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The Tata Nano, India's $2,500 Car

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
The car may be tiny and spartan, but the implications of this car, for India and the developing world, are huge.


  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,935
    Good idea for a topic!

    "A Cornell University-trained architect who personally helped design the Nano, Ratan Tata had long vowed he'd develop a car cheap enough so Indians could trade their motorbike in for one."

    Tata Nano: The World's Cheapest Car (Inside Line)



    There's some more links in Straightline.

    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me -

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Well since my post was erased this seems to be a specific automobile topic not for news and views, or am I missing something ??? :confuse:

    As the Nano, stands it will not pass U.S. crash standards ;)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    I paid almost that much for my Fisher Mtn Bike 8 years ago. It sure beats riding a motor scooter in the rain. It looks about as safe as the Xebra I test drove a couple months ago. It was $12,000 here in San Diego. We just don't get much for our money in economy vehicles here. I would prefer the Smart diesel they sell in Canada. They get an honest 70 MPG.
  • if you drive over 44 mph consistently. But then again maybe there's not room enough to exceed 44 mph, so what's not to like here? Better than bikin' in the rain, indeed.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    It occurred to me that Indian motorists might be better served if a well financed company imported 10 year old, structurally sound economy cars (Corollas, Sentras, Civics, Escorts, Golfs, Cavaliers, Neons, Fiats, Renaults, you name it) from the U.S. and Europe, reconditioned them, using low wage Indian labor, and resold them for $2,500-$3,000. These cars would be roomier, more comfortable, safer, and probably more durable than the Nano.

    Just a thought.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,344
    will come with a Red dot between the headlights. ;)
  • irnmdnirnmdn Posts: 245
    It occurred to me that Indian motorists might be better served if a well financed company imported 10 year old, structurally sound economy cars (Corollas, Sentras, Civics, Escorts, Golfs, Cavaliers, Neons, Fiats, Renaults, you name it)

    Which one of the cars mentioned above gets 50mpg?
  • irnmdnirnmdn Posts: 245
    will come with a Red dot between the headlights.
    As much as F150 king ranch edition comes with a factory fitted confederate flag on the front grill.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    "Which one of the cars mentioned above gets 50mpg?"

    None of the cars I mentioned gets 50 mpg, of course. You make a good point, but speaking of gas mileage, 50 mpg doesn't sound too impressive from a two cylinder engine in a feather weight body.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    My SIL has a Yamaha motorcycle with about that much HP and he rarely gets over 40 MPG. That to me is what made the CRX HF such a dynamite car. Fun and great mileage. Nothing like it today.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    If the Nano, modified to meet our safety standards, were offered in North America for, say, $3000, and $3300 with A/C, would you consider buying one? How about as a substitute for a $3,000-$3,300 used car?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    I would consider one without all the safety crap and AC for $3000. It would make a nice car to run to the store. I looked at an EV for $13k with less safety and no AC. At 50 MPG I could go 125,000 miles on the $10k difference even with $4 per gallon gas. I will not live long enough to put 125k miles on a runabout car. Unless I live to 94 years of age and still driving 12 miles per day 365 days a year. Not very likely scenario.

    I would not drive it on the freeway anymore than I would a Yaris.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,673
    probably not.

    As someone else indicated, there are plenty of used cars for $3k that I would probably rather have and enjoy more.

    The only advantages I could see here would be good mileage and maybe a warranty. (??)
    But just because something is "New" doesn't necessarily make it better than something "old".

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • irnmdnirnmdn Posts: 245
    , there are plenty of used cars for $3k that I would probably rather have and enjoy more.

    Since you are considering used cars, how about pre-owned Nano for $1k? That leaves enough money to fillup for the next three years.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,204
    ...even po' folks like to be stylin' and profilin'! I think a nice used car would be more attractive than some new car that simply screams, "Look at me! I'm poor!" Manufacturers of cars like Crosley and the Henry J found that out over 50 years ago. I guess you could sell a Nano to a guy who doesn't car about image or is a real tightwad. The miser market is pretty small. "Congratulations on your new Nano, Mr. Scrooge!"
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,673
    You bring up an interesting question. Resale value. Gotta wonder how these things will stack up against ... oh, I dunno, something like a 100k mile government owned Crown Vic? I have watched dozens of these go at public auction for $1k-$1500. I'm pretty sure I'd still choose that over a 30k-mile $1k used Nano.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    "...I'm pretty sure I'd still choose that over a 30k-mile $1k used Nano."

