Tata Motors May Launch Nano In America: Special Editions In The Works


Efficient, light, and affordable. That is the philosophy behind the Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, and one of the smallest as well. Launched earlier this year in Tata’s home market of India, the Nano is a lesson in minimalism, with a trunk that doesn’t open, a single wiper blade, and a number of other cost cutting features that keep its price down to just $2,160. Yes, you can buy a brand new car for just over $2,000 American dollars in India.

In fact, you might be able to buy one here in the good old U.S.A. in a few years. Reuters is reporting that Tata is considering selling the Nano right here in America. The question is, would Americans buy it?

The Nano is clever in the way it cuts costs, while still being a properly built car. The base model, for example, has just one side view mirror. The rear-mounted 35 horsepower 3-cylinder engine drives the rear wheels, eliminating the need for a drive shaft. The car is said to get very impressive fuel ratings of 61 mpg on the highway and 51 mpg in the city. But will a 35 horsepower car cut it in America, land of the SUV and the ZR-1 Corvette?

It could work, but probably only as a city car in crowded places like New York and Los Angeles. When you figure in import costs, tariffs, and revisions that would have to be made to the Nano to meet U.S. safety standards, the $2,160 base price is very likely to go up. Still, the Nano would likely be the cheapest car available for purchase in the U.S. If it does come to our shores, it probably won’t be until 2012 or 2013, and the Nano will certainly have evolved by then. There has even been talk of an electric and hybrid Nano, though I think 50 mpg in the city is a pretty good selling point for most people.

Tata is also unleashing two special editions of the Nano, “For Her” and “For Him”. Yup, just like bath towels. “For Her’ comes in Cocktail Red, and is adorned in flowers inside and out. “For Him” comes in Wild Lime and gets leather seats and door pads. Both cars come with start-stop engine technology, air conditioning, tinted glass, fog lights, and electric front windows. Neat.

So, if Tata sold the Nano in America, would YOU buy one? Personally, I’d pass, though the low price and high fuel efficiency is very tempting… I just don’t like the looks of the Nano. I’m shallow like that.

Source: Reuters | Autocar | Image: Tata


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.