More than 203,000 people made down payments on the new Tata Nano car in the two weeks following its launch on 9 April 2009, according to the Environmental Transport Association (ETA).
About one in five of the sales were for the £1,300 base model, which has been widely touted as the “world’s cheapest car,” while half the orders were for the top-of-the-range Nano LX. Total orders for the vehicle are worth over $500 million.
The first vehicles are expected to be delivered in July, although some customers will have to wait longer, as the number of bookings is more than double what Tata is capable of building in the car’s initial production run.
The Tata Nano is a small-engined and extremely lightweight four-seater car which gets an average mileage of 50 miles per gallon.
Critics of the vehicle warn about the potential environmental impact if it eventually sells a million units a year in the sub-continent as predicted. However, Andrew Davis, director of the EGA, says that a lightweight car such as the Nano could provide a template for cars in the West
“We struggle to reduce our emissions of CO2 at the same time as even the smallest model of car is weighed down with features such as air conditioning, electric windows and ABS brakes,” Davis said.