“People’s car” Nano is poised to sweep Nepal with over 350 bookings in just 10 days since the world’s cheapest four-wheeler was launched in the Himalayan republic June 26.
Sipradi Trading, the exclusive dealer of the Tata Motors’s vehicles in Nepal, said the majority of buyers, almost 40 percent, ordered the Nano Standard, priced at NRS 7.98 lakh in Nepal (about Rs.5 lakh in India).
Though the Nano in Nepal costs almost five times as much as in India, thanks to whopping 240 percent taxes, it is still the cheapest car in Nepal with its nearest competitor, the Maruti 800 priced at about NRS 14 lakh.
The introductory price of the Nano remained valid for the 10 days of the first phase of booking. Now the Indian manufacturer will pore over the response, there have been over 8,000 queries,to firm up its strategy in Nepal as well as the final price.
Unlike in India, where the cost of the Nano varies from state to state, in Nepal, there is only one price for one model. The actual delivery of the cars will take place in July-end. Besides the budget buyer, the Nano has also been a godsend for Nepal’s banks, generating brisk new business.
While Indian monolith State Bank of India’s joint venture in Nepal, Nepal SBI, was yet to respond and Punjab National Bank’s JV Everest Bank was mulling the prospects, 10 enterprising Nepali banks had tied up with Sipradi to provide car financing.
The tie-up makes the Nano Standard even more affordable, requiring only an initial cash payment of NRS 10,000, less than Indian Rs.7,000. Sipradi said 65 percent of the buyers had availed of the bank financing.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with minimum wages below NRS 4,000 and the Nano’s arrival had been awaited keenly by the salaried classes.
Nepal became the second international destination for the Nano after Sri Lanka. Now the manufacturers are discussing exports in other countries in the neighbourhood.