The Tata Nano was heralded as the World's Cheapest Car when it chugged onto the automotive scene in 2009. Meant to be India's Volkswagen Beetle, BMC Mini or Ford Model T, the Nano, while accounting for 25-percent of Tata Motors' sales volume in fiscal year 2012, still saw its sales drop 27 percent over the same period.
In a bid to jump-start demand, Reuters reports that Tata has announced a diesel variant will join the two-cylinder, 624-cc gas engine in March of 2014. It's not clear where the diesel powerplant will come from, or just how small it'll really be. This isn't the first feature Tata has tried adding to the Nano to boost sales, which currently starts at around $2,200.
Adding content, while normally a solid idea, is more difficult these days due to India's troubled auto industry. The Indian economy is declining overall, with interest rates and fuel prices continuing to climb. Reuters notes that a weak rupee is raising costs as well, causing Tata to rely ever more heavily on overseas sales from its premium brands, Jaguar and Land Rover. Still, diesel is quite a popular fuel in India thanks to government subsidies.
What do you think, does diesel power make the ultra-affordable, ultra-small Nano more palatable? Let us know in Comments.