Tata Nano to go electric, to be available as taxi

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The Rs 1 lakh car, which failed to make a mark despite creating a buzz worldwide at the time of its launch about nine years ago, will now be available as fleet taxi in its electric vehicle (EV) version.

Tata Motors is likely to roll it out initially for the fleet market, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely to launch it next week in Delhi, company sources said to DNA.

Interestingly, the car will not have the Tata name on its body, but will be sold under Jayem Neo brand, according to industry buzz. Tata Motors has a joint venture (JV) with Coimbatore-based Jayem Automotives, which has been mandated to work on performance vehicles of the company.

According to analysts, the car has seen a continuous decline in sales after starting off by selling around 30,350 units in 2009. Sales fell to 7,590 units in fiscal 2017, and dropped to lowest monthly figure of 57 units last month.

In the past nine years, the company has made several attempts to turn around the fortunes of the car, but met with limited success. Cyrus Mistry, the ousted chairman of Tata Motors had last year pegged the cumulative losses on the project to be upwards of Rs 6,400 crore.

Reacting to statements in the Tata Motors’s annual report, Mistry had alleged about potential areas of conflict of interest in the supply of Nano body shells to Jayem Automotives, where Ratan Tata has made investments in his personal capacity, forcing the Nano production to continue on a sub-scale basis for almost one year after the original decision had been taken.

Tata Motors, which is in a turnaround mode and wants to be amongst the top three car company in the country by 2019, is betting on electric vehicles (EV) big time. It intends to come out with EV version for all its models in the next few years. The company even surprised the industry when it won the bid for electric buses announced by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) last month.

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