It's not any deficiency in its make or marketing, but the agitation at Singur that killed the Nano car, Ratan Tata believes.
Once seen as a future of urban mobility creating a global sensation, Nano, since its launch, failed to capture consumers' fancy, and sales rapidly declined with the Tata Motors management still grappling efforts to prop up sales.
Ratan Tata blamed the farmer's agitation led by then Opposition leader of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, in 2008 that forced shifting of the project to Sanand in Gujarat.
"The shifting of the plant had a very high negative cost to us in the sense that when we launched the Nano it created global excitement and we had 3 lakh of order with full payment and a waiting list of two years when we announced the product. In the years that we lost in moving from Singur to Sanand much of the excitement died with it. People disbelieved that there were any such products while competitors got a chance to bad mouth the product in its absence in the market," former chairman of Tata Group told a gathering of city-based industrialists.
West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Thursday countered Ratan Tata's remarks on lack of industrialisation in the state saying he may be suffering from delusion and that was why he made such comments.
"Tata is getting old and suffering from delusion. I do not know why he cannot understand about what is happening," Mitra told reporters on the sidelines of a CII seminar in Kolkata. Mitra spoke of the investments that Tatas are putting in the state and said, either the chairman emeritus has not kept track of his companies, or he has gone delusional.
About six years back Ratan Tata announced his decision in Kolkata to suspend work on setting up of the factory and relocate it elsewhere due to "continued confrontation and agitation at the site".
Returning to the city after two years, Ratan Tata keeps facing questions over his decision, and he never feels tired in responding.
Yet, he has so far stopped short of putting the blame on the lack of popularity of Nano on the agitation.
On a positive note, Tata said giving back Jaguar and Land Rover its lost glory after being taken over By Tata Motors was his most glorious moment. He said facing the British workers was his proudest feeling in his long and eventful professional life when he explained them that Indians were not taking over the plants to kill their jobs and shift it to India or turn its factory into a housing project.
"Those questions were asked in my meeting with the employees and I assured them that there were no such objectives and told them that we will work shoulder to shoulder and move these brands back to glory that they had. It is very rewarding to walk through the plant today and workers coming and telling me you did what you promised, " Tata told the gathering.