Indian carmaker Tata, which handed over the keys to its first Nano customer earlier this month, has begun deliveries in earnest of the world’s cheapest new car, and has also begun moving the car by rail, according Prem K Verma, the CEO of Tata Motors Limited Distribution Company (TMLD), the sales and distribution spin-off created by Tata in 2008. Tata has allocated the first 100,000 Nanos to customers from a lottery draw.
Verma told Automotive Logistics that the dispatches are “as per schedule” and the company had “no major concerns” about bottlenecks or logistics challenges. “[Logistics] bottlenecks and challenges were budgeted for in the planning stages itself,” he said.
Verma told Automotive Logistics earlier this year that TMLD was in negotiations with the Indian Railways about arranging rail transport from its plant in Pantnagar in the north of India, as well as the mother plant in Gujarat, Sanand, which will start production by March 2010. Those plans have come to fruition as Verma revealed the company is using rail for the Nano.
Jasjit Sethi, the CEO of TCI Supply Chain Solutions -- the exclusive third party logistics provider for both inbound and outbound logistics for the Tata Nano -- told Automotive Logistics that rail movements represented about 15-20% of Nano volumes from Pantnagar. Deliveries are moving direct to dealer right now.
"We have had no major surprises for neither inbound nor outbound for Nano," said Sethi. "We had previously delivered the display vehicles for all the dealers and so had planned the movements months in advance."
Tata is also reported to be using a CKD style of delivery in certain parts of the country, where kits are shipped to dealers or hubs and assembled for local customers, a method not dissimilar to bicycle distribution. But this method is not currently being used in the distribution. According to Verma, “it is just an idea which is being explored.”
Deliveries from the lottery customers will be completed in the last quarter of 2010, according to Verma. The sales uptake has been positive, as Ratan Tata has already said that the production run for the next two year has already been sold. Tata surprised analysts earlier this week by reporting a 58% rise in profits (excluding Jaguar Land Rover), in which Nano sales contributed $500m in April. The company also announced last week that it would sell the Nano in South America together with Fiat.