The war to position “people’s” products has begun.
Intel bailed out of Nicholas Negroponte’s One laptop Per Child (OLPC) project to launch it’s World Ahead program with it’s low cost Classmate PC. Not too long ago, there was such a thing as a Linux-based “People’s PC” in Asia. To most marketers, people’s products aren’t sexy, and don’t make money. So it was only expected when Bill Gates scoffed at the idea of the $100 laptop from OLPC. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft works its way back into the picture.
This week’s big news is the $2,500 “People’s Car” from Tata Motors in India –not the first time a car has been positioned as a people’s car. Henry Ford, who knew a thing or two about positioning, called the Model-T the People’s Car.
While Tata’s ‘”Nano” is all the rage, there’s another competitor aiming at this sweet spot: Bajaj Motors. Most media coverage talks of the opportunity for a people’s car as converting scooter owners to car owners. In Asia, there is a huge segment of commuters who use the three-wheeler variously known as the “tut-tut,” the “auto-rickshaw,” and the “scooter taxi.” Not by accident Tata’s Nano looks like a souped up version of the tut-tut.