Mumbai: Tata Motors’ Nano, the small car seen as a symbol of India’s expertise in frugal engineering, is likely to be launched on March 3. Billed as the world’s cheapest, the small car’s first recipients may be celebrities, including political leaders, social workers, sports stars and film stars.
Government officials said the company had chosen March 3 as the launch date because it is the birth anniversary of Tata Group founder, Jamsetji Tata. However, the details had not yet been firmed up.
When contacted, a spokesperson for Tata Motors said, “We have not announced an official date or any marketing plans so far.”
Sources in the government, however, said: “The Tatas are planning to give Nano to celebrities initially. Senior Tata officials had discussed this at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit recently.”
Those likely to figure in the list include President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Opposition Leader LK Advani.
The company may also reserve a Nano for Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, where it was to be made initially. Others likely to get it are sports stars like Sania Mirza, Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Still others may be those who endorse Tata brands, like actors Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgan and Kajol.
Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, who was instrumental in attracting the Nano plant to Gujarat after it failed to take off in West Bengal owing to political controversy over land acquisition, may also be given the car.
“This marketing strategy will help the Tatas brand the common man’s car as people’s car. It will be a car for the masses,” sources said.
However, the masses may have to brave a waiting period as Tata Motors dealers will start taking bookings for the car before the Sanand factory reaches full production. The booking amount is likely to be Rs 70,000 a car.
The standard model will be available for Rs 1 lakh and there will two other models priced at Rs 1.24 lakh and Rs 1.34 lakh.