May 5 – Indian truckmaker, Tata Motors, has received 203,000 orders for the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, worth close to 25 billion rupees or US$501 million.
The number is overwhelming and more than double of what the Mumbai-based company projected. According to Tata Motors, the deliveries will begin in July until completion during the last quarter of 2010.
The orders represent an estimated 17 percent of the 1.22 million passenger cars sold in the region’s fourth-biggest automobile market during the period ended March.
Based on numbers provided by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers; the top automobile brands in the country are Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., at 636,707 units, Hyundai Motor Co. at 244,030 and Tata Motors with 160,446.
The first 100,000 customers for the Nano will be chosen by lottery. The enthusiastic reception from the country’s first-time buyers and motorcyclists is in contrast with dropping automobile sales in the U.S. and Europe where the recession has curtailed demand.
The potential of the Indian market has led to a total US$6 billion of investment from top companies like Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and other carmakers. It is forecast that car sales in India would reach to 3 million units annually by 2015.