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Marketing Management Case Study

Case Title:

Nano, Tata’s ‘People’s Car’: Who is Marketing?

Publication Month and Year :  July 2009

Authors: C.V. Chiranjeev, Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Industry: Automobile


Case Code: MM0004

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available


Never before in the history had, a new product in the automobile industry created such a huge buzz after Ford's famous Model ‘T’. Ever since Ratan Tata announced that he would make a ‘People’s car’ for a price less than USD $2,500, in 2003 Geneva Auto show, it mystified various groups of people about the possibility of price, power, quality, performance and other factors. However, Ratan Tata was never to be bogged down with by apprehensions and or naysayers. During 2008, Nano was all over the press for the wrong reasons (and that probably would have been a blessing in disguise for Nano’s buzz) and all the critics wereare silenced for ever when the car was launched on March 23rd 2009 with various public and private sector banks offering loans to customers. Nano and Ratan Tata became almost synonymous providing India Inc. in general and Tata Group in particular a global corporate canvass. It definitely was the most awaited car in the world in the last several decades. Timing was just perfect to suit the recessionary pressures. This reduced the need for advertising and provided an unpaid coverage, worth about INR 100 crore, during on the launch day worth about INR 100 crore. It is perhaps the first time in the history that an automobile pre-launch is enjoying such a bare minimum promotional expenditure. One wonders whether a similar idea or a project ventured by a person lacking the business credentials that Nano is enjoying, can create a similar buzz. The case ponders in over analysing who and what is behind the buzz marketing of Tata Nano?

The case was written primarily to understand how a revolutionary new product can create buzz marketing when the product is planned with a proper marketing mix and meets the needs of consumers. The case also debates whether any other similar product without such corporate brand credentials, can create the same buzz as is created by Nano.

Pedagogical Objective:

  • To understand the evolution of ‘NANO’, Tata’s people’s car
  • To debate and analyse whether a revolutionary product can be a powerful substitute for huge marketing spends
  • To underscore the importance of buzz marketing for a new product launch and analysing the ways and means for achieving effective buzz marketing results
  • To debate on the kind of pre-launch publicity that could have been received even if a revolutionary product is launched by a first-timer with no established business credentials whatsoever.

Keywords : Tata Nano, Buzz Marketing, Viral Marketing, Tata’s Nano, Commoditization; Shrinking product life cycles;People’s car; Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL); Ratan Tata; Tata Group; Bajaj Auto Limited; Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO); Multi Utility Vehicles (MUV); Tata Indica; Marketing Management; Marketing Mix; Market Segmentation; Product Life Cycle; New Product Development; Consumer Behavior; Marketing Case Studies; MBA; Marketing Course for MBA Marketing Course Case Map; Course Case Map; Case Map


  • Indian Automobile Industry: An Overview
  • The Making of Nano: The Nanomics
  • Who is Marketing Nano?
  • Will the Buzz Give Nano Fizz?

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