The Nano went on sale back in 2009 with a starting price of just $2,500, and while it made headlines, it failed to ignite a buying revolution in its home country, never selling more than 75,000 units in a year. Ratan Tata thinks he knows what the problem is, though.
"It got branded as India's cheapest car – not the most affordable or the best value for the money," Tata said at the South Carolina Automotive Summit, Automotive News reports. "It gained the stigma of 'I don't want to be seen in the cheapest car. My neighbors will think I have no money.' We suffered from that. We're trying to reposition the car."
That repositioning may see a second-generation Nano arrive boasting a more significant price tag and featuring more "bells and whistles," as Tata put it. AN reports a new engine may be in the offing, as well, owing to complaints that the Nano's teensy 37-horsepower mill is noise and sounds like a motorcycle.
Just because the extremely inexpensive Nano wasn't the raging success Tata hoped for doesn't mean that he's lost faith in the idea of an affordable car for the masses.
"India produces 3 million cars a year, and 11 or 12 million two-wheelers a year. I believe that we should realistically be able to sell a half-million cars of this kind on a steady basis."