|Also called||Tata GenX Nano (facelift)|
|Assembly||India: Gujarat, Sanand (Sanand Plant)|
|Designer||Justin Norek (I.DE.A Institute)|
Pierre Castinel (Tata Design Studio)
Girish Wagh (Project Manager)
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door hatchback|
5-door hatchback (GenX Nano)
|Engine||624 cc I2 SOHC MPI petrol|
|Wheelbase||2,230 mm (87.8 in)|
|Length||3,099 mm (122.0 in)|
3,164 mm (124.6 in) (GenX Nano)
|Width||1,390 mm (54.7 in)|
|Height||1,652 mm (65.0 in)|
|Curb weight||600–635 kg (1,323–1,400 lb)|
The Tata Nano is a compact city car that was manufactured and marketed by Indian automaker Tata Motors over a single generation, primarily in India, as an inexpensive rear-engined hatchback intended to appeal to current riders of motorcycles and scooters — with a launch price of one lakh rupees or US$2500 in the year 2008.
Tata Motors projected production figures of 250,000 annually at launch. This was not achieved, and various factors led to decline in sales volume, including delays during the factory relocation from Singur to Sanand, early instances of the Nano catching fire or the perception of the car being unsafe and lacking quality due to cost cutting. Actual sales reached 7,591 for model year 2016-2017. The project lost money, as confirmed by former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry and by 2017 Tata Motors management.
After successfully launching the low cost Tata Ace truck in 2005, Tata Motors began development of an affordable passenger car that would appeal to the many Indians who ride motorcycles. The purchase price of this no frills auto was brought down by dispensing with most nonessential features, reducing the amount of steel used in its construction, and relying on low cost Indian labour.. This led to reductions like the passenger's side wing mirror, one wiper blade, only three lug nuts per wheel or removal of the fuel filler cap from the tank.. Tata said it was the first time a 2-cylinder gasoline engine was being used in a car with single balancer shaft.
Expectations and effects
Expectations created for the car during the run up to its production were commented as being out of proportion with realised sales. A 2008 study by Indian rating agency CRISIL projected the Nano would expand the nation's car market by 65%, but, as of late 2012, news reports have detailed the underwhelming response of the Indian consumer to the offering; sales in the first two fiscal years after the car's unveiling remained steady at about 70,000 units. Tata intended to maintain a capacity to produce the car in much larger quantities, some 250,000 per year, should the need arise.
It was anticipated that its 2009 debut would greatly affect the used car market, and prices did drop 25–30% prior to the launch. Sales of the Nano's nearest competitor, the Maruti 800, fell by 20% immediately following the unveiling of the Nano. It is unknown if the Nano has had a lasting effect on the prices of and demand for close substitutes. In July 2012, Tata's Group chairman Ratan Tata, who retired in January 2014, said that the car had immense potential in the developing world while admitting that early opportunities were wasted due to initial problems. Due to the sales drops, only a single unit was produced in June 2018.
Singur factory pullout
Tata Motors announced in 2006 that the Nano would be manufactured in Singur, West Bengal. Local farmers soon began protesting the forced acquisition of their land the new factory entailed. Tata first delayed the Nano launch and later decided to build the car in a different state, Gujarat, instead.
Announced as the most affordable production car in the world, Tata aimed for a price of one lakh rupees, or ₹100,000, which was approximately $2,000 US at the time. Only the very first customers were able to purchase the car at that price, and as of 2017, the price for the basic Nano starts around ₹ 215,000. Increasing material costs may be to blame for this rapid rise in price.
Compared to the Volkswagen Beetle it had a relatively low price, though still high in terms of the average salary of an Indian industrial worker or farmer. In 1990, a Beetle from Mexican factories was priced at $5,300, about $10,372 in today's money. The Ford Model T's initial price was about $850, equivalent to $24,187 today. The price of the Nano was only just higher than the corrected price of the Briggs & Stratton Flyer of the 1910s, with the Flyer costing US$125 ($1,767 in 2016), while the Flyer may today be classified as a go-kart more than a car.
