What started as a promise to be 'the people's car', Tata Motors' Nano is finding it tough to get going with customers turning their backs to the model, sales for which have been dwindling and clocked just 948 units in April this year.
Amid a slowdown of the automobile market in India, Nano sales declined over 88% during the month compared to 8,028 units sold in April last year, according to the information provided by Tata Motors to the BSE.
During last month, the company did not export any Nano. In April 2012 also, not a single unit of the car was exported, although the company had started selling the car in Sri Lanka in 2011.
Even in the last financial year, the Nano was on a downhill slide. As per the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Tata Motors witnessed a fall of 27.75% in Nano's sales numbers last fiscal at 53,848 units compared to 74,527 units in 2011-12.
In the last fiscal, the company exported just 166 units of the Nano compared to 3,462 units in the previous financial year, down 95.21%.
Alarmingly for Tata Motors, Nano is not the only model that is witnessing declining sales. It reported 14.85% decline in its total vehicle sales at 51,160 units in April 2013 as against 60,086 units in the same month last year.
The total passenger vehicle sales in the domestic market stood at 11,570 units in April, down 48.94% from 22,658 units in the same month last year.
However, in the commercial vehicles segment, sales grew by 3.97% to 36,025 units in the domestic market in last month compared to 34,647 units in the corresponding period last year.
The Nano, powered by a 624cc petrol engine, was launched in 2009 for an ex-factory price of Rs 1 lakh, which is touted to be the cheapest for any car in the world.
The Indian auto market is probably facing the toughest ride in the recent history. Car sales fell for the first time in a decade - down 6.69% in 2012-13 - as the sector struggled to cope with demand slump due to a sluggish economy. The decline in passenger car sales last fiscal was also the steepest in the past 12 years.
In an interview to PTI in December, former Tata group chairman Ratan Tata had admitted that Nano, nicknamed 'the people's car', could not realise its full potential as it lost momentum in the initial years due to issues like plant transfer and insufficient advertising campaign and dealership network.
He had stated that the car was being 'refreshed' to realise its full potential.