The Nano diesel was supposed to revive the car’s fortunes in India but according to recent reports that is unlikely to happen as Tata Motors has shelved the project indefinitely. The team at the company’s Engineering Research Centre (ERC) in Pimpri, Pune has been reassigned to other projects. Also put on hold are plans for a Magic Iris based quadricyle because the company does not want to invest money in such projects even as competitors like Bajaj and more recently Mahindra are readying quadricycles for the Indian market.
The reason for halting the Nano diesel project is probably the recent deregulation diesel prices by the Government thus reducing the price gap between petrol and diesel prices. The dominance of diesel powered cars is slowly fading and buyers are shifting back to petrol vehicles. Also, the asking price of a Nano diesel version would have been to high to and with city runs being restricted to less than a 1,000 km a month it would’ve been hard to justify the higher asking price. Another issue Tata Motors’ was struggling with was the NVH or Noise, Vibration and Harshness levels of the twin cylinder diesel motor being developed for the Nano diesel.
With the Nano diesel project being put on hold Tata is said to have reallocated it’s resources to the triple cylinder petrol engine project for the Nano to take on the likes of the Maruti Alto 800, Hyundai Eon and Datsun GO. The triple cylinder engine powered Nano will be positioned above the current car and will be priced lower than the Alto 800 to give it an edge over the rest. The car is likely to get major updates to make it feel more upmarket and will be positioned as a fuel efficient compact hatch for city use.
The other project Tata has decided to stop investing its time in resources in is the Magic Iris based quadricycle being designed to take on the Bajaj RE60. This move seems a bit strange considering the Indian Government now has a quadricycle policy in place and companies like Mahindra are also reportedly developing a quadricycle. For reasons unknown though, the project has been put on hold indefinitely by Tata, a company which has pioneered the last mile utility vehicles business.
More on the Bajaj RE60
More on the Mahindra Quadricycle project.