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Nano says Tata to truckmaker image

Nano, the wheels that millions of Indians have been waiting to drive, on Monday hit the roads and waved goodbye to Tata Motors' enduring image as a truckmaker.

autos Updated: Mar 23, 2009 17:25 IST

Nano, the wheels that millions of Indians have been waiting to drive, on Monday hit the roads and waved goodbye to Tata Motors' enduring image as a truckmaker.

Although the hatchback Indica, launched in December 1998, helped clear the good-for-only-trucks air surrounding Tata, it was the Nano - the sub-$ 2,500 car - that made the global auto industry stand up and take notice of the company that was set up in 1945 to manufacture locomotives.

In 1954, Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co Ltd began manufacturing medium commercial vehicles along with Daimler Benz AG of West Germany.

The Nano, unveiled at the ninth Auto Expo in New Delhi last year, is possibly the world's most anticipated car since the original people's car Ford Model T.

"The most talked-about car at the Detroit auto show (2008) is a car that isn't here and isn't intended to ever be sold in US showrooms," wrote the USA Today after the Nano was unveiled.

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said on Monday that he plans to export an upgraded version of the Nano to eastern and western Europe, the UK and possibly to the US as well.

"From today onwards, the product will be available in the showrooms... We hope this day we will usher in a new form of transport," Tata said at the commercial launch on Monday.