Tata to Introduce Higher Priced Nano Versions image

Tata plans to introduce higher priced versions of the $2,000 compact Nano, as few buyers want a vehicle developed as an alternative to a motor scooter.

The model was introduced in 2008 and although it captured attention, it didn’t quite convince customers to actually buy it. Since deliveries began in July 2009 the automaker sold only 229,157 Nano vehicles and sales in March dropped 86% compared with the same period last year. Tata Managing Director Karl Slym says the company does not intend to kill the model, but it will add several improvements to bring the prices closer to that offered by rivals.

According to Slym, scooter drivers were not attracted by the model either as they were thinking that they were buying a car but ‘something between a two-wheeler and a car.’ Slym gave the Pixel concept as an example of what the automaker plans to do. The Pixel is a two-door hatchback with the skeleton of a Nano, but with ‘scissor’ doors that rotate up, a diesel engine and automatic transmission.

“If they are able to get the Nano on track, that will revive buyer interest in the brand” and allow Tata to boost prices, said Ammar Master, an analyst at LMC Automotive in Bangkok.