World's cheapest car, Tata Nano, is being 'refreshed' to realise its full potential, says group Chairman Ratan Tata.
"We were not prepared to market the car as we should have. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that momentum got lost," he told PTI in an interview.
He listed out the reasons due to which Nano, nick-named 'The people's car', could not realise its full potential as the momentum got lost in initial years due to issues like
plant transfer and insufficient advertising campaign and dealership network.
Asked whether these issues are being addressed, Tata said, "It is being addressed now and I think we will succeed. It is a three-four year old product (and) we have to do
something to refresh the product, which we are also doing."
To a query as to what went wrong with Nano, which was promised as 'people's car' with a price tag of Rs one lakh and that hit the road in 2009, he said there were "several things", including the events in West Bengal.
"It caused us to move and caused us to build another plant. That cost us another year from the time of the launch which created a lot of excitement and three months from that launch date, the car should have been on roads.
"Instead, because of those events it went on the road a year and half after that event," Tata said.
Nano was originally planned to roll out from a plant in Singur, West Bengal, but the plant had to be shifted to Sanand in Gujarat after political protests at its earlier plant.
The first Nano rolled out from a factory in Pantnagar in Uttarakhand in 2009, while output from Sanand plant began about a year later in June 2010.
The car was launched with an initial ex-factory price tag of close to Rs one lakh for the basic model while the current ex-showroom price here is in the range of Rs 1.55-2.16 lakh. Tata Motors has sold more than 2.2 lakh units of Nano since its launch, while sales grew by 5.8 per cent in the last fiscal ended March 31, 2012 to 74,521 units.
Talking about the issues faced by Nano in the initial days, Tata said, "The next issue was when it went on the roads, we had an order with payments for 3,20,000 vehicles,
which would have taken from zero ramping up 18 months to do. So we decided we