Published on March 9th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Tata Nano For Malaysia. Can It Work?
Tata Motors, producer of the car conceived as the world’s cheapest, is rethinking the “cheap” for the car with plans for an upgrade. This could signal the entry of the Nano in Malaysia. The Nano went on sale in 2009 with a price tag of about USD2,500 with almost no comfort and safety features.
Now Tata is considering a new-generation Nano with a bigger engine, broader world appeal and a higher sticker price, said Ratan Tata, the company’s chairman emeritus, who championed the car’s development nearly a decade ago.
Tata retired as chairman in December 2012 after acquiring Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co. His rare public comments came as he received an honorary doctorate in automotive engineering from Clemson University.
A larger engine will address complaints that the Nano’s 37-hp two-cylinder engine is noisy and sounds like a small motorcycle, he said. He said Tata is looking into selling the Nano in new markets, including Indonesia and some African nations, “where the same phenomenon holds true that families can’t afford to buy a normal car.” Nano sales peaked at just under 75,000 in 2012. Last year, sales fell below 22,000.
Tata said he still believes in the merit of the ultralow-cost car. He predicts the next Nano could reach annual production levels of 500,000. “India produces 3 million cars a year,” he said, “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.”