Marketing Nano as world's cheapest car was a mistake: Ratan Tata
Singapore: The Tata group may consider launching its small car Nano in a new avatar in another country like Indonesia, where it doesn't have the 'stigma' of being 'the cheapest car', and bring it back to India for a fresh start with a new image, according to Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata.
Tata, who stepped down as the Chairman of the salt-to- software conglomerate last December, said Nano could also be marketed as a changed product in Europe to tap interest on the car outside India.
"Maybe it (Nano) gets launched in another country like Indonesia, where it doesn't have the stigma and the new image comes back to India. Or maybe as a changed product that gets marketed in Europe. There's a lot of interest in Nano outside India," Tata said in an interview.
Stating that Tatas are working on a refreshed Nano, he added: "A re-launched Nano with some of the differences that we're trying to incorporate, yes I do...We are going to relaunch the car not as the cheapest car but in the image as it is."
Admitting that Tata Motors made a mistake in the marketing and positioning of the Nano, he said: "It became termed as a cheapest car by the public and, I am sorry to say, by ourselves, not by me, but the company when it was marketing it. I think that is unfortunate."
He further said: "I always felt that Nano should have been marketed towards the owner of a two-wheeler because it was conceived giving the people who rode on two-wheels with the whole family an all-weather safe form of affordable transportation, not the cheapest."
In an interview with the agency last year, Tata had said that the Nano was being 'refreshed' to realise its full potential,
The Nano has failed to live up to the expectations after being hyped as the cheapest car to hit the roads. It sales have been dwindling despite the company's attempts to reposition it. In the April-October period this fiscal, it clocked just 12,322 units as against 43,627 units in the year-ago period, down 71.7 percent.
In October this year, Tata Motors launched a new version of the Nano with CNG and Petrol bi-fuel system options.
The Nano has a troubled past. It was originally planned to roll out from a plant in Singur, West Bengal, but the plant had to be shifted to Sanand in Gujarat after political protests at its earlier plant. Instances of the car catching fire initially after it was launched didn't help its cause either.
The car was launched in March 2009 with an initial ex-factory price tag of close to Rs one lakh for the basic model. It is currently available between Rs 1.45 lakh and Rs 2.65 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) across all variants.