Nano being 'refreshed' to realise full potential


The world's cheapest car, the Tata Nano, is being “refreshed” to realise its full potential, says Ratan Tata.

"We were not prepared to market the car as we should have. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that momentum got lost," he said in an interview.

He said the Nano, nicknamed “the people's car”, could not realise its full potential in the initial years due to issues like plant transfer and insufficient advertising and dealership network.

Asked whether these issues were being addressed, Tata said, "It is being addressed now and I think we will succeed. It is a three-four year-old product (and) we have to do something to refresh the product, which we are also doing."

To a query on what went wrong with the car, which had a price tag of Rs 1 lakh and hit the roads in 2009, he said there were "several things", including events in West Bengal.

"It caused us to move and caused us to build another plant. That cost us another year from the time of the launch which created a lot of excitement and three months from that launch date, the car should have been on roads. Instead, because of those events, it went on the road a year and half after that event," Tata said.

The Nano was originally planned to roll out from a plant in Singur, West Bengal, but the plant had to be shifted to Sanand in Gujarat after political protests at its earlier plant.

The first Nano rolled out from a factory in Pantnagar in Uttarakhand in 2009, while output from Sanand began about a year later in June 2010.

The car was launched with an initial ex-factory price tag of close to Rs 1 lakh for the basic model, while the current ex-showroom price here is Rs 1.55-2.16 lakh. Tata Motors has sold more than 2.2 lakh units of the Nano since its launch, while sales grew by 5.8 per cent in the last financial year to 74,521 units.