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Tata unveils Nano with a 'Twist'

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IOL mot jan13 Tata Nano

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Tata hopes to create a more upmarket image for its Nano with the upgraded Twist model.

Mumbai - India's struggling Tata Nano, launched in 2009 as the world's cheapest car, unveiled a new and more expensive variant of the jelly-bean shaped city car on Monday in an attempt to boost flagging sales.

The latest model, called Nano Twist, targets young people. It has power steering along with remote keyless entry, a four-speaker music system with bluetooth and a higher ground clearance for rough terrain.

Ranjit Yadav, president of Tata’s passenger vehicles business, said the car was “loaded with trendy features” to make it a “smart city car to hang out with”.

When Tata Motors launched the Nano in 2009, analysts said it would revolutionise how millions in India travelled.

But after poor sales in recent years, it become clear the car's unique selling point - its price - had backfired as aspirational Indians shied away from buying a vehicle tagged the world's cheapest.

Tata has been seeking to reposition the car in the market by adding features and making it trendier.

IOL mot jan13 Tata Nano b

Tata says the new Twist is loaded with features, at least compared to the previous versions.

In December, Tata sold just 554 Nano cars, down 75 percent from 2202 cars a year earlier.

Tata officials say that some 45 percent of Nano drivers are between 18 and 34.

Shortly before his retirement in December 2012, group chairman Ratan Tata said it had been a mistake to market the Nano merely on its low-price, saying “various stigmas have been attached to it”.

He said the Nano had a “strong future” with an upmarket image and did not want it to be branded as the “world's cheapest car”.

The purple-coloured Nano Twist will be sold at a price of 236 000 rupees (R40 744) while the base model costs around 150 000 rupees (R25 752).

Since its launch for just 100 000 rupees for the base model, the Nano has had several small makeovers - including upgrades to its interior and a doubling of its warranty to four years. -AFP


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