Pune: The country’s largest auto maker, Tata Motors Ltd, plans to deliver its low-cost Nano car in dealer showrooms by end-February, at least two people familiar with the development said.
Nano has attracted global attention for its price tag starting at Rs1 lakh, making it the world’s cheapest car.
It was not immediately clear whether sales of the car or bookings would begin immediately and how many dealerships would be delivered the car.
The people, who requested anonymity, said Tata Motors is keen to drive the Nano into dealer showrooms for potential customers to look at and get a feel of the car, which is expected to be a volume grosser for the company eventually.
“Both the base model and a fully-loaded, deluxe model will be displayed at showrooms towards the end of the next month,” one person said.
With pressure mounting on Tata Motors to launch the car this quarter in line with the company’s announcements, the people said, the company had decided to manufacture engines for the Nano for now at a pilot plant that is being set up in the engineering research centre at its Pune plant. The plant will also manufacture gear boxes. The engine plant, which had come up in Singur in West Bengal, is being shifted to Pune but since that will mean a loss of time, a new line has been put up at the centre, one person said.
In September, Tata Motors withdrew from Singur after protests by locals backed by the regional Trinamool Congress party. “The car, however, will be made in Uttarakhand with plans to make some 5,000 by end-March and 10,000 by end-December,” a second person said. Nano, which was to be launched in October, will now be produced in volumes only at least a year from now as the company works towards constructing a new plant at Sanand, Gujarat.
A Tata Motors spokesman declined to confirm the February launch of the Nano. “We will make appropriate announcements at an appropriate time,” the spokesperson said in an email.
Meanwhile, vendors of Tata Motors, who invested in new facilities for the now defunct Nano plant at Singur, are being finally offered some relief. At least three vendors told Mint the auto maker is now offering land at its proposed vendor park at Sanand on lease instead of them having to purchase land once again.
Allotment of land to a first lot of vendors began last week. Each vendor is being offered the same amount of land that they had purchased in Singur.
This was confirmed by the company. “The company has begun the process of offering plots to those vendors for the Nano who are required to be housed at the vendor park. They are the same set as in Singur, including those who already had begun facilities at Singur and those who were to have”, the spokesman said.
The construction of the Sanand plant, meanwhile, is progressing. “At present we have already completed piling and foundation work for some of the main shops, and have begun to create in-plant infrastructural facilities, like roads, storm water lines, service lines etc.,” the spokesman added.