When India's Tata introduced the Nano in 2009 at about $2,500, it was a hot-seller. It was expected to set the world on fire with demand for cheap wheels. In fact, a year after its rollout, the Nano almost did set the world on fire after at least three units burned to a crisp. Sales plummeted to a record low of 509 in November, 2010.
Ratan Tata has run the company for 20 years and plans to retire at the end of this year. But before he leaves the company, he hopes to revive sales of the little car he helped develop.
"The Nano is something I would love to make successful because I don't think it's exploited its full potential right now," Tata said in an interview with Bloomberg TV India. "There has to be another push to make Nano what it can be."
Extended warranties for current Nano owners, as well as promises that the fires were only isolated incidents, were the first step at restoring confidence in the Nano. A new version of the Nano came out in November with a larger engine, and July sales totaled 5,485. In all of last year it sold 74,527. By comparison, Suzuki sold 491,389 examples of its competing Maruti brand.
In the video below, Ratan Tata talks a bit about the company's purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover and of his upcoming retirement.