From Tata Safari Ads that used to proclaim “Reclaim you Life”, Tata Motors finds itself in the unenviable position of having to reclaim lost market share. But who doesn’t love a good comeback story and 2013 could well be the year when Tata Motors begins to turn the cogs at reinventing its passenger car business Tata Motors Limited has launched five all new products over the past half a decade: the Tata Nano hatchback, the Tata Indica Vista hatchback, the Tata Manza sedan, the Tata Ace mini pick up truck and the Tata Aria crossover. Of these, four products have been mediocre successes to say the least with only the Tata Ace being the resounding success.
Due to these string of average selling cars, Tata Motors’ market share has come under serious threat, what with car maker almost being displaced by Mahindra &Mahindra from the third spot in terms of yearly car sales in India. Amidst such gloomy sales numbers, Tata Motors is betting big on new car launches in 2013. The first such car launch was the Vista D90 diesel hatchback, which was launched days ago.
The next big launch from Tata Motors will be the CNG powered Nano, a car that’s expected to put the bang back in Nano sales. The biggest boost for Tata Motors though, is expected to come from the diesel powered version of the Nano, a hotly anticipated car that is currently in its final stages of testing. Engineers are said to be working out the noise, vibration and harshness(NVH) levels of the car to acceptable limits.
Once they manage to achieve an optimum NVH level, the Tata Nano Diesel will be launched in India. The launch time frame is pegged for the end of 2013. The Nano Diesel would be powered by an 800cc twin cylinder turbo diesel engine with common rail direct injection technology and turbocharging. Honeywell will be doing the turbocharging while Bosch will supply the Nano Diesel with common rail direct injection technology.
The fuel economy of the 800cc twin cylinder turbo diesel engine will be the biggest selling factor, with reports emerging that the Nano Diesel will be capable of delivering over 35 Kmpl. If the Nano Diesel manages to take the market by storm, Tata Motors will be able to turn the Nano project into a profitable venture. As of now, Tata Motors is losing money on every Nano it sells, what with over 60% of the Nano’s installed capacity at the Sanand factory going unused.
Tata needs to utilise at least 60% of the capacity at Sanand to break even with the Nano. Coming to the cost of the Nano, the starting price of the car is expected to be higher than INR 2.25 lakhs. Even at INR 2.5 lakhs for the Nano diesel, the car will be the least priced diesel car in India, and the world. However, it remains to be seen whether the Nano Diesel will strike it big given the Indian government’s plans to hike up retail diesel prices by up to 10 rupees per liter by the end of this year, a time frame that ominously coincides with the launch of the Nano Diesel. Watch this space.