Our man was at the launch of the Tata Nemo yesterday: read his report here
11 January 2008

It was one of the hottest news stories in the world yesterday; Ratan Tata launches his vision of safe, affordable automotive transport to an expectant throng of Indian and wider-world media. The crowd goes wild. And you can find out what it was like to be there, in Hall 11 of the New Delhi motor show, below.Autocar's editorial director Mel Nichols made the trip to New Delhi for the big launch; his report is below, and his pictures are in our gallery.Once you've finished pouring over those, don't forget to watch the video of the launch too, grabbed from YouTube for your perusal. Enjoy.

Tata delivers India's new baby "lakh car"

The launch of Tata's revolutionary £1300 Nano "car for the people" wasn't just one of the motor industry's most significant; it was one of its wildest.Thousands of journalists, photographers and tv crew - along with anticipative execs from other car companies and Indian officials - had waited for hours around the Tata stand for the car's unveiling.Just getting into Hall 11 at the New Delhi Auto Expo was a feat in itself.Orderly queues? Forget it. The clever ducked out of the crush and went and found another way in through Hall 10. Seeing what the Nano looked like, hearing what it's got, and how much it would actually cost, had become an obsession for Indians - and the car industry - after Ratan Tata's promise years ago that his company would build a car that could be bought for "one lakh" - the magical sum of 100,000 rupees (about £1300). This is India's Model T Ford.So hundreds more people than Tata expected crammed in to witness automotive history in the making. Ratan Tata spelled it out by comparing the Nano's significance with the Wright brothers' first flight and the Moon landing. And not long after 70-year-old Mr Tata and two of his staff drove red, silver and yellow Nanos out onto the stage, the desperately excited Indian photographers and commentators could hold back no longer. The mob surged forward over the barriers onto the stage, in what looked like a riot in the making, and packed around the cute little cars. Tata staff linked arms to form barriers around them. Some Japanese tv people - rather insultingly wearing white anti-germ masks - were horrified by the chaos."This would never happen in our country," one said. But this was India, and the covers were off the people's car at last. None of us there had ever seen a car launch like it.

Mel Nichols

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