Engineers’ radical thinking leads to India's Nano car


When India’s Tata Motors Ltd. set out to make the world’s least-expensive passenger car, it knew it had to do more than simply remove parts from an existing vehicle.

It had to rethink every aspect of the car to meet a target of selling a complete vehicle for $2,500. That required what Warren Harris, president and chief operating officer of Tata Technologies Inc., calls “frugal engineering” — something traditional carmakers may not understand.

A video about the Nano creative process is here.

“A low-cost mindset is part of the DNA of an Indian engineer,” Harris said Aug. 3, during the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City. “If [a typical auto-maker] was challenged with the responsibility of coming up with a low-cost vehicle,
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