The Telegraph
Monday , June 30 , 2014
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Nano makeover drive

New Delhi, June 29: Tata Motors is looking to revamp its small car Nano to attract young buyers.

The company plans to shed the Nano of the tag of being the cheapest car in the world and rebrand it as the vehicle for the “city slicker”.

Tata Motors is working on bigger engines for the car, including a diesel variant and automatic transmission. It is also looking to bring in a hybrid. The company is conducting road tests of the automatic version.

“We are constantly working to improve the Nano. In the near future, the car will come out with a host of innovations and industry first initiatives to make it better. The new Nano will appeal to the youth and urban drivers who want cars which are easy to drive on congested city roads,” said a senior Tata Motors official.

Last year in October, Tata Motors launched a version of the Nano that runs on CNG and petrol.

The company has been working to rid the Nano of the tag of being the cheapest car since last year.

Confident of his small car, Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of the Tata Sons conglomerate, had said the Nano armed with a strong re-branding strategy, minor spec changes and an image makeover still had the potential to stage a turnaround in the domestic front.

“Maybe if the Nano gets launched in another country such as 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 the Nano outside India,” Tata had said.

The Nano was launched in March 2009 at an initial ex-factory price of Rs 1 lakh for the basic model. At present, it is priced between Rs 1.45 lakh and Rs 2.65 lakh across all variants.

The sales of Tata Motors vehicles in the last two years have declined consistently. Commercial and passenger vehicles sales in May went down to 37,525 vehicles, a sharp decline of 24 per cent over the previous year when sales stood at 49,304 units.

The company will also launch two cars — compact sedan Zest and hatchback Bolt — soon. Both the cars will be powered by the company’s new Revotron engines.