The Tata Nano aimed to revolutionize how India’s population moved around the country with an affordable price. Instead, it turned into an ugly sales flop. Next year marks the end of the line for the jellybean-shaped car
AFP reported Monday that new emissions and safety regulations in India mean domestic automaker Tata would need to invest considerably in the microcar to keep it in production. That’s something the automaker isn’t willing to do, according to Mayank Pareek, president of passenger vehicles at Tata.
Tata is scheduled to pull the plug on the Nana in April 2019 after 10 years on the market. The Nano burst onto the scene in 2009 and made a huge splash, even outside of its home market. Its $2,200 price captured audiences wowed by the thought of affordable transportation. Unfortunately, India’s status-conscious culture rejected the idea of a car’s cheapness. Marketed as an affordable alternative to a motorcycle, the Nano instead earned a reputation as India’s “poor-man” car.
Further, the Nano was then plagued by safety concerns. Numerous Nano engines spontaneously burst into flames and fire engulfed the cars.
The reality of failure quickly set in. Tata reportedly hoped to sell 25,000 units a month. In a few years, the automaker had sold a couple hundred cars. In 2013, Tata refreshed the car, but safety concerns hit the model again when it failed independent crash tests.
Tata’s dream of transforming transportation in India never took off, but the Nano certainly left its mark on the world one way or another.