Ratan Tata presents Nano to first three customers

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Mumbai, July 17 (ANI): Tata Motors Chairman Ratan Tata presented the first Tata Nanos, the world's cheapest car, to three customers at a dealership in the Prabhadevi area in central Mumbai on Friday.

The keys of the three cars were delivered to Ashok Vichare, Ashish Balakrishnan and A. Chandrashekaran. One of them said that he would be driving his historic car to Mumbai's Siddhivinayaka Temple.

Analysts said the delivery was a positive step, after a land dispute forced the firm off the site of a factory in Singur, West Bengal, that it was building to produce the cars, fuelling concerns about its ability to meet demand on time.

Some 100,000 people were selected from a ballot to be the first recipients of the Nano, which reviewers have compared to the European Smart car and the classic Volkswagen Beetle.

They include a roadside cobbler from Mumbai, who had been saving for seven years to buy a two-wheeler, but decided to wait and upgrade to four wheels on hearing that the vehicle would sell for just 100,000 rupees.

Others among the 203,000 people who placed orders included an 82-year-old former assistant commissioner of Mumbai police who used to ride a scooter and a market trader looking for an investment for his 12-year-old son.

Ratan Tata launched the Nano in March, predicting the no-frills vehicle would revolutionise travel for millions of Indians, getting the growing middle-class, urban population off motorcycles and into safer, affordable cars.

Three versions of the sporty, jellybean-shaped Nano went on sale in April: the basic model and more expensive CX and LX versions, which have extra features like air-conditioning, automatic windows and central locking.

The standard model sells for 140,000 rupees including tax in the showroom. The deluxe models cost up to 185,000 rupees.

Tata Motors' Pantnagar factory in Gujarat can produce up to 50,000 Nanos every year. (ANI)

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