Zero production, sale of Tata Nano in January

PTI New Delhi | Updated on February 05, 2019

There were no sales of Tata Nano in the domestic market last month. File Photo

Tata Motors has no plans to invest further in the ‘people’s car’ as it will not meet the new safety and emission norms

Amid speculation over the future of Tata Motors’ Nano, the company in January did not produce nor sell even a single unit of the small car, which was once dubbed as the ‘people’s car’. Recently, company officials had hinted that production and sales of the Nano would stop from April 2020 as Tata Motors has no plans to invest further on Ratan Tata’s dream car to meet strict emission norm under BS-VI and other upcoming safety regulations.

According to a regulatory filing, Tata Motors said zero unit of Nano was produced in January this year as against 83 units in the same month last year. Similarly, there were no sales of Nano in the domestic market last month as compared to 62 units in January 2018.

In terms of exports, the company did not ship any unit of the model last month same as it was in the year-ago month. When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson said, “As mentioned before, the Nano in its current form will not meet the new safety and emission norms and may need infusion of fresh investments. No decision has been made yet in this regard. We continue to produce Nano catering to customer demands.”

The spokesperson further said decisions on product life cycle are a holistic view taken after considering the market developments, regulations and emerging competitive landscape and decisions are announced as and when they are taken.

“Production planning of a car is a conscious management of demand, system inventory and planned efficiencies. Therefore, speculating on the fate of a car based on a month’s production figure is something the company would not like to participate in,” the spokesperson added.

In June last year, the company produced just one unit of the Nano and sold three units in the domestic market. After that the company continued to produce Nano at its Sanand plant based on market demand and has insisted that it hasn’t taken a decision on the future of Nano.

The Nano, which was unveiled in January 2008 at the Auto Expo with much expectations of being the people’s car, could not live up to the billing. The car was launched in the market in March 2009 with an initial price of close to Rs 1 lakh for the basic model despite cost escalations, with Ratan Tata insisting that ‘a promise is a promise’.

(By: Lavanya Prabhakaran)

However, from the beginning, Nano courted trouble. It was originally planned to be rolled out from Tata Motors’ proposed plant at Singur in West Bengal, where it faced intense political and farmer protests against land acquisition. The company had to shift its production to a new plant at Sanand in Gujarat. Instances of the car catching fire initially after it was launched didn’t help its cause either.

Ratan Tata had admitted that the company made the mistake of promoting the Nano as ‘the cheapest car’. It became a loss-making model for Tata Motors with ex-Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry, who was abruptly removed from the post, even going on to claim that the Nano “consistently lost value, peaking at Rs 1,000 crore”.

Mistry had also termed the Nano as one of the “legacy hotspots” and there was “no line of sight to profitability for the Nano, any turnaround strategy”. He had also claimed that Tata Motors did not stop producing the car due to “emotional reasons”.

Published on February 05, 2019

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