The Tata Nano is on life support. While Tata Motors hasn’t yet pulled the plug on India’s very own ‘people’s car’, time seems to be running out for Ratan Tata’s brainchild for affordable mobility. In fiscal year 2019 (April 2018 to March 2019), Tata sold only 1,851 units of the Nano in India, a very steep fall from the 7,591 units it sold in fiscal year 2018. Sales of the Nano have been falling each consecutive year from 2012, and this despite Tata Motors constantly upgrading and refreshing the car. Dealers across India are said to be clearing stocks of the Nano, and aren’t placing fresh orders for the affordable, city car.
The Nano was introduced with a 624cc, twin cylinder petrol engine that produced a modest 37 Bhp-52 Nm. Paired to a 4 speed manual gearbox, the twin cylinder engine has enough pep for city streets, for the Nano weighed well under 650 kilograms. In 2014, Tata Motors added a 5 speed AMT option to the car, making it the ultimate city runabout. Sales didn’t pick up though, despite the Nano AMT being the country’s most affordable automatic car. Along with the AMT option, Tata Motors comprehensively reworked the Nano’s design and interiors, adding more features and improving the car inside-out.
Tata’s efforts haven’t really given the Nano a sales push, and this is one reason why the car could soon go off Tata Motors’ line-up in India. While there has been talk of reintroducing the Nano as an electric city car, not much seems to have come out of this plan. In the future, Tata Motors may bring back the Nano as a city electric car, but for now, the writing on the wall doesn’t look good for what was India’s answer to the legendary Volkswagen Beetle. Like the Beetle, the Nano is also rear wheel driven, is spacious, affordable to buy, and very cheap to run and maintain. It’s a pity that such an effective car didn’t sell better, for marketing let it down.