April 9, 2009 / 10:44 AM / 11 years ago

Q+A: Bookings open for Tata's Nano, world's cheapest car

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Bookings for Tata Motors (TAMO.BO) eagerly awaited Nano, dubbed the world’s cheapest car, open on Thursday.

The Nano was formally launched by Chairman Ratan Tata on March 23 and has been available for viewing in showrooms around the country from April 1, as are application forms.

The Nano made a much-trumpeted debut in January 2008 and was due to go on sale late last year, but its arrival was delayed by a dispute over the land where a purpose-built facility was to be located.

Following are some frequently asked questions.

WHAT WILL THE NANO COST?

Prices vary, but the standard Nano will cost 100,000 rupees ($1,993), ex-factory, though this is available to only 100,000 buyers who will be selected through a computer generated draw sometime between late-April and late-June. Showroom prices start from 112,735 rupees for the standard version and go up to 185,375 rupees for the luxury version.

WHAT IS THE BOOKING FEE FOR THE NANO?

For the standard version it is 95,000 rupees, rising to 120,000 rupees for the mid-segment model and 140,000 rupees for the luxury variant.

WHAT IS THE BOOKING PROCESS?

Customers can book online at www.tatanano.com and pay the booking fee there. Or they can book via forms at specified branches of State Bank of India (SBI.BO), the country’s largest lender which is managing the process, dealerships and other outlets. Customers can get financing from 18 banks and Tata Motors Finance. Booking fees for financing start from 2,850 rupees for the standard model, at interest rates ranging from 9 percent to 14.25 percent.

HOW MANY NANOS WILL TATA MAKE?

Large-scale production has been delayed by the relocation row that shifted output to Gujarat from West Bengal last year. As a stop-gap arrangement, Nanos will be rolled out from Tata’s existing car factory in Pantnagar in Northern India, which has the capacity to produce 50,000 units a year.

WHEN WILL CUSTOMERS GET THEIR CARS?

Bookings close on April 25, and within 60 days Tata Motors will announce the allotment of 100,000 cars in the first phase of deliveries. These 100,000 cars will be price protected at the launch price until delivery, but the booking fee will bear no interest for the customer. Deliveries will start from July.

WHAT HAPPENS TO CUSTOMERS NOT AMONG THE INITIAL 100,000?

Applicants can rollover their booking deposit even if they aren’t among the first 100,000 buyers. They will earn interest on that deposit — from the date that a second phase allotment is announced — at 8.5 percent to rollover the deposit for between 1 and 2 years and 8.75 percent for more than 2 years. The allotment of those keeping their deposits at Tata will be announced along with those chosen for the first 100,000 cars.

HOW BIG IS THE NANO?

The car can seat 4 people. Tata’s chairman has said his inspiration for the cheap car was the common sight on Indian roads of a family of four riding a motorbike.

HOW MANY INDIANS OWN A CAR?

There are around 9 vehicles per 1,000 people, well below levels in developed countries. India’s population is around 1.1 billion.

HOW MUCH DOES A 2-WHEELER (SCOOTER, BIKE) COST?

Prices of motorcycles range from 30,000 rupees at the low end to 1.2 million rupees at the higher-end. Tata has said the Nano aims to give people the chance to shift from a bike to car ownership.

$1=50.18 rupees Reporting by Janaki Krishnan, Editing by Ian Geoghegan

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