Taiwan may start importing Nano from India

A Taiwanese firm plans to start importing the Indian-made Nano, the world's cheapest car, targeting the island's millions of motorcyclists as potential buyers, a company official said Wednesday.

"We're working on it," said an official at TECO Electric and Machinery Co, a Taipei-based conglomerate with businesses ranging from home appliances and telecommunications equipment to IT systems and commercial electronics.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to give any further details, such as a timetable for when the imports can begin.

Industry observers said the snub-nosed, jelly-bean shaped mini car, produced by Tata Motors, could find a ready audience among low-income Taiwanese currently riding scooters and motorbikes.

"Cars like that may be welcomed by local commuters on two wheels who are unable to afford higher-priced cars, as they can offer shelter from heat and rain," said Toreo Lin, editor of Taipei-based AG Auto Graphic magazine.

Taiwan, an island of 23 million, had 14.6 million scooters and motorcycles at the end of December, according to statistics compiled by the transportation ministry.

Local media said an upgraded version of the Nano -- to be equipped with air conditioners, power windows and air bags -- could carry a price tag of around 270,000 Taiwan dollars ($8,940).

TECO recently imported two Nanos for study purposes, one of which is being kept by TECO Honorary Chairman Huang Mao-hsiung, who was among the first in the company to eye the car's potential.

"Huang said that he was very surprised during a trip to India last year when he saw the Nanos made at such low price levels running on the streets," the company official said.

"He felt good about its quality after test driving it there by himself."
The official said TECO has not yet decided if it will assemble the Nano in Taiwan, or import the completed vehicles from India.

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