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

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Comments

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    I guess I'd have to think what I would want more, a new Nano or a 5 year old Civrolla. I still have to lean towards the latter.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited March 2011
    I'd definitely go for a used compact over a Nano, in part because I don't have the impression that the Nano is a good car. Early reports suggest that it's not the modern day equivalent of the Model T, Beetle, Citroen 2 CV, Fiat 600/500 or Civic CVCC.

    Now, maybe the European market two-cylinder Fiat 500 or the next generation Beetle (not the '12 refresh) would be more tempting alternatives to a used compact.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    Yes, the latter would be closer to a real car that can cope with first world driving conditions. The Nano being viable for the US/Canadian market is a pipe dream.

    But what would those two Euros cost here? Probably not much less than a modestly equipped conventional car. The 500 we get now, albeit a bit more loaded than a standard Euro model, doesn't undercut normal compacts by much if anything.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    I agree, that the '12 U.S. spec Fiat 500 doesn't compete in the niche we're talking about, but rather, in a more upscale niche. I see it as an alternative to the MINI, for those who want to spend somewhat less than MINI prices. To your point, the 500 prospect also isn't the traditional most-car-for-the-money buyer. He/she assigns more value to attributes such as handling and agility; unique styling and driving experience, to stand out from the crowd; and the ability to park in tight spaces. I think the 500 will sell in decent numbers in North America because, like the MINI, it's a well designed product, and an icon to many people.

    The 500 can only hope to achieve significant sales numbers in the U.S. by expanding the model line, much as MINI has, but also by adding the very high mileage, less contented, two-cylinder Euro model. The latter, lower priced 500 would fill the low-cost-of-ownership niche, and would be the most mass market of the 500s. Maybe it could be given a new heritage name, such as Topolino, along with unique colors and/or trim cues, to differentiate it from the more upscale 500s. If it were a good product, it could be priced above the bottom feeder Nano. It might be priced similarly to the base Aveo, Sentra and Yaris.

    I believe that VW plans to offer a two-cylinder version of the Beetle when it introduces the next platform. I also read that Ford is considering launching the Ka in the U.S.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    Don't forget the Spark which will soon debut and also be built in Michigan.

    image
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    At $4,000, I could see many Nanos selling to credit-challenged individuals everywhere. However, those individuals will soon regret their purchase as this poorly-built contraption will soon disintegrate leaving them carless and with a $4K+ note with an onerous interest rate.

    I've seen it happen too many times when po' folks bought an ultra-cheap new car whether it was a Yugo or an Excel. These people could ill-afford to miss time from their low-wage jobs with their inflexible schedules for the problems that constantly arose with these cheap transportation modules. These vehicles soon became costly objets d' art on streets of poor and marginal neighborhoods everywhere.

    At $8,000+, few will sell as they'd be competing with exponentially better used cars.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    I like your 500/Topolino strategy. The car is already set to undercut the Mini by many thousands...it will see sales on that alone. Stylish, reasonably fun to drive, and affordable.

    Cheapo Beetles and a Ka would make the Nano even more superfluous. I can't imagine anyone but a diehard Indian national or someone who lives in a cave buying one.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    I could easily see it as the Yugo reincarnated. Iffy quality, really no possible enjoyment, completely disposable in just a few years. People are still pissed off about the Yugo...

    For 8K, one can indeed find a respectable normal used car that will last for some time.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The 500 will soon offer a fold-back roof (how euro is that?), which looks appealing to me. That'll kill Smart ForTwo convertible sales, which are already dead.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    From the photo, the Spark looks promising. If it's competitive with, say, the Fit in quality, performance and price, I'd just as soon buy a domestic car that's produced in the U.S.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    Get that amusingly overstyled box down a few grand with that GM card, and I am sure it will be palatable.

    Cheap and cheerful...that's what is needed. Just having the first part won't fool people for long.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It needs a nice shifter and a nimble feel to it. If it's fun, it will catch on and bring buyers back to the Chevy store for a potentially profitable sales the 2nd time around.

    The Fit may be Honda's most important car, only because it creates loyal buyers.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    About 15 years ago, I looked up the market price for a Yugo GV on MSN Auto or something and it showed "SALVAGE" in most columns and $37 for one in excellent condition. I could've bought several Yugo GVs for what I had in my wallet that day! :P
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    What was that movie about Yugos, Bette Midler was in it? Not the sort of product placement you hope for, LOL.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    That movie was "Drowning Mona." I believe Danny DeVito was a small town police chief with a Yugo patrol car.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    That cabrio model is the one my friend wants...it'll be like the mini cabrio anyway, there's a niche for it.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    I think most Yugo owners (there are a few still out there) have a dozen parts cars to keep one going. Easy to do when you can buy them for double digits.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Value triples if the gas tank is full.

    Drowning Mona, yes, hysterical film.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    Yugos are very safe in a front end collision. The tow truck takes most of the impact.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited March 2011
    They make great sculptures and the material cost is nil. I got to see the Yugo Next exhibit in Grand Central Station years ago.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    Probably worth less than normal scrap weight, as that aint steel :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    They were handy, though, as any/all rust would be attracted to them, and anything within 100 yards would not oxidize no matter what.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    Finance anything easy enough and it will sell
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I wanna know where I can buy comprehensive maintenance for $2.25 a month.

