As per the available report : "Tata nano the wonder car from Tata motors group has not shown up impressive sales figures as the sale of the India's smallest and cheapest car saw a decline of 509 units in November when compared to last month's sales of 3,065 units.”
(Source: http://www.cardekho.com/india-car-news/tata-nano-sales-drop-in-november-2010-3205.htm). The much talked cheapest car is now facing a downfall in sales.
As I have understood with my decades experiences in socio-psychology of India, the “car” is not supposed to be the “cheapest” to sell in this country (it is not a staple need till date) neither it is perceived to be as affordable to 80% of India. Unfortunately, Mr. Tata understood it wrongly.
Car, in India, is not a “consumable FMCG product” but an “asset” and like all the assets, a car is supposed to be “valuable” and “long lasting” product which will give maximum return in long run.
Tata nano was targeted to Mass and middle class India (Bharatiyas and Indians, in my socio-psychological segmentation) as a replacement of two wheeler! Actually, for them a car is an “investment” of their “hard earned money”.
As Mr. Dheeraj Sinha, the Chief Strategy Officer, Bates 141 (writer of the book ‘Consumer India: Inside the Indian Mind and Wallet') rightly stated “One reason Tata Nano has not taken off is because it was seen as a cheap car. That's a symbol enough to say that even that mass segment of buyers is seeking a premium, in the sense that they are seeking an upgrade, and not value for money. Value has to fall into place but it is one of the drivers, not the only driver.Brands, in the rural space, need to add a bit of imagery to themselves. Those consumers are reaching out to brands that are giving them that sense of premium. We see that across the spectrum, from shampoos and deodorants to mobile handsets. Rural India is seeking a sense of moving up in life, a sense of pride.” (Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/brandline/article1543730.ece)
So, instead of pushing nano as the cheapest car made for “have not’s”, Mr. Tata should try to push nano as a car for in’glo’dians who will use it as consumable car for “daily use” (kind of use and throw).
further references: http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/Tata_nano_losing_favor_November_sales_drop-nid-74890.html
recent report on nano and how Tata is trying to promote the car through extended services: http://www.autoblog.com/2011/01/03/report-tata-nano-sales-stage-big-rebound-in-december/