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Friday, January 11, 2008

Tata Nano - The world's cheapest car

The Tata Nano car is introduced at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi, India.In the words of Ratan Tata, chairman of the company behind the upstart econobox, India's "People's Car" will be a "safe, affordable, all weather vehicle for a family which is today traveling on a two wheeler." The entry level model is ticketed at just over $2,500 — or the equivalent of 100,000 rupees or one Lakh.A cute, short thing, with four doors, tiny wheels placed out at the far corners of the body and what looked like plenty of room inside. The Nano has just enough space for a briefcase or small bag under the hood. The engine — all two cylinders, 624cc and 33 horsepower of it — is in the back, just like the Volkswagen Beetle of old. The speedometer and other instruments cluster in a central pod in the middle of the dashboard rather than directly in front of the driver, the easier (and cheaper) to offer both left- and right-hand versions when Tata Motors starts exporting the car to Southeast Asia and Africa in a couple of years. The top third of the oversized headlights act as the turn signals (indicators) and look like cheeky yellow eyebrows above the main lights. "Car companies are in probably the most emotive business area that one can find apart from fashion," company chairman Ratan Tata told TIME a day before the big launch. "There will be people who say it looks like a toy, but if you consider the value proposition I think the car is great."

Tata hopes the Nano will help millions of poor people around the world — the "Bottom of the Pyramid" in developing world marketing-speak — switch from two wheels to four. Environmentalists, city planners and even some competitors, on the other hand, warn that the new vehicle will clog up India's crowded roads and add clouds of pollution to its already filthy air.

Source: Time

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