A look at Tata Nano: The World's Cheapest Car

In the BBC today: "India is fast becoming the centre of a revolution in motoring. A new generation of ultra-cheap cars is about to hit the streets, allowing millions of would-be drivers to dream of personal mobility for themselves and their families. The Tata Nano was unveiled with fanfare in January. Its basic price - about $2,500 - is about half of its rivals." (Read more here)

The video in this article is quite interesting, the Nano does look very sluggish, it seems to take ages just to get up to moving speed, but I guess the target market won't really mind. After all, they're upgrading from a "family bike" or just unpedestrianizing themselves.

I couldn't help noticing though, that while the Tata engineer says this is not reinventing the car, it really is reinventing the car. Okay, this might not be the quickest, or most beautiful thing in the world, but the design innovation in this thing seems incredible. And not just that, the cheap price could only have been made possible as a result of innovation in process and operations management.

Now, just a couple of days ago I was in Brussels where we were talking about the fact that the EU still has not (can not hope to) meet the objective of the Lisbon Agenda which was to increase R&D spending up to 3% of GDP. The speakers were also lamenting that while things get invented in the EU (MP3 music for instance), they get commercialized in the US. At the same time, according to trends, it appears that China will now actually equal or exceed the EU in total R&D spend by next year - and you thought China could only imitate!