Despite what became of it, the Tata Nano will be forever etched in the history of the Indian automobile industry. Back when it was launched, the Nano was the country’s most affordable four-wheeled offering, priced around the Rs 1 lakh mark. 

The Tata Nano was technically poised for success, making waves for its aggressive pricing. However, ever since its launch in 2008, the compact hatchback sadly faced a steady decline over the next 10 years.

In its last few years, sales of the Tata Nano dropped drastically. According to reports, Tata sold merely 872 units, followed by 65 units in the following quarter. This was a dip of 92 per cent. However, what really broke the camel’s back was Tata only sold 3 units of the Nano in June 2018 and produced just one. 

The following year saw the advent of new safety norms and BSVI compliance being applied. If Tata were to continue the production of Nano, it’d have to spend a substantial amount of money on upgrading the engine, tightening up its safety and more. This would’ve rendered the car too unaffordable for its target audience. No wonder then, the car officially ceased production in 2019.

Reminiscing on its journey, Ratan Tata, the Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons shared a heartfelt Instagram post on how he came up with the idea of making India’s cheapest compact car. 

He wrote, “What really motivated me, and sparked a desire to produce such a vehicle, was constantly seeing Indian families on scooters, maybe the child sandwiched between the mother and father, riding to wherever they were going, often on slippery roads.” 

“One of the benefits of being in the School of Architecture, it had taught me to doodle when I was free,” further adding “At first we were trying to figure out how to make two-wheelers safer, the doodles became four wheels, no windows, no doors, just a basic dune buggy.

“But I finally decided it should be a car. The Nano was always meant for all our people.”

Despite its sales record, the intention behind the Nano cannot be disregarded. With an avalanche of affordable offerings in the market right now, just how many can claim the badge of being a true people’s car? 

(Image credits: Tata Motors)