Case Detail

Case Summary

Positioning the Tata Nano (A)

Case Number: 5-311-506(A), Year Published: 2011, Revision Date: May 15, 2014

HBS Number: KEL602

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Authors: Alice Tybout; Natalie Fahey

Key Concepts

New Product Launch, Brand Positioning, Aligning Marketing Mix with Brand Positioning, Forecasting and Managing Demand


The case focuses on positioning a new brand, the Tata Nano. The car has been widely publicized as the world’s cheapest car at Rs.1 lakh. Students must consider the gap between the ultimate target, the huge emerging middle class of Indian consumers, and the limited capacity and distribution available in choosing a target. They also must select between alternative competitive frames and the various points of difference they highlight. The case unfolds in two stages. The first decision point is in 2009, at the launch of the time of the product launch. The second decision point is 18 months later, after production capacity has increased and some product safety issues have arisen.

Learning Objectives

The primary goal of the case is to illustrate the choices made in developing a strong brand positioning and the interrelationship between these choices. Students select a target and an appropriate competitive frame of reference and point of difference for that target and summarize these elements in a positioning statement. The case also highlights the importance of making promotion and distribution decisions that are consistent with the positioning.

Number of Pages: 12

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: India

Industry: Automotive

Organization Name: Tata Motors Ltd

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: Consultant

Year of Case: 2011