Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 16:43 UK

World's cheapest car goes on sale

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Inside the tiny Tata Nano (first broadcast 2008)

The world's cheapest car, the Tata Nano, has gone on sale across India, with reports of customers queuing up to be the first to own one.

Tata Motors has opened bookings for the cars, which cost from 100,000 rupees ($1,979; £1,366) each.

Deliveries of the vehicle will start in July, after production delays caused by a dispute over land at its Singur site.

Tata Motors says it is confident of strong demand for the Nano despite the global downturn in car sales.

The company is asking for a large chunk of the money to be paid before delivery, which is scheduled for July.

The booking fee, or deposit, required for the basic model is 95,000 rupees, rising to 140,000 for the luxury model which has a full price of 185,000 rupees.

In addition, applicants have had to pay up to 300 rupees for an application form.

In the first phase of production, 100,000 cars will be made. They will be allocated to the first 100,000 customers picked at random from those who applied and paid deposits over the next three weeks.

'Milestone'

Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata has described the 10-foot (three-metre) long, five-seater car as a "milestone".

He says he got the idea for the car from the common sight of Indian families perched precariously on motorbikes.

Tata hopes the low-cost of the car will encourage millions of Indians to trade up from their motorcycles.

Currently, there are about nine cars per 1,000 people in India.



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