Tata has announced that their earlier plans to launch a diesel version in India have been cancelled. According to the carmaker this was done due to the popularity of and inclination to petrol engines among Indian customers, along with the high cost of developing the new technology. Consequently, the diesel variant has been put indefinitely on hold.
The Nano has been a difficult product for Tata since its launch, with sales figure never really reaching the company’s expectations. In the last financial year a meager 21,129 units were sold making it the car’s most terrible performance yet. Therefore sales of the Nano in the financial year 2013 decreased by a whopping 61%. Throughout its run 250,283 units of the car have been sold up till now.
Rising diesel prices have resulted in customers preferring petrol model over diesel. Keeping in mind the changing market dynamics, Tata has decided not to introduce an entry level diesel car.
The most important reason for not making this call was the company’s reluctance to stray beyond the current price range of the Nano. Currently, the car costs around Rs. 1,41,258 and a diesel variant’s 800cc 2-cylinder DOHC engine would increase the price to more than Rs 3 lakhs making it a competitor of the Hyundai Eon and Chevrolet Spark.
Tata’s big plans to achieve record level fuel efficiency made it collaborate with the German manufacturer Bosch, which resulted in the development of a direct injection common rail engine, however as matters stand the engine cannot be utilized by Tata currently.
While the Tata Nano Diesel variant has been indefinitely postponed, it might still see the light of day. According to a company spokesperson Tata already has the technology for the diesel variant and there is every possibility that it might be launched when market conditions change in its favour.