M A I N   N E W S

Nano for India, electric car for Norway
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 23
Ratan Tata today announced plans to launch an Electric Indica model in Norway and a US version of the Nano. He was speaking after the commercial launch of the people’s car, booking for which will begin on April 9. The first batch of the Nano will be on the road in July, he promised and announced that the first batch of cars, to be allotted by lottery, will be price-protected and made available at Rs one lakh, including tax and duties.

Non-availability of lithium batteries, said Tata, was coming in the way of mass production of electric cars. For the time being the company planned to manufacture the electric car for the Norwegian market only, he added.

To Mamata Banerjee, who drove the Nano out of Bengal, he would only like to say, “Good Afternoon”, said the Tata Group chairman in response to a question. There was a delay in launching the Nano but he did not want buyers to wait indefinitely. “It is like waiting for a pretty lady. If you wait too long, she can get fat and ugly,” he joked.

The first batch of the Nano will roll out of the Pantnagar unit in Uttarakhand and from Pune while the plant in Gujarat will start production by the end of this year.

The base model of the Nano will have no airconditioning. There will be three versions and the higher versions will have power brakes and windows besides the AC. Financial analysts, however, pointed out that Tata Motors was a debt-ridden company now and unless it sells two to three million units of the Nano, it might find it difficult to break even.

US auto critics, however, have given the thumbs-up to the Nano with a few reservations. Critics have written that four adults can sit comfortably in the Nano in which the seats are thin, flat but ‘surprisingly comfortable’.

Plastic and fabric quality is better than expected but the carpet looks cheap, observes Autoweek after a test-drive in Pune.

But critics felt that the car made too much sound and the engine is not smooth. “It sounds a bit like a land mower,” wrote a critic while another specialized magazine reported that even at idle, you can feel the engine rocking…” But the gear-box is described as “precise, light and pleasing”.

Nano’s efficient airconditioning and brakes have come in for praise but a critic grumbled, “Drive the Nano through curves and it leans like the Tower of Pisa”.



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