With emerging markets proving to be some of the most important to the world's automakers, companies are continually looking for any opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. But the boldest move yet to gain market share in these regions wasn't introduced by one of the industry superpowers, but rather by India's own Tata Motors.
The $2,500 Tata Nano promises to be the world's most inexpensive vehicle when it hits the market, and other automakers are taking notice. Nissan has already promised a $3,000 car through a joint-venture with Bajaj of India, and other car makers could soon follow suit.
During a Q&A session with General Motors chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner was asked whether GM was considering a vehicle like the Tata Nano for emerging markets. While no such model is currently under development, Wagoner says that GM is watching the situation "very closely."
"We're glad that Tata has decided to take on such a vehicle and we'll continue to monitor its progress," Wagoner said. "We're also glad that [Tata Motors] is taking on the segment first," he continued with a smile.
Wagoner said that if the Nano is met with success, GM could launch its own $2,500 car. But look for the Nano-fighter to be exclusive to the Indian market. "We've done some research and a car of that level only seems to make sense in India," he said. "Even in markets like Russia, customers expect a larger vehicle, and it certainly wouldn't make sense in the U.S."
Wagoner added that GM already offers a vehicle in the $3,000-$3,500 range in some areas, but said that a vehicle below that price point could be in the cards.
If the Tata Nano proves to be a sales success, look for GM to launch its own version in the coming years.