The Nano's design implements many measures to reduce manufacturing costs. Comparison with the Maruti Alto 800, the Tata Nano's closest competitor:
|Tata Nano||Maruti Alto 800|
|The Nano's trunk was only accessible from inside the car, as the rear hatch does not open, but it eventually received a full hatchback in 2015.||Maruti 800 initially had only an opening rear-windscreen, but later got a full hatchback.|
|One windscreen wiper instead of the usual pair||Two windscreen wipers.|
|No base power steering due to light weight. Added in higher variants in later models.||Power Steering only in higher variants.|
|Three lug nuts per wheel ||Four lug nuts per wheel|
|Driver side wing mirror on base model. Higher variants fitted with passenger side ORVM from 2012 onwards.||Both side ORVMs in certain variants.|
|Radio or CD player was optional||Radio or CD player was optional|
|No airbags on any model||No airbag in any variant.|
|624cc rear engine, 2 cylinders (312cc each)||800cc front engine, 3 cylinders (266cc each).|
|No air conditioning in base model||No air conditioning in base model|
|Front passenger seat same as the driver seat and the headrests are integrated.||Front passenger seat same as the driver seat, but headrests separate. Later models switched to integrated headrests.|
|Thinner 135/70-R12 space saver spare tyre.||Full size spare tyre.|
|No external fuel filler cap. Fuel inlet is accessed by opening the front hood.||External fuel filler cap.|
|Front door power windows only offered on highest variant. PW switches placed on central console rather than on door pads.||Front door power windows only offered on highest variant.|
The Nano (2012) was a 38 PS (28 kW; 37 hp) car with a two-cylinder 624 cc engine mounted in the rear of the car. The car complied with Bharat Stage 4 Indian Emissions Standards, which are roughly equivalent to Euro 4.
The development of the Nano led to 31 design and 37 technology patents being filed.
|Engine:||2 cylinder petrol with Bosch multi-point fuel injection (single injector) all aluminium 38 metric horsepower (28 kW) 624 cc (38 cu in)|
|Bosch Motronic ECU (engine control unit)|
|2 valves per cylinder overhead camshaft|
|Compression ratio: 9.5:1|
|bore × stroke: 73.5 mm (2.9 in) × 73.5 mm (2.9 in)|
|Power: 38 PS (28 kW; 37 hp) @ 5500 +/-500 rpm|
|Torque: 51 N⋅m (38 ft⋅lbf) @ 3000 +/-500 rpm|
|Layout and Transmission||Rear wheel drive|
|4-speed manual transmission|
|Steering||mechanical rack and pinion w/o servo|
|Turning radius: 4 metres|
|Performance||Acceleration: 0-60 km/h (37 mph): 30 seconds|
|Maximum speed: 105 km/h (65 mph)|
|Fuel efficiency (overall): 25.35 kilometres per litre (4.24 litres per 100 kilometres (66.6 mpg‑imp; 55.5 mpg‑US))|
|Body and dimensions||Seat belt: 4|
|Trunk capacity: 150 L (5.3 cu ft)|
|Suspension, Tires & Brakes||Front brake: 180 mm drum|
|Rear brake: 180 mm drum|
|Front track: 1,325 mm (52.2 in)|
|Rear track: 1,315 mm (51.8 in)|
|Ground clearance: 180 mm (7.1 in)|
|Front suspension: MacPherson strut with lower A-arm|
|Rear suspension: Trailing arms with coil spring|
|Bosch||Oxygen sensor, Gasoline injection system (diesel will follow), starter, alternator, brake system|
|Continental AG||Gasoline fuel supply system, fuel level sensor|
|Caparo||Inner structural panels|
|HSI AUTO||Static sealing systems (Weather Strips)|
|Rane Madras Limited||Steering Assembly|
|Denso||Windshield wiper system (single motor and arm)|
|FAG Kugelfischer||Rear-wheel bearing|
|Federal-Mogul||Pistons, Piston rings, Spark plugs, Gaskets, Systems protection|
|Ficosa||Rear-view mirrors, interior mirrors, manual and CVT shifters, washer system|
|ITW Deltar||Outside and inside door handles|
|Mahle||Camshafts, spin-on oil filters, fuel filters and air cleaners|
|Ceekay Daikin/Valeo||Clutch sets|
|Visteon||Air induction system|
|ZF Friedrichshafen AG||Chassis components, including tie rods|
|Behr||HVAC for the luxury version|
|Dürr||Lean Paint Shop|
Tata GenX Nano (2015-2018)
In May 2015, to revive the model's sales, Tata Motors proposed a redesign both in- and outside the car. The name was changed to GenX Nano to underline the changes, the range was offered in 21 different versions, among them a 5-speed semi-automatic transmission. Electric power steering, air conditioning, and Bluetooth radio were available on top models in addition to new colors and alloy wheels. The body was strengthened and the front and rear bumpers were changed, which slightly increased the length to 3,164 millimeters. The interior was also redesigned with new fabrics and improved soundproofing. The rear opening door and the 5-seat homologation were introduced. The engine remained the 2-cylinder 624 cc (38.1 cu in) with 38 hp.
