Mumbai, India - Tata's original Nano minicar, launched in January 2008, was a bold experiment in social engineering.
Company chairman Ratan Tata's stated intention was to build a car for the masses, with a base price under 100 000 rupees (the equivalent at the time of just R17 500) so that anybody who could afford a scooter could carry his family more safely on four wheels.
Ultimately, it failed because it was too cheap; an underpowered 624cc two-cylinder engine, ultra-basic spec levels and low-rent interior finishes put customers off, pushing them towards classier entry-level models from other makers and second-hand imported cars. Sales fell to just 16 901 for the year to the end of March 2015.
So Tata has re-invented its ugly duckling, if not into a swan, at least into a duck with a lot more to quack about. The "toy car" look of the first generation has given way to a wider, more prominent grille and sculpted bumpers fore and aft, adding a little to the car's overall length in return for upmarket styling.
The GenX Nano, launched on Tuesday in Mumbai, still has the same 624cc, multi-point fuel-injected, liquid cooled, naturally aspirated petrol twin, now rated for 28kW at 5500rpm and 51Nm at 4000rpm, driving the front wheels through a four-speed manual 'box.