On this day in auto history – March 23rd

Tue 23rd Mar 2021

It was on this day in 2009 that India’s Tata Motors launched the vehicle which was supposed to herald a revolution of ultra-affordable cars for the masses - the Tata Nano.

Launched with an original price of just 100,000 rupees (around £1,400) under a strapline of “the world’s cheapest car", the Nano was conceived with the idea of making auto ownership affordable to the millions of India’s poor who traditionally used motorbikes.

Initial aspirations were for annual sales of 250,000 but Tata soon found that buyers were shunning the low-budget image of the vehicle which only came with a 35 bhp engine as standard.

Despite various makeovers, sales have chronically underachieved, yet Tata still refuse to pull the plug on the loss-making vehicle.