Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car, was recently launched in the Nepali market. Although the tax rate increased Nano's 'one lakh' tag by more than seven fold here the Nano took Nepal by storm. Within the first ten days after the bookings opened, more than 350 cars had been reserved.
Sipradi Trading, the authorised dealers for Tata vehicles in Nepal, tested the car's ability to handle Nepal's rugged roads by taking them on a nationwide tour. "The Nano is superior to its competition when it comes to space, features, safety and fuel efficiency," says Shawant Jung Sijapati, Deputy Manager at Sipradi. "And all this at a lower price."
Two weeks ago, Sipradi handed over the keys of the first 100 Nanos in Nepal. Nepali Times spoke to three families which now have the cars in their garages to gauge how they rate the Nano's performace.
Fifty-six years old Pustun had enjoyed the luxury of a car in the house when his father was employed in civil service. However, when his father retired, the family didn't buy a new car. Pustun says: "I was busy and hiring a driver would've been expensive". Pustun is an associate professor at Tribhuvan University while his wife Jebin takes care of the house. Their only son and daughter-in-law are living abroad. The couple now lives by themselves with a dog and a Nano as pets. "Getting a car became a necessity," explains Pustun. "Taxis are too expensive and it's uncomfortable to always ask for a lift." The couple has bought a red Nano CX. "The car is comfy and has the basic facilities, what more do you need anyway?"
Toran and Tirsana migrated from Kabhre to Kathmandu after their marriage 11 years ago. Toran runs a catering business while Tirsana is a housewife. The family photo is complete with two sons, Tiroj and Tonas.
And now a Nano. "We wanted a car, but the parking space in our house is very narrow," says Toran. "The Nano was a perfect fit." The family has bought a yellow Nano LX. "The car's pick up is good, but the brakes are a little stiff," comments Toran. Tirsana feels this is a good investment. "A car is important when there are two kids," says Tirsana. "Especially, when we have to go out at night or when it's raining."
"We didn't really have plans to purchase a car," says Naresh. "But Nano came by and it seemed like a good deal." Naresh is a financial auditor and Sudhi is an architect. The two have been married for eight years and have a seven-year-old son, Nripesh. Naresh and Sudhi live in a joint family and although the family already had a four-wheeler, this was this first personal purchase. Now a red Nano CX is parked in front of their house. "My husband and I use two-wheelers to get to work, but family outings were difficult," Sudhi says. "With a car at home, it will be easier for all of us to go out together."