Monday, Tata Motors Ltd. (TTM), announced the commercial launch of Tata Nano, the world's least expensive car. The standard model of the car that can carry four passengers comes at an attractive price tag of US$2050. Nano is all set to herald a revolution in the personal transportation in India and to expand the country's car market segment. Nano Europa, a slightly robust European version was showcased in the first week of March at the Geneva Motor Show and will be launched in 2011. Besides, Tata Motors reportedly plans to launch a redesigned model of the 'People's car' for the US car market within the next three years.

The small car has been hitting headlines since January last year, when a prototype was unveiled at the 9th annual Auto Expo, in New Delhi, India. As per the latest schedule, Nano will be seen on Indian roads from July. The first 100 thousand owners will be randomly picked from bookings made between April 9 and 25 at around 30 thousand centers.

The 'spacious' mini car powered by a 623cc, 33 HP petrol engine with a competitive mileage of 23.6 kilometers per liter at test conditions comes in three variants. The base model Tata Nano Standard is priced at INR1.23 million, ex-showroom Delhi. The base model has no air-conditioning and power steering.

The mid-variant, Tata Nano CX, comes with power steering and air-conditioning at INR 1.51 million. The high-end, fully loaded variant, Nano LX, comes with front power windows, power steering, air-conditioning and body- colored bumpers at INR 1.72 million.

Nano Car has a length of 3.1 meters, width of 1.5 meters and height of 1.6 meters. Its small size coupled with a turning radius of just 4 meters, makes it extremely maneuverable in the smallest of parking slots. Compared to its closest rival in India, Maruti 800, Nano has 21% more interior space and an 8% smaller exterior. Tata noted that, Nano complies with Bharat Stage-III and Euro-IV emission standards.

Speaking at the commercial launch on Monday, Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons and Tata Motors said, The Nano represents the spirit of breaking conventional barriers. From the drawing board to its commercial launch, the concept, development and productionisation of the car has overcome several challenges. It is to the credit of the team at Tata Motors that a car once thought impossible by the world is now a reality. I hope it will provide safe, affordable, four-wheel transportation to families who till now have not been able to own a car. We are delighted in presenting the Tata Nano to India and the world.

Nano's road to launch was not as smooth, as Tata motors had to cease operations in its Singur plant on October 2, 2008 following stiff resistance from local farmers and politicians. The INR 2000 crore project has been hard hit by global downturn and soaring steel price. The car is six-months behind the original schedule and expects at least one year to complete its exclusive plant in Sanand, Gujarat. Upon completion, the plant will have an annual capacity of 3,50,000 units.

Shares of Tata Motors (TTM) closed Monday's regular trading at $5.10, up 13.33% or $0.60, on a volume of 1.8 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

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