A car that was once touted to be India’s Volkswagen Beetle (or the people’s car) is staring at a bleak future. Sales have slowed to a trickle, so much so that Tata Motors dispatched only three units of the Nano in the entire month of June 2018. It more or less seems that the production of the Tata Nano has come to a grinding halt at Tata Motors’ Sanand factory in Gujarat. The Nano could be pulled off from the Tata product range in the coming months and dealerships across India are said to be selling off existing stock at big discounts. Notably, dealers aren’t placing orders for the Nano, which also explains the nearly non-existent dispatches.
While Tata Motors has officially yet to pull the plug on the Nano hatchback, poor demand has put the car’s future in grave peril, at least in its current form. The Nano may be resuscitated with an electric variant in future given the fact that Tata Motors already supplies the body and other mechanical bits to Jayem Auto, which is building the Neo – an electric car based on the Nano. Jayem Auto has already begun supplying the Neo electric car to Ola – a cab aggregator. In the coming months, expect to see more Neo electric cars plying on Indian roads as taxis. When will Tata bring back the Nano with an electric engine? For now, there’s no clarity about this.
Meanwhile, the Nano in its current form features a 624-cc, twin cylinder engine with modest outputs of 37 Bhp-52 Nm. The motor is fuel-injected, liquid-cooled and is offered with two gearbox options – a 4-speed manual and a 5-speed AMT. The Nano AMT is a particularly effective city runabout, what with its ultra compact dimensions, super affordable price tag and phenomenal fuel efficiency. However, buyers seem to have given up on the Tata Nano even as a city car. It’s a shame that a car that could transform mobility in India finds itself in a dark corner, with virtually no takers.