Tata Motors missed an early opportunity to make the Nano an icon in the Indian landscape. When the stage was reached where the factory had enough capacity to meet the anticipated demand, it tumbled like a boulder down a mountain. To balance inventory, Tata had to shut down the Sanand plant for two weeks in the second half of 2011.
To wipe out last traces of the "cheap car" image on the Nano, the company upgraded the MY2012 version with height adjustable headrests, a more powerful engine, bigger wing mirrors and better upholstery at no additional cost. At the Auto Expo last week it became clear that they are not stopping there. The 'Nano concept' provided the future direction of what once was known as the world's cheapest car.
Painted in a rich violet, the Nano concept sports chrome embellishments on the edge of the hood and on the rear fascia. A redesigned rear bumper with more air vents was also seen on a test mule in Pune last year. The concept stands on wider tires (145/70 front and 165/65 rear) and disc brakes up front.
A soft interior upholstery is printed with a Matrix text effect. The theme is carried forward to the door pads. The scoops on the front dashboard have have a lid making two gloveboxes. The hazard switch has been relocated to the center console, just above the air conditioning vents.
The Nano concepts features the same petrol engine but to improve fuel economy further, start-stop technology has been provided. The vehicle did not have features like access to the boot through the hatch, rear wiper and leather seats.
In our review of the Nano, we pointed out that the Nano badly needed two features - disc brakes and power steering. We hope Tata brings out this feature-rich Nano concept to the market later this year.
Select images shot by hk-harry and Siddharth Shankar.