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Crowds throng showrooms to admire world’s cheapest car

Crowds throng showrooms to admire world’s cheapest car
AFP
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First Published: Wed, Apr 01 2009. 10 44 PM IST

Bedazzling: The Tata Nano on display at a showroom in New Delhi on Wednesday. Shirish Shete / PTI
Bedazzling: The Tata Nano on display at a showroom in New Delhi on Wednesday. Shirish Shete / PTI
Updated: Wed, Apr 01 2009. 10 44 PM IST
New Delhi: The Tata Nano, dubbed the world’s cheapest car, went on display in showrooms across India on Wednesday, drawing large crowds anxious to see and even sit inside a vehicle that could transform their lives.
Bedazzling: The Tata Nano on display at a showroom in New Delhi on Wednesday. Shirish Shete / PTI
Reservations for Tata Motors Ltd’s small but sporty new vehicle, which costs Rs1 lakh, will start on 9 April.
“This is a good car for me,” said office clerk Anil Kumar, 37, as he sat in the front of the four-door car at a Tata dealership in New Delhi. “It means safety for my family,” said Kumar, who now transports his wife and three children around town on a motorcycle.
“I’m going to buy one,” he said, as other potential owners jostled for a closer look at the silver, snub-nosed car which has a tiny two-cylinder, 33hp engine.
Kumar is the typical buyer that Tata group chief Ratan Tata had in mind when he conceived of the Nano as an affordable way for Indians to replace their unsafe motorcycles with safer cars.
The Nano drew worldwide attention at a glitzy launch in Mumbai last week, and models for the European and US markets are in the pipeline.
But even Indians will struggle to get their hands on one in the near future, with demand red hot and production limited after Tata was forced to quit its main Nano factory in West Bengal due to a violent property dispute.
To cope with the huge interest and supply shortages, the first 100,000 owners are being selected by lottery.
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First Published: Wed, Apr 01 2009. 10 44 PM IST