Tata Motors has started sending its small car Nano to overseas markets, with shipment of 498 units in April 2011 and a formal announcement of starting exports of the 'people's car' is expected soon.
According to figures released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Monday, Tata Motors exported 498 units in April as compared to just a single unit in the corresponding month 2010.
When contacted, the company, however, declined to share details such as which are the countries where Nanos have been despatched in last month.
'We will make an announcement regarding exports of Nano very shortly,' a Tata Motors spokesperson said.
Without identifying a timeline to share the details, the official further said, 'For various reasons, we need to send out the cars. If we want to market and sell a car tomorrow, then it cannot be started immediately tomorrow.'
Last month, the Tata group had said Tata Motors was 'at a very high stage' in finalising a production site for its small car Nano at an overseas location, which could be either in Latin America, South East Asia or Africa.
'The work is at a very high stage,' Tata Industries managing director Kishor A Chaukar had said when asked about a time-line to produce Nano in any of the overseas locations.
He had said that the automobile major was exploring various options at different places and looking at uninterrupted supply chain for the components.
Tata Motors is looking at various regions such as Latin America, South East Asia and Africa. 'They are looking at any of these possibilities,' Chaukar had said.
Apart from considering land building facilities availability, Tata Motors is looking at supply chain availability and at the accessibilities of markets.
Besides, the company was exploring possibilities in different neighbouring nations such as Nepal.
In June, 2010, Tata Motors' distributor in Nepal, Sipradi Trading Chief Executive Officer Shambhu Prasad Dahal had said his company would import five Nano cars as a test drive in the first lot by July 2010.
He, however, had said the price of Nano could touch NPR 700,000 (about ₹4.5 lakh) because of the 300% customs duty in the Himalayan Kingdom.
Nano, touted as the world's cheapest car, is now produced at Sanand in Gujarat for the Indian market after initially producing at Pantnagar in Uttarakhand.
In 2009, Tata Motors unveiled the European version of Nano - Nano Europa - at the 79th Geneva Motor Show.
The company was expected to launch the car in Europe by 2011. The version in Europe is said to have airbags, central locking and would be Euro V emission norms compliant.
Although Tata Motors did not reveal any price tag for the Nano Europa, British media had predicted a price of over USD 6,000. The Indian edition of the car hit the roads in 2009 for about $2,500.
Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata had said that the European version of the Nano would come with airbags and other high-end features, 'but it will still be a low-cost car'.