Alternative power plants
The Nano was driven by a petrol engine. Though several variants were proposed, none were put into production. An upscale version was shown at an auto show.
Tata Motors signed an agreement in 2007 with a French firm, Motor Development International, to produce a compressed air car Nano. While the vehicle was supposed to be able to travel approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) on $3 US of electricity to compress the air, Tata's Vice-President of Engineering Systems confirmed in late 2009 that vehicle range continued to be a problem.
If an EV Nano had been produced the expectations were that it would have been a highly affordable electric car using lithium-ion batteries and having a range of 80 miles (130 km). A Norwegian electric car specialist, Miljøbil Grenland AS, was named as a proposed partner in the project.
Tata Nano CNG emax (Bi-fuel)
The Nano CNG emax was launched in October 2013. It could run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas. Initially, it was to be sold in Delhi and parts of Maharashtra and Lucknow, where CNG was available at fuel outlets. The bifuel engine was powered by both CNG and petrol. In natural gas operation, the engine delivered maximum power of 33 horsepower and 45 Nm of maximum torque. The tank had a capacity of 32 liters (8 US Gal/7 UK Gal) of CNG.
Tata Super Nano
In December 2014, Coimbatore-based JA Motorsport presented a 230 hp 1.3-liter engined version of the Nano called the 'Super Nano' at the Autocar Performance Show. Featuring a full body kit, slick tyres, a bolt-on roll cage, and smoked head and tail lamps, the Super Nano featured carbon fibre components, Recaro seats, and steering-mounted paddle shifters.
There were reports of several fire incidents involving the Nano. The company denied those were connected to the car's design or its parts and blamed "foreign electrical equipment" found on top of the exhaust system. The company offered to retrofit the exhaust and electrical systems but refused to recall the cars. Tata extended the warranty on the car, including those already sold, from 18 months to four years in early December 2010.
The Nano received a mixed reception from Indian consumers; reasons given included that it was still too expensive compared to a motorcycle, and the extended waiting time for delivery (a few months). Although it was identified as the most affordable car, a secondhand car that was more expensive when it was new gave more social status; the Nano was considered a "poor man's" vehicle, turning some people away. The fires and other safety issues were also a concern.
Tata Motors ended FY16 selling 21,012 Nanos, up from 16,901 in FY15.
In 2014, a Nano was crashed for NCAP by ADAC in Germany. Despite Tata's claim that it was expecting 4 stars, the Nano got zero stars for lack of adult protection and didn't even meet basic UN safety requirements. It also lacked airbags.
At the time of launch Tata Motors planned to sell 250,000 units per year. The maximum sales ever achieved was 74,527 units during FY 2011-2012 and then sales declined rapidly year on year leading to a negligible market share of the car in the "A" segment. The product was expected to be phased out soon as dealers stopped placing orders.
FY 2009–2010 30,000 approx
FY 2010–2011 70,432
FY 2011–2012 74,527
FY 2012–2013 53,848
FY 2013–2014 21,129
FY 2014–2015 16,903
FY 2016-2017 7,591
FY 2017-2018 April - October 1,502
End of production
Due to the low sales of the model (only one Nano was assembled in June 2018 against the 275 assembled in June 2017) Tata Motors announced the end of production without any direct successor. The Nano was never really appreciated by the public and sales were always lower than expected.
- 2010 Business Standard Motoring Indian car of the year
- 2010 Bloomberg UTV-Autocar car of the year
- 2010 Edison Awards, first place in the transportation category
- 2010 Good Design Awards, in the category of transportation
- 2014 India's Most Trusted hatchback car, according to The Brand Trust Report 2014 edition
In the media
- Small Wonder: The Making of Nano–a book about the creation of the Tata Nano
- A Megafactories episode on this vehicle
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- For initial delay, see Rain, political unrest delay Tatas' dream car Rediff.com, 3 August 2007
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- For 2017 price, see "Price List: Select to view citywise ex-showroom price of the Nano". Tata Motors. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- UHLIG, MARK (20 October 1990). "Mexico City Journal; Miss the VW Bug? It Lives Beyond the Rio Grande". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
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- https://carbuzz.com/news/from-bollywood-to-hollywood-leno-takes-stock-of-tata-nano From Bollywood to Hollywood, Leno Takes Stock of Tata Nano]
- https://youtube.com/watch?v=eQsHgNZWxZs, Doku/HD Apr 04 2014.
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