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Suddenly, the pop star of the car world looked less like Kylie and more like Cher. When the Nano – the world’s cheapest car, with a price tag of $US2000 – was launched in early 2009, Indians beamed like proud parents, enjoying the acclaim it won for its originality and the hope it gave of owning a new car. But in November, only 509 were sold, down 85 per cent from November 2009. Its maker, Tata Motors, sold 9000 cars last July. Most Indians believe that if you praise a child excessively, you risk inviting misfortune, but they probably don’t think cars are similarly vulnerable.
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Password is required. After the fires, car owners seeking a runabout decided the Nano was no longer fun or trendy and first-time buyers began exploring the second-hand car market, especially as they doubted the Nano could handle highways. You will need Javascript enabled to use our Commenting Feature. Still not sure of your account login? Motoring writer Morad Ali Baig said the Nano was a ”good product”, but Indian consumers were ”unforgiving”. Cancel Would you like to comment? Please check the following fields before continuing:

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Account login is required. It was the Nano’s price tag that caught people’s imagination. The company insisted that the car was safe but, to be doubly sure, installed additional features. Log in

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Simply log in below to start commenting on articles. Would you like to comment? Not a member? In their new advertising, they show a little girl waiting excitedly for her father to come home in a new daffodil-yellow Nano. Your account login
Your account login will be one of two things. Forgotten your password? In a bid to boost sales, Tata Motors has recently started offering a maintenance contract for $US2.50 a month. The Nano is in trouble, partly because of the sheer hype that surrounded it but principally because of safety concerns, lack of easy credit and pricing. It is also trying to undo the negative publicity caused by several cars suddenly catching fire. If only they had thought of that earlier. Unsure of your account login? ”The Indian consumer doesn’t want a good car, he wants the best, so why should he buy any car that has the slightest shadow over it?” he said. I’d rather take out a bigger loan and get another car than feel nervous every time my kids go out in the car,” said school teacher Meenakshi Khurana, who last month bought an Alto, the next cheapest car at $US6000. But I was still taken aback at the final cost and my wife thought we should consider another small car,” said Altaf Ali, a Delhi engineer who bought a Nano because he wanted a ”piece of history”. Sign up for a free account. Tata Motors also seems to have realised the need to, as Baig puts it, ”fun it up” a bit. Sign up for a free account
Already a Fairfax Digital Member? ”When I saw how fast the fire spread on TV, that decided it for me. Have your account details emailed to you. As the little car effortlessly negotiates the difficult terrain, it attracts admiring glances. Once home, the girl dabs the Nano with a touch of her kohl, a traditional gesture intended to ward off the evil eye. It will either be your email address, or it will be the username you entered when you first registered (e.g. Yet when customers went to buy it, the final bill was usually closer to $US3700 – still amazingly cheap, but closer to the price of other small cars. ”We paid extra for the air conditioning.  

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Be the first to comment. Oddly enough, the car – meant to offer comfort and safety to Indians who normally travel dangerously perched on scooters – has been bought largely by people who already have a car but liked the idea of it for local errands. Not everyone was convinced.
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