Tata seeks to rev up flagging Nano sales with power steering

Tata Motors, seeking to rev up the poor sales of the Nano – launched amid much hype in 2009 as the world's cheapest car – on Monday launched a new variant, the Nano Twist, which comes with power steering and an upgraded dashboard, with a price tag of Rs2.36 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Nano''The new Nano Twist will allow relaxed driving in city traffic with the new first-in-class electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system which is designed for easy manoeuvring in tight driving and parking situations,'' Ranjit Yadav, president of Tata Motors' passenger vehicle business, said at a press conference in Mumbai.

''The new instrument cluster comes with Driver Information System (DIS) for which customisation is also available.'' Yadav said.

As reported by domain-b, Tata Motors had announced in August last year that it would upgrade the Nano (see: Tata to re-position Nano as feature-packed city car) to boost the sales of the car, which was a pet project of Ratan Tata, the retired chairman of Tata Sons.

"We are now focusing on increasing the features and the perceived value of the Nano with every subsequent model launch," Cyrus Mistry, chairman of Tata Motors as well as the Tata Group, had told shareholders at the annual meeting on 21 August, which was his first as chairman after taking over from Ratan Tata this year.

The Nano was launched amid international attention as the 'world's cheapest car'. But apart from shoddy manufacturing that saw several of the cars go up in flames almost on delivery, the 'cheapest' tag hasn't gone down well with status-conscious Indian consumers. In fact two-wheeler makers like Bajaj Auto were confident from the start that the Nano would have no impact on their sales.

The company is now offering the Nano Twist in an additional damson purple colour with chrome accents. This is in addition to the existing range of pearl white, royal gold, papaya orange, meteor silver and dazzle blue colours.

The new Nano Twist will be available in the XT version, which replaces the previous top-of-the-line LX version of the Nano range. The XT versions come with Beige interior except Dazzle Blue, which comes with black interiors.

The Nano Twist also has features such as remote keyless entry, twin glove boxes and a four-speaker music system with Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary connectivity. The company said the Nano continued to remain the most fuel-efficient petrol car, as it offered a fuel efficiency of 25.4 km per litre, as certified by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

''The car has a four-metre turning radius which is also the best in its class,'' Yadav said. ''We expect the Nano Twist to have a positive impact on sales and expect it to do very well.''