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Close to the launch of Nano, jittery used car dealers have slashed prices by more than 25-35% in recent weeks. Industry officials say dealers are trying to move prices closer to the Rs 1 lakh-mark to be competitive with Nano.

Prices of mid-sized cars are down by over 25% and by 20% for smaller cars. Dealers are offering the four-to-five-year-old Ford Ikon, Maruti Esteem, Opel Corsa or Fiat Sienna for around Rs 1 lakh.

“When the Nano gets launched, the A and B segment (small) cars will see a further correction. Currently, the price erosion is lesser in the A and B segment used cars,” said Vinay Sanghi, chief (new business development for the after-market sector), Mahindra First Choice Wheels.

In recent months, car manufactures have dropped prices of new cars and also started offering discounts to clear inventories. This is having a direct bearing on used car prices, said a few used car dealers ET spoke to. Dealers feel customers are now looking at used cars more closely.

Source: Pricewale.com

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Bookings for the Rs 1 lakh Nano will begin by February end. The booking amount for the world’s cheapest car will be around Rs 70,000.But, even after paying 70% of the car’s total cost, the wait could be quite long.

Sources familiar with development said that all dealers of Tata Motors and branches of the State Bank of India (SBI) will accept bookings simultaneously across the country in the next three weeks. SBI will initially engaged 100 branches and take the number eventually to 1,000.

Tata Motors and SBI have entered into an exclusive arrangement for the Nano car. SBI will not only act as sole lender to buyers but also offer its branches for bookings.

As Tata Motors is eyeing initial bookings of over one lakh cars, the company hopes to collect around Rs 700 crore in just a few weeks. Allotment will be made through a draw and, going by projections even during this recession, those at the top of the draw would have the choice of becoming proud owners of the first Nanos, or getting a premium in the black market.

Nano would be launched in March 2009 with cars rolling out from the Pantnagar plant in Uttranchal. This plant can produce only 3,000 cars per month — just a fraction of the demand.

Things will ease only after the cars roll out of Sanand plant near Ahmedabad which will have an initial capacity of producing 2,50,000 cars per annum. But the Gujarat plant will take at least one year to start production.

Nano’s launch had been scheduled for 2008 but plans got derailed when Tatas were forced out of Singur in West Bengal.


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