Nano sales slump to new low in booming car mart

Sales of Tata Motors' showpiece car the Nano - billed as the cheapest car in the world - continued to slide for the fifth month running, touching a new low of 509 units in November.

The development came even as overall car sales in India continued to touch new highs in the month, and despite the company starting open sale of the Nano in several states.

From 8,000 units a few months ago, sales plummeted to 3,000 in October before it stooped to the three digit figure. Analysts attributed this to a poor distribution network as well as consumer concerns about safety - several brand new Nanos are reported to have caught fire this year.

The company says the causes of the fires were unrelated, and has even offered to retrofit corrective mechanisms. But this hardly exonerates it from the charge of poor engineering.

The company reported low sales for Nano even as it is ramping up the 250,000-capacity dedicated Nano plant at Sanand. The production is yet to stabilise in the new plant.

In response to a query, Tata Motors said Nano sales will go up with more sales points coming up. With open sales starting in Punjab today, the Nano will be available off the shelf in 12 states.