Jay Leno is smitten by the Tata Nano even as the LHD version continues its testing rounds here in India
Celebrity TV show host Jay Leno knows a thing or two about automobiles considering his big interest in everything that moves on wheels. Jay Leno bought the most affordable car in the world, the Tata Nano, many months ago as the latest addition to his burgeoning collection of automobiles. Here’s what Mr Leno has had to say about the Nano,
Its a great city car. Its no different than all those electric cars, you see running around and it’s $2700, it’s amazing. I like this car for what it represents to India. To me, India is turning up with more engineers and scientist than anyone else. In the old days, technology was expensive and labour was cheap. Now, it flipped. Now technology is cheap and labour is expensive. To me, its not necessarily about the car. It is what the car represents.
Even as Jay Leno gushes praises on the Nano, Team ICB’s roving eye in the sky, EarthFusion, managed to capture the LHD version of the Tata Nano doing the testing rounds in Pune, India. apart from the LHD layout, the car also featured wing mirrors on both sides. The left hand drive version of the Nano is quite important for Tata Motors even as it seeks to sell the Nano in many markets abroad. Outgoing Tata group chairman and the vision behind the Nano, Mr Ratan Tata has aimed for yearly sales of 200,000 units of the Nano. To achieve this number, Tata Motors would need to explore both the domestic markets as well as the export markets.
Currently, the Nano is selling at less than 10,000 units a month, which is a long way off Tata Motors’ original target of selling 20,000+ Nanos each month, to make full use of the 250,000 cars a year capacity at the Sanand manufacturing plant in Gujarat. Incidentally, Tata Motors needs to sell at least 150,000 Nanos a year to make the Sanand venture a profitable one. Given that the Indian car market, especially in the entry level small car segment is witnessing a big slowdown due to high interest rates and high petrol prices, alternate fuel variants of the Nano is the need of the day.
Tata Motors will respond in the coming months with a CNG-petrol variant of the Nano, which is expected to be followed up in 2013, with the all-important diesel variant of the Nano. The Nano diesel is expected to be the least priced diesel car and one which is the most frugal too, with a 40 Kmpl fuel economy figure likely. If reliable and refined enough along with the price undercutting every other diesel car in the world, the Nano diesel could become an instant best seller. So, Ratan Tata’s vision of empowering scores of Indians, by putting them on four wheels, it seems is waiting for the advent of the Nano diesel.