Tata introduced the Nano as the world’s cheapest car in 2009, and quickly learned that “low price” does not automatically equal “high demand”. You still have to build a product that people want, as opposed to one that’s only mildly more practical (but significantly less awesome than) the Tuk Tuk you’re building it to compete against. Now, Tata is hoping a new diesel version, along with a host of other upgrades to the car for 2014, will help spur lagging sales.
The real question, of course, is what price a Tata Nano diesel will sell at. After all, if you believe Ford’s official line that diesel-engined compacts are too expensive for the US, it would almost have to follow that a Tata Nano diesel would be too expensive for a country like India, whose economy and auto industry isn’t doing nearly as well as America’s.
That’s assuming, also, that the diesel Nano will sell at all. Considering its highly-publicized … let’s call them “quality control issues“, that’s something Tata probably needs to worry about.