The Tata Nano could soon receive a strong sales boost with plans of a diesel variant. Tata Motors is reportedly in advanced stages of development for the world's smallest twin-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine.
Various sources close to the development told that the new 800 cc diesel engine is likely to be first introduced in the Nano sometime next year.
It may also later find its way in to other small vehicles in the automaker's portfolio, such as the Ace family of light commercial vehicles.
A Tata Motors spokesperson said that though development for the Nano diesel is on, there is “no time frame decided for launch yet”.
“There's no thinking yet if the same engine will be used in other models – engines go through much iteration in the development process,” the company official said.
The new diesel engine, heralded as a technological breakthrough because of it small size, has been developed in collaboration with Bosch in India. Such a highly fuel-efficient small diesel engine could help pick up sales of the compact car, which have been erratic lately.
In December 2011, the Nano sales improved over the past few months with a 29 per cent rise at 7,466 units, though it was still below the all-time peak of 10,012 units in April, 2011. However, capacity at the Nano-only Sanand plant is being increased to 20,000 units a month by about March this year.
“It will be the smallest twin-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine in the world. This turbocharger is the first such product developed by our Bangalore technical centre from scratch. We work with all automakers, but till now we were adapting products from other markets for India,” a Honeywell official said.