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‘RIP, Tata Nano’. World’s cheapest car goes up in smoke

Ratan Tata had admitted that he made the mistake of promoting Nano as 'the cheapest car'. 

New Delhi: Tata Motors’ small car Nano is inching closer towards the end of its journey with just one unit produced in June, although the company maintained that no decision has been taken yet on stopping its production.

The entry-level car, brainchild of Ratan Tata who envisaged giving a safer and affordable alternative to families riding on two-wheelers, sold just three units last month in the domestic market.

In a regulatory filing, Tata Motors said there was no export of Nano in June this year. It had shipped 25 units in the same month last year. In terms of production, only one unit was produced last month as against 275 units in June 2017.

Domestic sales were at three units in June as against 167 units in the year-ago month.

A Tata Motors spokesperson said, “We are well aware that the Nano in its present form cannot continue beyond 2019 and may need fresh investments to survive. No decision has been made yet in this regard.”It become a loss-making model for Tata Motors with ex-Tata Sons chairman Mistry, who was abruptly removed from the post, even went on to claim that the Nano “consistently lost value, peaking at Rs1,000 crore”.

The death of Nano

  • The Nano’s death was confirmed by production numbers: Tata Motors Ltd. produced 1 unit in June, down from 275 in the same month last year. Exports were zero, versus 25 in June 2017. The company acknowledged that the car in its “present form cannot continue beyond 2019.”
  • The expiry of the ‘people’s car,’ as Tata Motors branded it in 2008, holds lessons for automakers hoping to make it in India: While consumers may be value-conscious, cutting costs to bone in pursuit of a gimmicky claim to fame is no use if the end result is a second-rate vehicle.
  • The Nano’s failure to sell stands in stark contrast to the rest of the Indian car market. From motorbikes to cars and trucks, growth in every segment is picking up. Passenger vehicles, including SUVs, jumped 38% in June.
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