Tata Motors has dropped two big ticket projects that once held much promise. CarToq sources reveal that the development of the Tata Nano Diesel has been halted indefinitely and the development team at Tata Motors’ Engineering Research Center (ERC) at Pimpri, off Pune, has been reconfigured to focus on other projects. On a similar note, the Indian automaker has also dropped plans of building a quadricycle based on the Magic Iris platform. Development work on this front has also been halted at the ERC.
The Nano Diesel project being called off does not come as a surprise considering the fact that diesel prices have now been deregulated. The price differential between petrol and diesel fuels is now not high, leading to buyers making the shift back to petrol powered cars, especially in the budget car segments where monthly running often tends to be under 1000 kilometers. Adding a turbo diesel engine to the Nano would have significantly pushed up costs, making the car unattractive to budget car buyers. Also, Tata Motors has been struggling with the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels of the twin cylinder diesel engine that was developed for the diesel powered Nano, making the motor unsuitable for application in a passenger car.
With the Nano Diesel shelved, Tata Motors has reallocated its energies and resources into the Nano Triple Cylinder Petrol project. The triple cylinder Tata Nano is being readied up as a well priced alternate to the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, the Hyundai Eon and the Datsun Go. The Nano with the triple cylinder petrol engine is poised to feel more car-like than ever before. With a price that is significantly higher than that the twin cylinder Nano, and with added features, the Nano Triple Cylinder Petrol model will be positioned as a compact, fuel efficient hatchback aimed at city car buyers. The new Nano with the larger petrol engine will also get a major image makeover.
The other big project that Tata Motors has stopped investing its time and resources into is the Magic Iris based quadricycle that the automaker was developing as a competitor to the Bajaj RE60. The exact reason for Tata Motors pulling out of this promising new segment remains unknown even as the Indian government now has a Quadricycle policy in place. Tata Motors has been a pioneer in last mile cargo and passenger connectivity with the likes of the Ace and the Magic lines of utility vehicles. This said, low cost quadricycles with the potential to replace the three wheeled autorickshaws in India does not seem to be on Tata Motors’ radar anymore.