Tata Nano - Click above for high-res image galleryThe Tata Nano continues to take India by storm, and residents of the world's second most populous country appear to have gone over the deep end in an effort to secure their own personal "people's car." Australian website Drive is reporting that car buyers are paying a markup of up to 30% to purchase secondhand Nanos from the initial batch of buyers. The pent-up demand for the Nano stems in part from the fact that far more people signed up to purchase the econobox than Tata Motors has the factory capacity to build. To distribute the initial Nano allotment fairly, Tata instituted a lottery system to choose the first 100,000 customers eligible to buy the $2,500 city car.
One would think that the source of this heavy demand comes from families looking to secure a still inexpensive car, but a Mumbai car salesman seems to think it has more to do with an odd "fetish" for the car. Arif Fazulbhoy reportedly told Drive that the wealthy of India are paying over sticker to get their hands on the Nano because it has become a hot and trendy status symbol, adding "They tend to be very rich people who want the Nano for the snob value because it's new in the market." The Nano model fetching the highest premium on the open market is the XL, which has features like air conditioning and central locking.
While it's too bad that the "people's car" is being picked up mainly by India's elite, at least the lower middle class is reaping the profits from the quirky little vehicle's healthy demand. There will likely be more opportunity to profit from the Nano over the next couple years as well, as the initial allotment of 100,000 units could take until the end of 2010 to get delivered – and there are over 200,000 customers waiting in the queue.