Meera Vs Nano

Published: 07th April 2008
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If there is a will there is away and Tata's have proved this saying by launching Nano, the people's car. Ratan Tata's dream car Nano took its shape and even before its launch it received a lot of recognition as well as appreciation. The Nano did not only the fulfill Tata's dream but also paid tribute to late Shankarrao Kulkarni, who had also possessed and came close to fulfilling the dream of small car 50 years ago..

In the year 1975 Shankarrao also wanted to make the small car for the masses at the price tag of Rs.12, 000 and in 1949 he created a prototype and improvised five more models over the next two decades. The model was introduced in the year 1970, was a fully working model of his dream mini car and was much smaller than the Tata Nano. In the words of Hemant Kulkarni (grandson of late Shankarrao). Shankarrao was very much obsessed with automobiles and had developed the idea of making small car giving it a name called 'Meera" it was very similar to Nano in terms of engine placement, wiper, seating capacity as well the same in terms of fuel economy too.

Shankarrao, who had a good knowledge of auto engineering, was working under Kirloskars with a team of 10-15 people. All components of the car, including the engine were made locally but some parts like the tires were sourced from Ceat, the electric components were from Lucas, while the glass products came from Ogale Glassworks. He also introduced rubber suspension, adjustable ground clearance, three doors and tilting wheels in a four-wheeler, for the first time in India. It was in the year 1949 the first model of small car with two seater was introduced and in 1951 the three seater was out.

The car was ready to be launched commercially and had also tied up with companies to make spare parts available, but things did not fall on the right tracks for Mr. Kulkarani's dream. He took the car to Mumbai where it was exhibited at the Gateway of India. According to Hemant Kulkarni, red tape and bureaucracy were responsible for the failure. Later he approached the central government but by then Suzuki also ventured into Indian and he lost the battle. More than Rs 50 lakh was invested on the car at the development stage but unfortunately the small car dream eventually remained as a dream itself. One good thing about Meera was that she was known to the Ichalkaranji and also attracted a lot of crowd at the Belgaon engineering exhibition.

Now with the Tata's small car making its debut, the Kulkarni's are now happy that their grandfather's dream is being realized and the family plans to pay homage to Shankarrao on his birth centenary on January 26. A little briefing about Nano and you will know about its similarity with Meera. The talk of the town Nano was unveiled at the 9th Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi and will be launched commercially by October this year. The name 'Nano' was opted to reflect the size and the trend.

Nano is available in both petrol and diesel version. This four-seater is empowered with 624cc; two cylinder engines deliver 33 bhp. The battery is placed at the rear creating more interior space but the boot becomes smaller. Nano comes with independent front and rear suspension and centrally housed instrument panel. The gear-shift is enhanced with 4-speed manual transmission. On the safety feature, the car is undergone complete frontal crash test as per the standard norms as well as the Bharat 3 (Euro 4) emission norms.

Nano when compared with Maruti 800, on bumper-to- bumper length, it is 8% cent shorter than Maruti 800 but is 21 per cent more spacious in interior volume. It is available in three variants. Starting from Base model to two deluxe models with AC. The Base model will be priced at Rs. 1 Lakh (ex-showroom).

Finally 'Meera' the dream car of late Kulkarni was seen in Tata's Nano.

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