The world's cheapest car, the Tata Nano, is under fire in India as reports emerge of some of them bursting into flames.

Three fires have been reported in the steering column of Nanos in India, where 7500 have been delivered since July.

No injuries have been reported but one customer has refused to allow Tata to inspect the car and instead filed a police report, according to US financial newspaper The Wall Street Journal.

Tata announced on October 26 that it would undertake a pre-delivery audit of all new cars and examine cars already in use but has avoided the dreaded "recall" word so far.

The Indian automaker blamed the problem on a short-circuit in the switch that controls the headlights, wipers and fascia indicator lights.

The tiny Nano is called "The People's Car" due to its historically low price of around $2000. The car has already received an overwhelming 200 000 orders in India and has revolutionised the way the world looks at low-cost cars.

Nearly 100 000 Nanos are expected to be sold domestically in 2010. Export plans are in place for Nigeria in 2010 and Europe in 2011 and South Africa is in the pipeline, provided it passes safety testing.

Tata announced in July its intentions to sell the Nano in Latin America through Italy's Fiat group. - The Independent London