After failing to meet high expectations with its small car Nano, Tata Motors is planning several initiatives, including introducing an automatic gear shift version, to revive sales. "We have in place more initiatives to strengthen the Nano portfolio," a Tata Motors spokesperson said, refuting reports that the company was looking to phase out the model due to continuously falling sales.
The company is also planning to launch Nano with AMT (automatic manual transmission) technology. Tata Motors had showcased Nano AMT variant with various advance technologies during the 2014 Auto Expo. The company, which is seeing revival in domestic sales with the launch of compact sedan Zest and hatchback Bolt, has seen sales of Nano drop in the last fiscal. In the April-December period of 2014-15, the company has so far managed to sell just 11,333 units of Nano, down 18.64 per cent from 13,931 units sold in the same period of 2013-14. Launched with much hype in 2009 with an initial ex-factory price tag of close to Rs one lakh for the basic model Nano, the dream project of Tata group Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata, failed to live up to expectations.
Tata had admitted that Tata Motors made a mistake in the marketing and positioning of the Nano as the "cheapest car". Right from the start, the Nano had to face hurdles, including shifting of its manufacturing plant to Sanand in Gujarat from Singur in West Bengal, where it was originally proposed to be produced. With the launch of hatchback Bolt, Tata Motors is eyeing double-digit sales growth in the next fiscal. The company's cumulative sales of all passenger vehicles in the domestic market for the April-December period this fiscal stood at 92,227 units, lower by 11 per cent over the previous fiscal. In December 2014, Tata Motors had reported a 30 per cent growth in passenger vehicles sales at 12,040 units, compared to 9,272 units in the December 2013.
Tata Motors had fallen behind the likes of Honda, Toyota and Mahindra & Mahindra in the Indian passenger vehicles market from being the third largest player at one point of time as its products, including the Nano, failed to deliver. In order to claw back its way to a dominant position, the company plans to launch 2-3 models each year till 2020. Other initiatives planned include eight improved and enhanced vehicles across five key brands over next two or three years and "products offered on a new modular platform from FY 2016-17". The company, which is seeking shareholders nod to raise up to Rs 7,500 crore via rights issue, plans to utilise the raised amount primarily to strengthen its product portfolio. PTI MSS RKL KSR