Tata to launch diesel variant to accelerate Nano purchases

Tata Nano emax CNG Tata Nano emax CNG Homegrown automobiles giant Tata Motors, which has seen sales of passenger vehicles slide for most of the past one year, is looking at launching the much-awaited diesel version of small car Nano in the current financial year to spruce up volumes.

“We have already made organisational changes in the company and strengthened the team. We recently introduced eight new products across five platforms under the Horizonnext intiative, which included CNG variants of some of our products. The diesel version of the Nano would follow soon within this financial year,” said Karl Slym, managing director, Tata Motors.  

ALSO READ: Tata Motors to go ahead with investment of Rs 3,000 crore
The Nano is currently available in the petrol option, priced between Rs 1.45 lakh and Rs 2.20 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). A CNG variant of the Nano is slated for launch by October this year. Industry observers said the diesel-powered Nano could be a game changer for the company, which has seen sales decline by 35 per cent in the first four months of this financial year.

Sales of Nano have crashed by a whopping 78 per cent to 6,017 units between April and July, against 27,625 units sold in the corresponding period last year. Sources said the diesel variant would be powered by an 800cc engine and deliver fuel efficiency of around 30 km a litre..

Mini cars (with engine displacement up to 1 litre) today account for 23% of the 2.68 million strong passenger vehicle market in India, but the segment does not offer any diesel variants. As many as 186,102 mini cars were sold in the country till July this year.

ALSO READ: Auto makers pray for buyers' blessings during festivals
Among rivals, Korean auto major Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) earlier this week launched its first diesel offering in the small car segment with the Grand. The Grand is powered by a 1.1 litre diesel engine and delivers fuel efficiency of 24 kmpl. Maruti Suzuki too is developing an 800 cc diesel engine in-house, which will be strapped on to its new small car by the end of 2014.

German auto component maker Bosch is said to be developing the 'Engine Management System' for both Tata and Maruti's 800cc diesel engine.

The smallest diesel engine available in the country today is the Chevrolet Beat (996 cc).

In the first four months of this financial year, Tata Motors’ market share in the passenger vehicle industry has skid to a record low of 8.9% from 11.8% at the end of the last fiscal. Sales for the company have dropped across segments by around 34.82% to 70,736 units in the period. The passenger vehicle market contracted by 7.49% to 793,708 units in the same time.

ALSO READ: Soon, buy Tata Nano online