But he admits to missing opportunities to make a big splash

Wearing his Tata Motors hat at a wide-ranging interaction with journalists here on Thursday, Ratan Tata stoutly denied his prized project — the Nano — had been a flop, but admitted to squandering early opportunities to make a big splash with the world's most affordable family car.

Though Mr. Tata is a year away from retiring as head of the Tata Group and the 2012 Auto Expo is the last he will attend as a CEO, there was nothing particularly valedictory or sentimental about what he had to say.

Questions about what he intended to do post-retirement and what his “to-do list” for his last year were brushed aside. “If I were to be run over by a truck tomorrow,” he said, “the products that have to be launched will be launched.”

With 150,000 cars sold in the Indian market, the Nano could hardly be called a flop, Mr. Tata stressed. “We never pushed it as a poor man's car, but as an affordable, all weather family car,” he said, blaming the media for creating a false image of the vehicle.

Tata Motors officials hope sales will rise smartly once the diesel version is launched.

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