Tata knew pent-up demand for its super-cheap Nano would be so high in advance of its official delivery date that the Indian automaker set up an unique pre-ordering system allowing potential customers to sign up with booking forms. After all these forms have been collected, a computer will randomly choose the first 100,000 people to take possession of tiny Nano in July.
That process began just five days ago, on April 1st, and Tata has already sold over 51,000 booking forms to its dealer network and individual customers, with another 30,000 or so being taken from a number of Tata partners. Each order form is being sold for 300 Rupees, which is about $6 in U.S. funds. Prices for individual Nanos are reportedly ranging from between 95,000 and 145,000 Rupees ($1,880 to $2,780), which officially makes this the World's Cheapest Car.
One thing seems sure: Tata is going to sell a ton of these cars. Whether or not that's a good thing depends on your particular viewpoint. It's almost a certainty that people will be safer in the four-wheeled enclosed Nano than on the little scooters and cycles they are currently riding, but a number of environmental groups have voiced concerns over the impact this many new cars will have on their surroundings. Regardless of how this ultimately plays out, this is only the beginning.