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Tata Nano: Down but not out

Last updated on: October 24, 2012 02:13 IST

Tata Nano: Down but not out

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S
ince its launch, the world's cheapest car, Tata Nano, has been on a bumpy ride. On one hand small car enthusiasts cheered for the carmaker on its frugal engineering and on the other, Nano has failed to sustain the charisma needed for survival in the long run. The overall response for the car, however, has been lukewarm.

All this has not deterred the carmaker. Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Group, in a recent interview said that Nano needs another push because its potential was not fully exploited. This statement, along with spate of recent developments, indicates that another campaign is underway.

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Photographs: Valentin Flauraud/Reuters

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Tata Nano: Down but not out

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The carmaker has been trying to fortify Nano's sales and make it preferred choice for Indian and overseas car buyers, irrespective of consumer class. The sales figures, however, show that the company has not attained the desired success.

A possible game-changer can be the newer versions. Tata Motors is planning to launch a diesel and a CNG variant. According to reports, the diesel version will deliver a mileage of 40 kilometres per litre (kmpl).

The CNG model was unveiled at this year's Delhi Auto Expo and it caught the attention of prospective car buyers, especially the price conscious youngsters - the company's target audience.

To connect with them, the company has been doing a lot of sales and marketing activity. The carmaker has launched a new advertisement featuring 'Kolaveri Di' singer Dhanush and released it on YouTube. The video has received 884,412 hits.

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Photographs: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

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Tata Nano: Down but not out

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Tata Motors has also launched Nano merchandise store on popular e-commerce website eBay. The store offer scale models of the car, Nano key chains, computer accessories in shape of Nano, Nano-branded watches and T-shirts, and so on.

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Photographs: Kind courtesy, eBay.in

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Tata Nano: Down but not out

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For overseas market, the carmaker will launch a left-hand drive (LHD) version. Many have spotted the carmaker testing this model few months back.

Earlier, the company had unveiled Tata Nano-based hi-tech city car called Tata Pixel at Geneva Motor show in 2011. This version was aimed at European market. The company is also working on an Electric Vehicle prototype for Nano, which was showcased in the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

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Photographs: Kind courtesy, www.tatapixel.com

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Tata Nano: Down but not out

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To further prove durability and reliability of the car, the company backed an adventure trip of a 63-year old motoring enthusiast Thomas Chacko. In July, Chacko drove across the country in Nano covering 26,500 kilometres in three and a half month.

In the same month, American stand-up comedian and television host Jay Leno added Tata Nano to his collection that has approximately hundred vintage and sports car.

In association with MTV, the company also launched 'Drive with MTV' road trip in May this year. In the show, enthusiasts undertook an adventurous trip of the country. Earlier in March, the car sales had crossed 10,000-mark.

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Photographs: Kind courtesy, www.tatanano.com

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While the company was doing all the right things to promote its creation, the car attracted negative publicity that raised safety concerns after some cars caught fire. Though the company said that the reasons for the fires were "specific to the cars which had such incidents", rather than being a general fault; it offered free safety updates following this episode.

The company seems to have met initial success in its renewed efforts. Critics and consumers appreciated the 2012 New Tata Nano model that caries an enhanced fuel efficiency of 25kmpl and reduced CO2 emissions along with trendy colours. The final word, however, can be said post the festive season, depending on the success of the new variants.

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Photographs: Reuters

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