It has been around for three years now, and has not made the kind of impact that was expected of it but Tata Motors is not willing to give up on the world's cheapest car — Nano — just yet.
Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata has said in the company's 2011-12 annual report that the car has enormous potential "throughout the developing world."
"The fundamental economies of the Nano, which was globally acclaimed when it was unveiled in 2008 and which was plagued with start-up roadblocks in the state of West Bengal, will continue to establish itself in the Indian market with a wider sales and service network," he said.
"The potential market for such an affordable car is enormous throughout the developing world."
Sales of the Nano in the domestic market grew 5.8% in 2011-12 to 74,521 units from 70,431 units in the previous fiscal year. Its growth has been hampered by the steep increase in petrol prices that is the only fuel that powers the car. Its factory in Sanand that has a production capacity of 2.5 lakh units is still grossly underutilised.
To revive the car's fortunes, however, a CNG version is slated to be launched later this year while a diesel version is also under development. Further, Tata admitted that the performance of the company in the passenger car segment was below expectations.
"The company will need to address the marketplace more effectively with its existing and future products in order to regain the level of marketshare it earlier enjoyed," he said in the report.
In January, Tata had admitted that it had "wasted an early opportunity" with the Nano due to teething problems. He had also lamented that many efforts were made to "discredit the product."
"We never pushed it as a poor man's car, but as an affordable family car. Whatever stigma is there in the market, we will undo it," Tata had said at the time of Auto Expo.
In its three year journey so far, Nano has faced problems like fire incidents and the company replacing starter motors in about 1.4 lakh cars.