Tata’s Nano set for commercial launch on Monday

NEW DELHI - Tata Motors’ Nano, said to be the world’s cheapest car, was set to be launched in the Indian finance centre of Mumbai Monday.

By (DPA)

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Published: Sun 22 Mar 2009, 7:05 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:07 AM

Its manufacturer hopes the vehicle will prove to be a ‘common man’s car’ and generate a strong demand from the Indian masses, local media reports said Sunday.

The commerciAl roll out of the Nano, expected to be priced at some 100,000 rupees (about 1,980 dollars), comes after its prototype attracted global attention at a car show in New Delhi in January 2008.

Originally slated for launch by October 2008, the Nano became the centrepiece of a political controversy after its maker was forced to relocate the main plant to western Gujarat state following protests by farmers in eastern West Bengal whose land was acquired for the factory.

Tata Motors has said the booking process and specific details will be announced on Monday afternoon and the order books would open from next month.

‘The car will be on display at Tata Motors dealerships from the first week of April 2009. Bookings will commence in the second week of April,’ Tata Motors said.

Dealers told the PTI news agency that if the company keeps the ex- factory price at 100,000 rupees, as promised, then the base model could easily have an on-road price of 120,000 rupees.

This would include taxes such as excise duty and road tax, along with local taxes, insurance and registration fees.

The 624-cc jellybean car with a snub nose and just enough room for five people will be available in three variants - standard, deluxe and luxury. The base model will have no air-conditioning.

The four-door car which has a small 33-bhp engine at the rear is targeted at the huge Indian middle-class population that aspires to trade two-wheelers for a safer vehicle at an affordable price.

With automotive industry experts predicting demand for the Nano will outstrip supply, there are concerns that the small car could mean big problems for Indian roads.

Studies by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment show that an influx of these cars could drive public transport and two- wheelers off the roads and greatly increase urban congestion and environmental degradation.

As critics question the car’s safety and emission standards, Tata has said the car complies with domestic emission norms and would also meet the stringent Euro 4 norms.

The car has also gone through a full frontal crash test in accordance with the standard norms, the company said last year.

The European version of the car was unveiled in the first week of this month at the Geneva Motor Show. The company plans to roll this out by 2011, complying with Euro V emission norms and added features.

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