India's biggest vehicles maker Tata Motors is trying to make buying cars as simple as ordering a cell phone. Keeping up with the online social networking boom in the country, the Mumbai-based car and truck manufacturer is looking to sell its most affordable car Nano through the internet.
The company, which has test-marketed a few units through the online medium, is planning to take a larger push even as sales of the car continue to remain subdued.
"We have some interesting instances where parents have bought the Nano for their sons/daughters. This is a very interesting trend," said Ranjit Yadav, president (passenger vehicle business unit), Tata Motors.
While customers may not be able to make the payment of the car in full, they can pay the booking amount of the Nano and get the car delivered at their door step or get delivered at the nearest Tata Motors dealership.
Sales through the online medium is one among a variety of measures taken by Tata Motors to spruce sales of the Nano. The model has been struggling to generate volumes. The car is prices at Rs 1.64 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai, standard variant).
Sales of the Tata Nano has stabilised at around 2,000 units a month, a far cry from the predicted sales of 20,000 a month. The highest monthly sales achieved by the model since its commercial launch in 2009 was nearly 10,500 units.
In the first quarter of this financial year, sales of the car plunged to 3,965 units, a fall of 82 per cent, compared with 22,140 units sold in the corresponding period last year, according to data provided by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Tata Motors had launched a unique promotional platform under which customers could switch to the small car in exchange of their existing two-wheeler in addition to a further cash discount offered by the company or the dealer or both.
In March, Tata Motors offered the option to buyers to use their credit cards to purchase the Nano. The company promised to charge zero per cent interest rate on the purchase and an equated monthly installment of Rs 8,333 per Rs 100,000.
The new 2013 Nano, which was showcased last month, is being prepared for commercial launch either this month or next month. The new Nano offers remote keyless entry, twin gloveboxes, and a four-speaker music system with bluetooth, USB and Aux-in connectivity.
This is not the first time when a car manufacturer is selling a model through the internet in India. Czech car brand SkodaAuto sold the compact yet premium hatchback Fabia through the internet taking its entire range on the online platform.
This allowed the company to offer discounts ranging from Rs 40,000-50,000 of the hatchback, which would have otherwise gone as commission to the dealers. While the Fabia is on its way out of the Indian market, the company is also undertaking online bookings for the Rapid sedan.