TATA's Nano to start anew with the GenX

TATA Motors could finally be peeling off the undesired label of “cheapest car” from the Nano with the first major overhaul of the micro...


TATA Motors could finally be peeling off the undesired label of “cheapest car” from the Nano with the first major overhaul of the micro car since it was launched in 2009. The GenX Nano was revealed on Facebook three weeks ago, creating much speculation since, but all will be revealed at the official launch tomorrow in Mumbai.

To overcome the 'perceived' low quality of the car and to rebrand it as an aspirational car instead, the company announced “significant changes” and huge discounts, the latter of which we think actually defeats the purpose. The GenX will include power steering, a 5-speed automatic transmission sourced from Italy's Magnetti Marelli, a bigger 24-litre fuel tank and a tailgate to allow access to its modest boot space. Yes, the earlier Nano’s didn’t have a tailgate because of structural stability, so the rear seats had to be folded down to load/unload luggage.

At least the ad's funny.
City drivers in India are increasingly looking for more affordable automatics to drive on the congested roads. About 50,000 automatic cars - comprised of Suzuki Alto’s and Celerio’s and TATA Zest’s - were sold in India in 2014, and demand is growing. According to Mayank Pareek, TATA’s president of passenger vehicles, at least half of the car market in India will be of the AMT variant. The GenX’s creep function, which is when the automatic car crawls forward without pressure on the accelerator or brake pedal, will be much welcomed by weary drivers in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

"The Nano AMT was envisaged and developed approximately two years back, with assimilation of ideas and synergy between TATA Motors and its suppliers, to further improve the drive comfort and enhance mobility of the customer", a TATA spokesperson said. Gee, you’d think they had been the one to invent automatic transmission.

The new, more practical design is expected to have a price tag of around US$4,000, which is four times more than the first Nano model during its initial launch. All earlier models, except for the CNG version, the eMax, will be phased out. In fact, TATA wants as many older models off the road as possible; it is offering Nano owners the option to trade in their old cars, with an additional Rs 20,000 bonus to the trade-in price, and upgrade to the latest model. That would be about 265,000 potential ‘upgrade’ buyers of the GenX, which are all the Nano's that TATA managed to sell in five years even though that’s about the production capacity of a year.

TATA’s passenger car division had already resurged recently, with the Zest and Bolt models both being well-received (even though sales of the sedan and hatchback have fallen short), so the automaker might actually have a chance of finally wiping the slate clean for the Nano brand when the GenX is launched.

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