When Tata Motors began looking outside India to establish a presence, Sri Lanka was its first choice. The year: 1961. So when India's largest automobile company gained the confidence to send abroad its first batch of ‘cleverly engineered marvels,' the Nanos, the company chose Sri Lanka.

“We are celebrating 50 years of our relationship with Sri Lanka with the Nano,” said Managing Director and Group CEO Carl- Peter Forster, at the formal launch of the car here on Saturday. Sri Lanka will be Nano's first international destination. “The Tata Nano will play a major role in the next phase of growth of our international business,” he added.

In the first batch, 500 Nano cars have arrived. “Booking will commence tomorrow,” said Ranjith Pandithage, CEO and Chairman, DIMO (Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC), the company that distributes Tata Motors' offerings in Sri Lanka. After the 110 per cent duty imposed in Sri Lanka, the cheapest Nano (standard) will cost LKR 925,000 (2.5 LKR = Indian Rupee). The top-end version (Nano LX) could cost about LKR 11,00,000. The car comes with a four-year warranty or 90,000 km (whichever is earlier). DIMO said that at 101 gm/km, Nano will have the lowest carbon dioxide emission among cars in Sri Lanka.

“We have already formulated plans to introduce Nano in several countries,' said P.M. Telang, Managing Director – India Operations, Tata Motors. “The stupendous international response to the unveiling of the Tata Nano in 2008 established that customers across the world are awaiting such a car. With the launch in Sri Lanka, we begin that journey,” he added.