At just $2,500, the Tata Nano isn’t just India’s cheapest car; it is the cheapest new car you can buy anywhere. Of course you get what you pay for, which isn’t much, but Tata has plans of eventually selling the nano in both Europe and the United States…but not before a serious makeover.
The 37 horsepower, four-door Tata Nano sold in India is about 6-inches bigger than the two-door Fiat 500 sold her in America, to give you an idea of how tiny the Nano really is. Before coming to America, Ratan Tata says the Nano will get more features, a bigger engine, and almost certainly larger seats for America’s extra girth. At a minimum, I expect Tata to add a radio/CD player, some sort of HVAC system, and of course more safety features to comply with U.S. laws.
That all adds cost to the world’s cheapest car though, though Tata still expects the Nano to come in under $10,000. That would give it plenty of appeal to fleet buyers…but regular consumers might have reservations about buying a tiny, cheap car made in India. And that’s if the Nano ever even goes on sale.
Tata has discussed his plans for America and Europe before, including an all-electric Nano due out next year, but India does not have a good track record of importing vehicles to the U.S. Mahindra & Mahindra were supposed to introduce a small, diesel-powered pickup truck in the U.S. by this year. Instead, they are embroiled in a lawsuit by a dealer network that claims they were strung along by the automaker.
I’ve waxed poetic on the topic of cheap transportation, and other automakers like Nissan are following Tata’s lead into the ultra-low cost car market. But I have my doubts that such vehicles can be sold en masse in America. Anyone else share my reservations?
Source: Automotive News