With Tata Motors declaring that only one unit of Nano car was manufactured and last month and only three sold in the country, there is speculation that the curtains are to go down on what started as a vision for the ‘cheapest car in the world’ which was to be priced at less than a lakh of Rupees.
In June, 2017 in contrast the company had exported 25 units and sold 167 units.
The brand of the ‘cheapest’ car hurt the model and despite the price raised to two and a half to three times of what was originally visualised, the car never quite took off despite technological innovations.
“I dreamt of manufacturing Nano cars in 2003. I’ve fulfilled my promise of providing a four-wheeler at a mere cost of ₹one lakh,” Tata Motors CMD Ratan Tata had said in 2009 after launching the model.
Dogged by controversy from the beginning, the plant was shifted from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat. It was a big boost for then Gujarat chief minister Modi, who famously boasted, “I SMSed him to come to Gujarat. The one-rupee SMS did this wonder.”
However, soon after the car entered the market, reports of Nano catching fire damaged the prospects.
Yet, a decade after it was first showcased, Tata Nano’s sales have collapsed. However, there is no official word yet on the plant being shut down. A spokesperson of the Tata Motors is quoted as saying that the production of Nano cars cannot continue in the present circumstances. “To continue manufacturing Nano cars, we have to make new investments, but no decision has been taken as yet on it,” he said.
The facility could be used for manufacturing electric cars or hybrid cars, say industry insiders.