The Tata Nano, overtly published and praised in 2009 when it debut in limited locations in India as the world’s cheapest car, is now facing a different reputation — and an uncertain future.
Lottery luck was originally needed to purchase a Nano, the most well-known original vehicle of Tata Motors. But sales are now slow for the $2,200 car, likely prompted by two reasons.
First, several Nano models have caught fire since April 2009 via exhaust or electrical systems issues.
Nicknamed “the people’s car,” the Nano has also had increased competition from sightly more expensive cars like the General Motors India and top-selling Maruti Suzuki. Neither are viewed yet like the Nano as a “poor man’s car.”
India is the second-fastest-growing market for car sales in the world after China. Tata hoped the Nano would be a coveted car for India’s 300 million emerging middle class citizens.
But according to a report in the Washington Post, only 509 of the estimated varying 7,000 Tata Nano models available at the carmaker’s factory in the western state of Gujarat sold in Novemeber.
The poor Nano sales are the opposite of overall automobile sales in India. In the six-month period from April to October, 2010, the country’s sales increased 33 percent from the same time frame in 2009.
In an attempt to reverse plunging Nano sales, Tata Motors has introduced several initiatives.
* A free four-year manufacturer’s warranty;
* Marketing campaign to encourage Nano owner to bring their car to dealers to assess potential problems;
* Debut of training clinics;
* Debut of television commercials;
* Nationwide available of new Nano models from 874 sales outlets.
* Financing within 48 hours.
Article Last Updated: September 8, 2021.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.