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'World's cheapest car' launched in India


Tato Nano attempts to bring car ownership to India's poor

Ratan Tata, the Indian owner of Jaguar and Land Rover and chairman of Tata Motors, has launched the Tata Nano, in the hope of getting millions off their motorbikes.
Tata said he had been inspired by his fear for the safety of lower-middle-class families who ride four and five to a bike on India's dangerous roads.

The Nano's basic model will sell for 100,000 rupees (NZ$3477).

It is a stripped-down car measuring 3.1m long, has a 624cc engine, one windshield wiper, no airbags and can travel just 105kph.

Consumers seeking air conditioning, a radio, or power steering will have to pay extra.

The company has unveiled a lottery system for prospective buyers of the first 100,000 cars, which it said will hit the roads in July. Would-be buyers must purchase application forms, and the successful applicants will be chosen randomly.

The company also announced a State Bank of India-backed scheme which will allow poor buyers to drive home a Nano with an initial payment of around NZ$102.

Tata said the company plans to offer the Nano for sale in the UK and Europe by 2011.

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