Cars in India, Cars in Hong Kong – Nanos & TeslaSaturday, 15 October 2016
The Tata Nano launched in India in 2008 with the aim of being the world’s most affordable car. The tiny two cylinder 624 cc vehicle was going to get people off their family motorcycles (typically carrying husband, wife and several children) and on to four wheels at a cost of one lakh. A lakh is 100,000 rupees and at the time that was around US$1000. Not many one lakh Nanos were sold, in fact not many Nanos were sold at all.
Today the starting price is more like two lakh (although the rupee has fallen so that’s around US$3000), but it seems when people in India have gone to all the effort of saving enough money to buy a car they’d rather buy something bigger than a Nano. On my recent visit to India I hardly saw a Nano on the street in Mumbai. Away from the big cities in towns like Ratnagiri, however, there seemed to be plenty of Nanos around, looking very good in bright orange as well.
I went from India to Hong Kong where, in between doing my bit to keep Donald Trump down, I was amazed how many Model S Teslas I saw on the streets. Partly it’s a result of the Hong Kong government offering huge tax incentives to encourage electric cars. You can drive off in a Tesla for around HK$600,000 – that’s about US$80,000 – way less than the equivalent Mercedes Benz or BMW would cost you.
Not that there aren’t lots of German luxwagons in Hong Kong, but I used to muse if there were enough camera buyers to buy all the cameras in Hong Kong shops. Well can Tesla turn out enough cars to satisfy all the Hong Kong Tesla customers?