The Tata Nano’s ‘world’s cheapest car’ tag worked really well in creating an air of curiosity among the laymen and the people in auto industry alike.
Contrary to the initial hype, the Nano didn’t really take off with the expected magnanimity and that’s because the very same tag which earned Nano its attention became its enemy when viewed from an owner’s context.
The initial lot of cars was full of niggling and quality issues which were sorted out to some extent in the 2012 model, but still the noisy engine and petrol prices are causes for the little Tata’s concern.
Tata has planned to bring the diesel version of Nano by the last quarter of this year with a hope of unlocking the unrealized potential of Mr. Ratan Tata’s dream project, but the industry sources have told Top Gear India magazine that the oil-burning Nano is not due until the end of 2013.
Video - Tata Nano diesel testing in Pune
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The primary reason for the delay is said to be the engineers’ struggle to squeeze the benchmarked fuel economy figure of 30kmpl out of the 800 cc two cylinder engine.
The NVH level of the two cylinder diesel engine is high and adding more sound deadening material is the easy way to go, but it adds cost and weight. So, the engineers not only had to work on fuel economy but also on the refinement which is a technical challenge.
Tata wants the Nano diesel to carry none of its petrol sibling’s shortcomings and is looking to steer the small car away from the ‘cheap car’ image and that means there is whole lot of improvements to be done under the skin.
The road ahead for the Tata engineers till they successfully bring the diesel Nano out is not appearing to be smooth and the government’s new found enthusiasm in matching the diesel price with that of petrol is not going to help them either. Better hurry up Tata!
[Source: Topgear.com; Image - Tata Nano Europa at Geneva 2009]