Our sources indicate that new small engines are being developed by Tata Motors in the Indiana auto market. These engines could be fitted in two new variants of the Nano hatchback, namely the Nano diesel and the Nano 800. These new engines are expected to be more fuel efficient than traditional engines and also produce higher torque on demand. These are currently undergoing testing and one cannot say when these could be incorporated within the Tata vehicles.
Currently, the Tata Nano is powered by a 624 cc petrol engine, which is already one of the most fuel efficient powertrains in the country. However, Tata Motors plans to expand this further by introducing diesel and CNG variants of the car this year. If the Nano gets an 800 cc engine, it will offer healthy competition to segment leader Maruti Alto 800. One area where the Tata hatchback scores higher is in terms of passenger space. Though it looks smaller from the outside, the car easily beats Alto 800 in this aspect. The Nano is also easier to park in cities and the air conditioner is very efficient. However, pricing will play a very important role in deciding the customer's choice here.
A diesel Nano can be expected to be priced at about Rs. 2.5 lakhs. At this price, it will surely be the cheapest diesel hatch in India. Industry experts are of a view that Tata Motors would have to work hard on Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels in this vehicle. In addition, a diesel motor would also make the vehicle heavy, which would impact its acceleration and performance. The new engines will also be helpful in pushing sales of the Nano. Several models of the vehicle are currently being stocked at the Sanand plant in Gujarat. It is also expected that the plant in Jameshedpur would be shut for 11 days as part of regular maintenance. A certain amount of rejuvenation is required in the Nano campaign, for targeting new buyers. Though the sales of Tata Nano and other vehicles are currently being impacted, this would pick up in the next few months.