Tata Motors ‘ new Nano ‘people’s car’ will be launched officially in India on Monday but won’t be seen in any volume on the roads until the middle of the year, reports suggested today.


Tata unveiled the car – starting price one lakh (INR100,000;US$2,000) – at the Delhi motor show on 10 January 2008 and has since said it had attracted “an unprecedented interest in the country”, with its website having recorded over 30m hits in the past year year and the appearance of over 6,000 online interest groups and communities.


According to today’s reports, orders will be taken only from the second week of April, with delivery some time after that, despite the March ‘launch’.


“It would take at least until July for the cars to be actually on the roads,” a sales manager at Mumbai dealership Fortune Cars told Reuters.


Although the car was first launched in India in January 2008, problems with a new factory – ultimately abandoned due to local farmers’ protests over land seizures – delayed the roll out. Tata is building launch stock in existing plants until a new facility in a more hospitable location opens later.


Earlier this month, Tata used the Geneva show as the launchpad for its new European specification Nano Europa developed, it said, “for a future launch in select international markets”. It is expected to be on sale in Europe by 2011.