The world’s cheapest car, the Nano, may soon get bigger, stronger and costlier.
Tata Motors is planning to fit the car with a 1-litre engine to revive the product that has had a rollercoaster ride since its launch in 2009. With a bigger engine, a sedan version may also be on offer.
Vendors told HT that Tata had been working on a 966cc version to replace the Nano’s 624cc engine since the Alto is powered by a 796cc engine.
The technical head of a component maker said on condition of anonymity: “Significant changes are being made to the car and the chassis is being strengthened to take more weight.”
He said, “They (Tata) also hinted that there could be a version of the car with a boot as well. All this will surely entail an increase in the price, as Tata does not want it to be seen as a cheap car anymore.”
With the world’s smallest ever car engine, the Nano costs Rs 1.43-2 lakh in Delhi, while its main rival, the Maruti Alto, is priced at about Rs 2.40 lakh.
When contacted, the company refused to be drawn into any speculation although Tata Group’s chairman emeritus Ratan Tata confirmed last month: “We have to do something to refresh the product (Nano).”
While Tata has sold about 225,000 Nanos since July 2009, Maruti sold 300,000 Altos a year. The Nano’s 80-litre boot space is one of the reasons that affected its sales as the Alto has a 177-litre space.