    What exactly does it cover? Fresh tap water for the radiator AND windshield washer?
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    Maybe hamster nutritional supplements to keep the engine healthy, too
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's probably $2 worth. $0.25 to cover tap water, voila.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    Although to be fair, that little engine won't need much maintenance. I just can't see that thing making at 8K, when it's not going to offer up levels of fit/finish, build quality, and performance the market needs.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Gotta be careful how cheaply you price things, because too cheap and people will automatically associate you with cheapness.

    Of course, it is, so who cares in this case.
  • accordguy0325accordguy0325 Member Posts: 169
    To answer the question , yes , but only as a second car to be used as a fuel efficient run-a-bout.. Unfortunately- it has little more safety than riding a motorcycle...
  • plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    If by a little you mean about 10X, then yes, it's only a "little" better than a motorcycle.

    Motorcycles are downright dangerous compared to even the worst car on the road. The whole point of the Nano was to get people off of motorcycles and into something safer.

    But at $8K, it'll not sell a single one in the U.S. $2500 in India... $8000 in the U.S. .. RIGHT.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Exactly, it competes with motorcycles and donkees, at least at $2500.

    At $8k it doesn't really stand a chance.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    edited April 2011
    I test drove the Xebra about 3 years ago. They were selling for $14k. I cannot believe the Nano is built as cheap as that Chinese EV. I see now they are being discounted for $12,500. They were a crude piece of machinery. But you get what you pay for.

    http://www.zapworld.com/zap-xebra-electric-sedan

    It would be cheaper to add another battery to a golf cart and kick it up to 35-40 MPH. A friend does that for all the service vehicles at a local Indian casino.

    I think $4500 for the Nano on 5 year terms would move them pretty fast. About the price per month of a bus pass.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Would it last 5 years, though, if you drove it, say, 10,000 miles per year? I don't expect anyone to know the answer to that yet, but your financing statement just made me wonder about it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That looks like it would rival the Reliant Robin for ease of rollover. You were brave to drive one!

    $84.92 for a 5 year loan at 5% if it cost $4500.

    That's a buy, too, not a lease.

    Of course lease residual would be zero so it would lease for about the same amount, LOL.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Rather than lease, how about a Certified Pre-Owned Nano? The problem would be finding a dealer who would certify one.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Why? All they'd need is some fresh rubber bands and duct tape. Good as new! ;)
  • kranbykranby Member Posts: 1
    I dont think Tata will sell Nano for $2500 in US. They will have to upgrade the safety on it and so it will cost more. If they price it around $5000 it is a good buy if you just want to travel within the city...Agreed that it is does not have much equipment but I am sure there are many people who just need a cheap transportation..
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    What's the fuel economy on the Nano? If it is spectacular, that would certainly help in this age of psychopathic pump prices.
  • plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    55mpg. It's a motorcycle engine, after all.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Considering what they weigh, bikes these days get pretty lousy mileage. My brother's bike (a VMAX) only gets around 40 mph.
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    You sure it's a motorcycle engine and not just a hamster on a wheel?
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    I don't recall specific figures because the tests on the Nano that I read go back many months, but I remember not being impressed with the mileage . It was unspectacular.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Plus any added safety gear would add weight and compromise mileage and performance. They might even need a bigger engine...
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,139
    Bigger engine, more features, better quality...pretty soon you'll end up with an automobile :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The new, 2011 Tata Versa. ;)
  • netranger4netranger4 Member Posts: 149
    Being of the age that remembers the Maico, Messerschmitt, Isetta and BMW 300. This offering

    seems to be of the same ilk. For three years I drove a '65 VW Beetle with 40HP and took trips

    of great length. Granted, you had to change gears frequently and creep up steep inclines

    in the mountains to the annoyance of motorists behind you, those simple machines did

    accomplish several things well.

    The Maico and Messerschmitt were powered by motorcyle engines and were very cheap at

    the time. Each sold for around $900. The Isetta had a one cylinder engine, probably out of

    a motorcyle, and the BMW 300 had a flat twin cylinder engine that looked like it was also
    used on their two wheelers.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited April 2011
    Good comparisons.

    I think the question of whether there would be a market for the Nano in the U.S. would depend on execution and pricing. I predict that the Nano won't achieve a permanent foothold in the U.S. market. Used compacts and subcompacts of established brands are just too tough to beat for value and utility.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    It would make infinitely more sense to buy a used Corolla, Civic, Focus, Cobalt, etc. than a new Nano, unless the Nano was a ridiculous low price like $2,500 US and delivered 100 mpg.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think if it gets an honest 50 MPG and sells under $8000 it would be a big hit. The mileage will sell it not the cheap price. The biggest obstacle to any new vehicle in the USA is safety and emissions. It has to pass both and I don't see a cheap vehicle getting past the regulations.
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