    Given the vast difference in fuel economy, among other things, isn't this an apples and oranges comparison?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,673
    at this pricepoint, there is no "apples to apples."

    And the point is precisely that many buyers would give up something like mileage to avoid a crappy car.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • This car appeals to no one on no levels, except someone who wants a cheap funeral! It has no rear seat belts, airbags, it likely uses low quality steel, it is a tall, small wheel vehicle, it is built with no passion. Id doesn't go over 45 mph, belts need to be replaced if you go over 40 mph for ling periods of time, it only has 33 hp.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    What did you expect for $2500, a Porsche Carrera? It is fine for what it was designed for. It is meant to give folks riding a bike a cheap car for the whole family to ride in. It will probably never see our shores. It will sell like Tandoori chicken in India.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,204 will sell in India and other emerging markets. It just won't sell in the North American market, not well at least. I can see a few ultra-cheapskates or eccentrics buy one, but that's it.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    If you think about it, you cannot buy a decent motor scooter in the US for much less than $2500. I think a Honda motor scooters start at $2000 and go to over $8000. If I lived anywhere that it rained a lot the Nano would be preferable to a motor bike. I think it rains a lot in India.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    The idea of the Nano as an alternative to the scooter is one of the key considerations Tata had in mind. In addition to being better in the rain, the Nano would also be preferable in cold weather, or for the times you want to carry more than one passenger and/or some luggage. That said, the Nano may be too basic for the U.S. and Canada markets. There probably would be a market for the Nano in Mexico, which is also in North America, and in other countries of Latin America.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    I don't see it as any less safe than most of the NEVs being sold in this country for $10k plus. I would imagine getting them clean enough for the EPA would more than double the price. I can see them selling millions in 3rd world countries. Putting a further demand on oil supplies.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Sorry, when I hear that name, all I can think of is Robin Williams as Mork saying "Nanu, nanu!".

    Couldn't resist.

    I see the Nano as the second coming of the Model T ... transportation for the masses.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,746

    I see the Nano as the second coming of the Model T ...

    It's probably the third or fourth coming of the Model T. Cars like the Citroen 2CV, the Fiat Topolino and the VW Bug brought cheap auto transportation to Europe after WWII.

    Interestingly the Tata Nano has a lower HP rating and top speed than my 40hp '65 Bug which could do 70mph all day long if the terrain was flat but India probably has few roads that would allow even a Jag to hit 70.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • irnmdnirnmdn Posts: 245
    It has no rear seat belts
    How many Americans wear rea seat belts?

    Considering Vespa Scooters sell for $4000+, the is quite a bargain. It is more fuel efficient to boot.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,673
    How many Americans wear rea seat belts?

    I would hope ALL parents make their kids wear seatbelts in the back, at the very least!

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    Remember the Yugo? $3500 back in the late 80's. That wasn't much either. Some of you seem to be comparing it to Porsche's etc. $2,500 is $2,500. You can only get soo much for the price of some refrigerators in the US. it's basic transportation! It is meant to get you someone from point A to B with as little frills as possible and with exceptional gas mileage. Of course American's won't buy it! Duh, tell us something we don't already know as Americans! We only buy gas guzzling SUVs! And then we whine and moan and complain about future gas price increases because of cars like the Nano may get hundreds of thousand of people into cars!

    This is the way cars need to go again. Lighter weight, smaller would be great in this country also. Maybe $10 per gallon gas will help?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,673
    a dotted line does not necessarily exist between lightweight/small and cheap. A Lotus Elise is one of the lightest cars being currently produced. It ain't cheap!

    To be safe AND light AND sufficiently powered takes money!

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

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