World's cheapest car on sale next month, but could cost over £2000
23 March 2009

The Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, is being launched in Mumbai today.

The tiny four-door will cost from 112,000 rupees (or £1350) when the company starts to take orders for the car next month.

However, Tata is expected to receive 500,000 applications for the car, which could lead to a waiting list of up to three years.

A new factory should be up and running next year, despite delays caused by an industrial dispute, but may only have capacity to build 350,000 cars a year.

Until then Tata is thought to only be able to provide 50,000 cars annually.

Because of the expected demand Tata will open up a booking process between 9 April and 24 April.

Customers can buy booking forms for 300 rupees (£4) and then either finance the booking themselves or seek financing for the booking amount.

Read Steve Cropley's blog on the Tata Nano

Driven: read the Tata Nano first drive

Watch the Tata Nano first drive video

And while the entry level Nano Standard will fulfill the original promise of a car costing around 100,000 rupees, the 112,000 rupees price will only be available to customers who collect the car from the plant.

Customers collecting their Nanos from a dealership will pay more; in the case of the Nano Standard with the cleaner of two petrol engine options, it will cost an extra 13,290 rupees (£158) to collect it from the Mumbai dealer.

And the most expensive Nano costs 185,375 rupees, or £2213, collected from the Mumbai dealer.

The Tata Nano is just over three metres in length and powered by a twin-cylinder, 624cc petrol engine.

The 35bhp unit is located in the back of the car and drives the rear wheels.

From 1 April the cars, which will come in three variants, will be on display across the country at Tata dealerships.

The most basic version, the Nano Standard, comes in three colours and has a fold-down rear seat. The Nano CX has a heater and air conditioning, while the LX has a host of features including electric windows and central locking.

The company says that the Nano will open up car ownership to millions within India’s billion-strong population.

Despite facing huge demand for the Nano, experts estimate the car will not create enough revenue to refinance by June a £1.3bn bridging loan Tata used to buy Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford.

Some industry analysts also estimate that it will be five or six years before the Indian manufacturer makes a profit from the Nano.

At the Geneva motor show this month Tata unveiled a European version of the Nano, which had been significantly changed to meet European crash regulations and provides a higher level of luxury.

The Nano Europa will be available in both left-hand drive and right-hand drive, is fitted with a three-cylinder engine, and will cost around £4500 when it arrives in 2011.

Ollie Stallwood

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