Tata Nano: End of road for the people’s car as dealers stop placing orders?

The Tata Nano hatchback seems to be on life support. Dealers have stopped placing orders for the car with Tata Motors as demand is very weak. In October, the Nano’s sales fell to a lifetime low of 57 units. October is a month that’s right in the middle of India’s festive season. Such poor demand for the Nano means that buyers have mostly deserted the car for other affordable options like the Maruti Alto and the Renault Kwid. Also, regular production of the Nano is not taking place at Tata Motors’ Sanand factory.

A source has revealed production information of the Nano to BusinessStandard, with the following statement,

The Nano demand is mainly from the taxi segment. We have not stopped production of the car altogether. However, since the focus is on making the higher volume models like Tiago (more than 6,200 units a month) and Tigor (around 2,300 units a month), we do not make Nanos every day. The plant makes Nanos as per production targets given to us.

Even Tata vendors echo a similar sentiment. Here’s a statement from a vendor,

Production for Nano is not viable. But we also supply parts for Tiago and to the nearby plants of Ford and Maruti. Our plant at Sanand is thus running. We have not stopped making parts for Nano yet, but from how things look, production could stop soon.

What this indicates is that the Nano is now being produced only upon customer orders. The future for the Nano does not look favourable. Tata Motors has not asked vendors to develop BS-6 compliant parts for the Nano, and this means that the car may not have a future beyond 2020 with a petrol engine.

There’s still a sliver of hope for the Nano. Tata has begun supplying the Nano’s bodyshell to Jayem Automotive, a Coimbatore based engineering company. Jayem is all set to launch the Neo – an electric vehicle based on the Nano. So, the electric Nano may still exist even though the petrol engined model goes out of production. However, it is not clear if the Nano Electric will be sold under the Tata Motors brand.