Tata Nano's downward spiral began with Cyrus Mistry at the wheel
It was only after 2013 that Nano sales witnessed drops it is still reeling from. Ex-Chairman Cyrus Mistry was appointed as chairman of Tata Sons in December 2012 but has been on the board as a director since 2006.
Cyrus Mistry may have opened a Pandora's box in his letter to Tata Sons' board alleging that Tata Nano should be shut down.
He wrote a letter to the board and the trustees that was later leaked to the media. About Ratan Tata's dear project -- Tata Nano -- Mistry said, "An even more challenging situation arose in Tata Motors, both on the commercial and passenger vehicles... Beyond this, the Nano product development concept called for a car below Rs 1 lakh, but the costs were always above this. This product has consistently lost money, peaking at Rs 1,000 crore. As there is no line of sight to profitability for the Nano, any turnaround strategy for the company requires to shut it down. Emotional reasons alone have kept us away from this crucial decision.”
However, a look at the sales of the Tata Nano, from its launch in March 2009 till 2012, shows a healthy rise.
It was only after 2013 that the sales of Nano saw drops which it still reels from. Mistry was appointed as the chairman of Tata Sons in December 2012 but has been on the board as a director since 2006.
In 2009, Tata sold 17,534 units of the Nano, when it was priced at Rs 1 lakh, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
Sales grew to 59,576 units in 2010 despite the price of the car rising to Rs 1.78 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and to Rs 2.20 lakh, subsequently.
In 2011, sales of the Nano grew to 70,784 units and continued to rise in 2012, reaching 76,747 units.
However, in 2013, the car's sales plummeted to 18,447 units. Between 2011 to 2013 the minimum price of the Nano rose to Rs 2.21 lakh.
The sales failed to improve in the following year too, accounting for only 18,531 units.
It was only in 2015 when the sales of the Nano increased by 23% to 22,820 units because of the launch of the Nano GenX in March. The Nano GenX was priced between Rs 1.99 lakh for the XE variant and Rs 2.69 lakh for the Easy Shift XMA variant.
Till September 2016, the sales of Nano has been very poor, at 8,213 units. The price of the Nano has also increased to Rs 2.06 lakh and Rs 3.03 lakh for the variants, as Tata Motors recently hiked prices across its portfolio by Rs 35,000.