Can one car transform a nation? The Ford Model T did do so a century ago when it replaced the horse, brought about a revolution in agriculture, became a stimulus to urbanization that eventually changed the landscape of America. Though the Maruti 800, the Tata Indica, the Hyundai Santro and the Maruti Alto, became engines of growth for India, these cars neither drove away the cow nor changed the way Indians travelled. Tata’s Nano was expected to change all that and become the ultimate people’s car, capturing the imagination of the middle class across nations and cultures. In spite of its petite dimensions, the Nano was meant to stand tall. Yet it did not. What caused it to fail and fall from grace despite being lauded as the ‘right product at the right time’ and ‘the most significant new car since the Ford Model T was introduced 100 years ago’? But is it really all over or is there still hope for India’s ‘little wonder’? What will the people’s cars of tomorrow be like? A Million Cars for a Billion People delves into the questions, concerns and doubts, as well as the many misconceptions and myths, that have gathered momentum over the years about India’s automotive history and the industry’s mission to create a true ‘people’s car’. The very first cars that came to India; the early beginnings of the industry; the nascent history of the automobile across nations like Germany, France, US, the UK, Italy, Japan and South Korea, is narrated with authority and charm, from the viewpoint of the quest for the ultimate people’s car.
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