The Tata Nano will be getting its third makeover since its launch in 2009. Known as the cheapest car in the world, the Nano will be getting an 800 cc engine. Meanwhile, the company is also thinking about offering a diesel option. The makeover was planned in response to poor sales, which fell to a new low in November. The company set a goal of 10,000 units but it only sold 3,500 cars. Insiders said that an all-new Nano may be released 12 months from now, priced at about Rs 2.5 lakh for the base petrol version.
This new version is expected to rival Hyundai Eon and the Maruti Alto. Analysts said that the diesel option is a good move. Basudeb Banerjee of brokerage Quant Capital said that the market will have a more accepting attitude of a Nano 800 cc diesel.
He also thinks that Tata Motors will also be able to raise its volumes with this variant. What he points out as a deterrent though is the brand positioning of the Nano. According to company officials, the company won’t phase out the current 624-cc version even with its poor performance. It will still have the People's Car tag while the new model will be marketed at the more aspiring consumers.
However, several auto experts doubt whether the makeover will have much impact in a market that’s dominated by giants such as Hyundai and Suzuki. During a PTI interview last week, Tata Group’s Chairman said that Tata Nano is being 'refreshed' to reach its maximum potential. He said that the company wasn’t ready to market the car as it should have, primarily because of its lost momentum.