Dubbed as ‘the cheapest car’ when it was launched with much fanfare at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2008, the Tata Nano may well be on the verge of being phased out. However, the company has said that no decision has been taken on ceasing its production.
The entry-level car which was the brainchild of Ratan Tata, sold just three units in June in the domestic market.
A look at the contrasting numbers from last year tells the story.
Tata Motors, in a regulatory filing, stated that only one unit was produced last month as compared to 275 units in June 2017.
Domestic sales in June this year were just three units while 167 units were sold in the corresponding period last year.
Not a single Nano was exported this year while 25 units were shipped in the same month last year.
A Tata Motors spokesperson was non-committal on whether the company has decided to stop production and said, “We are well aware that the Nano in its present form cannot continue beyond 2019 and may need fresh investments to survive. No decision has been made yet in this regard."
Tata Nano entered the market in March 2009 with an initial price of around Rs 1 lakh for the basic model and saw some cost escalations along the way.
However, the Nano project has been embroiled in controversy since its inception.
Originally planned to be manufactured from Tata Motors’ proposed plant at Singur in West Bengal, it faced farmer protests as well as political opposition over land acquisition.
There were also reports of the car catching fire in some instances which dampened consumer interest.
Meanwhile, Tata Motors recently formed an electric mobility division with special focus on this potentially promsing sector.
The plan is to provide a complete turnkey solution for companies, shared-mobility providers, government agencies and others.
As part of the idea, Tata Motors will offer the car, Tata Power will set up charging stations while Tata Realty will help build physical infrastructure, dedicated electric vehicle stations.
TCS, the IT arm of the company, is looking to create a software platform or an app and also offer back-end support.