The Tata Nano was such a hot commodity when it entered the Indian market that Tata Motors felt compelled to hold a lottery to determine the first 100,000 customers. A reported 70,000 copies of the $2,500+ econobox have been sold to date, but November apparently didn't budge that number much.
Bloomberg reports that only 589 Nano models were sold in November; a minuscule total for a mass-market car. Tata CEO Carl-Peter Forster reportedly blames a lack of financing options as the reason customers aren't buying. Forster claims that the Nano is popular with customers who currently use a bike or motorcycle for transportation, and the feeling is that banks fear that extending a loan to a lower-income buyer could bring increased risk of default.
But while bank loans are one problem, another issue could stem from the fact that the Nano has been in the news for catching fire. That's definitely not a desirable feature, and we're thinking that customers who plunk down their life savings for their first vehicle don't want their low-cost car to turn into a pricey car-b-que. The 'no loans' theory sounds even less likely after hearing that overall Tata sales in November were 54,622, up one percent year-over-year. And the icing on the cake? Tata has also raised the price of the Nano twice over the past few months; $198 in October and four percent back in July. That's about $300 more than the car sold for at launch.