Indian auto-maker Tata will break into Thailand's passenger car market during the third quarter of this year with the introduction of its Nano budget car.
Crowned as the “world’s cheapest car” when it was first introduced in 2008 along with a price tag of Rs100,000 (Bt54,000), the Nano has been sold only in India. However, the second-generation Nano will be offered in overseas markets such as Thailand, said Karl Slym, managing director of Tata Motors and chairman of Tata Motors (Thailand) board.
“We want to expand our product portfolio in Thailand and have decided to offer the Nano during the third quarter of this year,” he said.
Slym said Tata wants to accelerate sales in Thailand, but not too swiftly.
“We want to build up our business properly, and not just build up volume,” he said.
Last year Tata Motors Thailand sold 5,000 commercial vehicles in Thailand, taking its total sales across four years to 20,000 vehicles. Tata has two vehicles assembled in Thailand at the Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant in Samut Prakarn, and Slym said it needs to sell at least 20,000 vehicles per year to consider setting up its own local assembly.
He said the Nano will help Tata grow in the Thai auto market while it will also create a new segment.
Slym explained that the Nano experienced a sales slowdown in India due to “wrong positioning”.
“It was positioned as the world’s cheapest car but people didn’t want to own the cheapest car,” he said.
Tata solved the issue by raising standards in the Nano, offering better materials and features.
“The new Nano is at a very different level with features for all age groups, and it is not all about the price,” he said.
In India, the Nano is now priced from Rs150,000 -220,000.
The Nano measures 3,099mm in length and has a wheelbase of just 2,230mm, weighing approximately 600 kg. It is powered by a 2-cylinder, 624cc motor developing 38hp and 51Nm. The Nano can reach a top speed of 105km/h.