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Will Nano succeed where China failed?

March 12, 2009 15:32 IST

Tata's small car Nano may not be able to enter Europe due to stringent safety and emission norms, leading German luxury carmaker Audi said joining the list of auto players, who are sceptical about the prospects of the world's cheapest car.

Nano has always elicited sharp reactions from rival carmakers, including Maruti Suzuki, about its compatibility with safety norms, which Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata has been challenging.

"Entering (by any model) the US and European market is very tough due to very stringent security and consumption regulations. Many Chinese carmaker had earlier tried to enter Europe, but could not as they faced problems," Audi AG Member of the Board (Finance and Organisation) Axel Strotbek told PTI.

Asked if Nano could also face such difficulties in entering into Europe, he said: "Yes ... I don't think it will come here."

Axel said that safety, fuel efficiency and emission norms are very important for the European customers, "which I am very apprehensive of getting in this price (Nano's price)".

Last week, India's largest auto maker Tata Motors unveiled the European version of Nano at the Geneva Motor Show and received huge applause from car enthusiasts. The company plans to launch 'Nano Europa', loaded with additional safety features and complying with Euro V emission norm, by 2011.

Nano would be launched in India on March 23, booking for which would start from the second week of April. It was originally to be launched in the second-half of 2008, but was delayed after the company was forced to shift manufacturing base from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat.

The company's website featuring Nano has registered 30 million hits or visits since the car, with a base-price tag of Rs 100,000, was first unveiled. The company had announced the low-cost car project in 2006.

The hatchback car features a 624-cc petrol engine and the company claimed that Nano would give a mileage of 20 km per litre. Its engine is located on the rear and the boot space in the front.

Tata Motors chief Ratan Tata had last year said that he would retain the price tag at Rs 100,000 (for the base model) despite input costs shooting up. But since then, steel prices have plunged by up to 40 per cent from early 2008 levels and overall demand in the economy too has witnessed a slump.

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