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Small car - big market

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Small car - big market

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The Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, has been officially launched in India.

It is due to arrive on the roads in July after a series of setbacks. The main production plant had to be moved following land protests, the company posted its first loss in seven years, its shares have dropped seventy percent and its credit rating been cut. But for Tata’s boss, Ratan Tata, this is his dream come true. At the launch he said: “It never was conceived of as being the cheapest car, it was conceived of as being the car that would give the people of India an opportunity to own a car that had not been within their reach before, and I hope, that that is what we will achieve.” Demand has outstripped supply for the tiny and basic car which costs the equivalent of just under 1,500 euros. Tata said he wants to build a more robust version in the future to meet European and even US safety regulations. Analysts say it will take at least five years before the Nano makes a profit. VW, Toyota, Honda and Fiat are all considering expanding into India. Renault-Nissan plans to launch a similar cheap car with a local partner in 2011.