In a bid to boost falling sales of its mini car, the Nano, Tata Motors (TaMo) has expanded the range by adding a variant, the Nano Twist, with electric assisted power steering or Epas and a host of new features.
Priced Rs 2.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Nano Twist is available in the XT version. Currently, the Nano retails at Rs 1.55 lakh for the base variant.
The Nano was initially marketed as ‘the cheapest car in the market’. But driven by the realisation that the Nano had failed to appeal to potential new car buyers, Tata Motors is now in the process of repositioning the vehicle as the ‘smart city car’.
“We expect the Nano Twist to contribute more than 50% to the overall Nano sales. The customers are looking for right content in the vehicle and they are ready to pay for it. Even today, our upper-end variant contributes more than 50% of our sales,” said Ankush Arora, senior vice president, passenger vehicles business unit (commercial), Tata Motors.
Most entry-level cars offer hydraulic power steering, while the Nano Twist is the first car to offer Epas, said Arora. “Most of the new-generation products are moving to electrical. Today, it’ becoming a standard.”
Launched in 2009, the Nano saw its sales declining consistently. Then TaMo chairman Ratan Tata had admitted that branding of the Nano as the cheapest car was a mistake.
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers or SIAM, April-December sales of the Nano at 13,931 units fell 72% on-year.
New features and variants thus became imperative for revival of the Nano sales. To be sure, Tata Motors launched a CNG (compressed natural gas) variant last November, and has been working to improve several aspects of the car like storage space, engine sound and noise in motion.
Besides, TaMo is looking at international markets beyond Nepal and Sri Lanka to boost Nano volumes.
There is talk of a diesel variant, but the company refused to provide any clarity on this. Reports suggest that the company may have put its diesel variant plans on hold considering the narrowing gap between petrol and diesel.
“When we have more firm plans on the diesel variant, we will be more than happy to talk about them. If the market dynamics allow for a diesel or any variant, we will work on it at an appropriate time,” said Arora.