The Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, may finally be dead

A spokesman says the Nano may need fresh investment to survive

Autoblog's archives are full of stories that hint at the troubled history of the Nano, the microcar introduced by Indian conglomerate Tata in 2009 at a cool $1,985, making it the world's most affordable cheapest car (it later jumped to $2,200 and then $2,500).

Now, Bloomberg columnist Anjani Trivedi reports the end may be nigh for the ambitious little "people's car," with a grand total of ... wait for it ... 1 unit built and zero exports in June, down from 275 and 25, respectively, in June 2017. The company acknowledged that the car in its "present form cannot continue beyond 2019."

This as India's automotive market overall is booming, Bloomberg notes, with growth in every segment, including a 38-percent jump in SUVs last month and nary an electric vehicle or driverless car in sight. A spokesman tells the outlet that the Nano may need fresh investment in order to survive.

But the tiny upright four-seater on tiny, 12-inch wheels never caught fire with buyers in India, even as several models literally caught fire. It reportedly never moved more than 75,000 units a year. The Indian market got a bare-bones car powered by a 37-horsepower two-cylinder engine — imagine trying to lug four grown adults with that, even though the car weighs only 1,355 pounds. An Autoblog review of the Indian-market Nano CX in 2010 wrote that "Acceleration to 60 mph takes a long time; you might want to bring a sandwich and a cup of coffee."

The Nano has also yet to make good on its designs to bring a sub-$10,000 version to the United States. At this rate, it doesn't sound like it ever will.

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