Bombay railroad line). Suvega ruled the Indian roads for quite a while until the Suvega killer (Luna) came along!

  6. Sam said, on March 25, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Among all the points mentioned, hope it helps give some tonic to (nearly stagnant) automobile sector.

    Even thought i am as skeptical about it as others (about traffic-congestion-nightmares!), it better succeed otherwise tata group could be in trouble [given the corus overpricing fiasco of tata steel, poor response to tata motors FDs etc].

  7. Pawan said, on April 2, 2009 at 4:05 am

    The “traffic situation” in India need to be addressed irrespective of the “Nano rush”. Nano’s achievements as a alternative and cheaper means of transportation should not be diminished by the lack of the desired infrastructure and inappropriate attention to the same. The world-wide attention (and reaction) that it has received and statement that it has made is yet another proof of India’s potential.


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