July 17, 2009

$2,025 car, the Nano, hits the streets

The proud owner of the world's cheapest new car rolled out of the dealer's lot Friday in India, declaring the Tata Nano was the vehicle for the average Joe.

I'm happy to be the first customer. This is a common man's car, said customs official Ashok Raghunath Vichare, new owner of a $2,025 four-door car with a 624 cubic centimeters rear-mounted engine.

About 200,000 people have orders for the car with Tata Motors, which used a ballot process to select the first half of those for initial deliveries, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported from Mumbai Friday.

But analysts say the company will not be able to fill orders for the plucky sedan fast enough. The primary factory to build the car, capable of producing 25,000 Nanos a year, has not been finished and is not expected to open until 2010.

Analysts say that if the car proves an immediate hit in its home market, Tata may struggle to meet demand.

The Nano's sticker price has given many owners a chance to splurge. Only 20 percent of the orders are for the basic, lowest-priced model, the BBC reported.