Tata Nano Gets 'Happiness Guarantee' to Boost Sales

Low sales due to concerns over safety, lack of financing and operational hiccups after production shifted to a new plant

The Indian makers of the Tata Nano, the world's cheapest new car, offered a "happiness guarantee" on Dec. 9 in an attempt to boost flagging sales. Tata Motors said new buyers and existing owners would be given a free four-year or 60,000-kilometer (37,000-mile) warranty after new figures revealed just 509 cars were sold in November.

The monthly sales were the lowest since the car was launched in July 2009, and come after Tata was forced to offer free safety upgrades because around half a dozen of the cars caught fire.

The dismal figures marked the fourth straight month of decline in sales of the snub-nosed car from a high of 9,000 cars in July. A basic model of the Nano costs about $2,500.

"By dint of its robust design and state-of-the-art components, the Tata Nano provides assured reliability, durability and safety," the company said as it announced the "Tata Nano Happiness Guarantee."

The Nano has been pitched as the "people's car" for India's aspiring middle classes, many of whom currently use motorbikes but want to upgrade to four wheels.

Analysts attributed the low sales to concerns over safety, lack of financing and operational hiccups after production shifted to a new plant.

Over 71,300 Nanos have been sold since its launch.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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