Tata Motors has stopped production of the iconic Nano hatchback at its Sanand factory in Gujarat. However, you will still be able to buy a Tata Nano if you want it. Well, the Nano would be built-to-order going forward, which means that if customers can convince a Tata dealer into ordering the car, Tata Motors will still build the car on an order-to-order basis. However, this does make the future of the Tata Nano quite uncertain as the automaker could eventually stop making the car altogether if demand drops. For now, the Nano can still be bought, on special order, much like how very high-end cars are sold. Who would have thought that the modern day Volkswagen Beetle equivalent would become an order-only car?
Be that as it may, Tata dealers across India have been clearing stocks of the Nano for the past many months. In fact, Tata produced only 3 units of the car in all of June 2018, raising apprehensions that the Nano’s end had finally arrived. When launched in 2008, the Tata Nano was the world’s cheapest car, and Ratan Tata kept his promise of pricing the car at just Rs. 1 lakh. The Nano wowed the world initially, and there were a spurt of bookings for the tiny city runabout. A few stray incidents of the Nano catching fire did dent its popularity in a big way, and the fact that Tata Motors could not commence production from the originally envisaged Nano factory in West Bengal did take away a lot of momentum from the car.
But what really went against the car though was the ‘cheap’ tag that was attached to it. This meant that a lot of first-time buyers were willing to be seen in a used car, but not a new Tata Nano. While the Tata Nano will go into marketing books as a case study of how marketing killed a fabulous product, the car remains one of the best examples of Indian frugal engineering. Key highlights of the Nano were its 624cc twin cylinder engine, a rear wheel drive layout, 4 speed manual and 5 speed AMT options, a very spacious cabin and in later models, Bluetooth connectivity and even a boot. The Nano going out of serial production represents the end of an era. Will the Nano rise like a phoenix and be remade into an electric car? Time shall tell.