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



  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,123
    It's probably still sitting on the lot ;)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    From today's Automotive News...

    PARAMUS, N.J. --"A redesigned version of India's no-frills Nano minicar will come to the United States in three years, said Ratan Tata, the billionaire boss of that country's giant Tata Group.

    'The U.S. is a very enticing market,' Tata said in an interview. 'We are redesigning the Nano for both Europe and the U.S.'

    He said the new Nano will be far more sophisticated than the ultracheap model that has flopped in India despite a world of hype.

    It will get a bigger engine and 'more bells and whistles,' including such features as power steering and traction control. Tata said it will be priced below $10,000.

    What the 74-year-old industrialist did not say is how he intends to sell it here. Tata has no U.S. retail network.

    The existing Nano, an egg-shaped four-seater, was developed for India as an alternative to scooters. At 122 inches long, it is nearly two feet shorter than a Mini, and it has a two-cylinder, rear-mounted engine with 37 hp. Tata, whose company owns Jaguar and Land Rover, conceived the Nano as the world's cheapest car. It went on sale in 2009 with a price tag of about $2,500.

    He said a car priced below $10,000 would have appeal in the United States.

    'The Smart and the Fiat 500 have high sticker prices, and people buy them because they are small cars,' said Tata at the opening of a Jaguar Land Rover dealership here. 'But everyone knows you put a lot of money into it. We hope that the sub-$10,000 car has appeal.'..."

    Will this be the spritual successor to the Ugo, or a game changer for the small car market in the U.S.? How afraid should Fiat, Smart and others be?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Not a threat. ForTwo doesn't sell anyway. Fiat costs nearly double.

    This may compete with the Versa and the Spark, the current price champs.

    We'll see, but I don't see how it won't be a cheap tin can at that price.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,123
    Not afraid at all. They don't sell too well as it is, and are much more substantial than the Nano. The Nano does nothing but beg the question "how much do you NEED a new car", as the used market has lots of nice choices at that price.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The only way it would seem practical is if it had a small diesel that would get 100 MPG around town. The Fiat, Mini and Smart are not what I would call great mileage cars. None can match the VW TDI cars in reality.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Plus, don't all those use premium fuel?
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,123
    Just to think if either of those were offered here. One had to wonder why they aren't.

    I saw at a station somewhere in CA that diesel was less than even regular.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Diesel is about $4.25 around here. Cheapest RUG is $4.39. I paid $4.49 at Costco yesterday. The higher fuel prices go the better deal diesel becomes.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's a temporary phenomenon, due to the fuel shortages.

    Around me the closest diesel costs more than premium, and there aren't many stations that carry diesel for you to price shop.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,123
    edited October 2012
    Even here, diesel is less than premium, which makes diesel highline cars a no-brainer.

    I don't know if tata has much experience in tiny diesels though.

    That linked car might sell to Indian expats, like highline Hyundais seem to sell to Koreans here. Or at the same time, those expats might be happy not to have to drive an Indian car.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    That Megapixel looks interesting. Even so I wouldn't want to be an early adopter.

    The 138" wheelbase has to be a mistake, though. The length could be 138".
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,471
    not a chance in the world I would even ride in one.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD, 2023 Maverick hybrid Lariat luxury package.

  • cannon3cannon3 Member Posts: 296
    Not a chance I would ever buy one. Safety, quality is not there. Along with it sucking the life out of our economy. Buy American
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I was a passenger for a short ride once in a Smart and I wouldn't do that again!

    Cars like that are one small step better than walking.....maybe!
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    You rode in a Smart? You are a braver man than me!
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • The Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima do not have a full manual stick shift option. Paddle shifters are standard on SX turbo models.

    The 2011 Optima LX had one, but it was discontinued due to low sales figures.

    Besides, the slick 6 speed Auto with manumatic control is sufficient for 95% of situations. I like to downshift at lights myself sometimes, especially for steep grade braking/stops. Especially satisfying is 3rd gear acceleration on empty cloverleaf on-ramps.

    I own the EX, which in Spicy red and all the go fast looking bits stickered at $24,300. Including custom rubber floor and trunk-mats in addition to the carpeted ones. I negotiated it down to $20,500.

    I still can't believe you can get dual exhaust, fog lights, 17" alloys, 200 HP, 6 speed automatic, dual-zone climate control, semi-leather, and all the USB and aux input's along with 2 power ports.

    Now most of this equipment is available on the LX, which is $21,500. Compare the EX and the LX carefully. The EX is just plain nicer.

    Also,the Alloys look similar, but are of the 16" variety and have less of a performance tire.....but most folks will not care for 20k.

    Try to get all this in a Camry or Accord and be prepared for 28k.
  • whoosierdaddywhoosierdaddy Member Posts: 76
    It could be the next Model T... for the developing word.

    The next Yugo for North America.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Bummer that the stick was dropped, but I get why.

    Hard to argue with the value you got.

    Where's the KV7 minivan, BTW?
  • negotiator4negotiator4 Member Posts: 1
    wait till the gas hits $12/gallon than you will crave for a car that gives you 45mpg... we as americans havebeen spoilt from almost free oil supply ..for too long..now we have to tighten our belts or go over to big cars on electric or solar at 50mph or range of 80miles tops
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,123
    Luckily, there are ways to hit 45mpg without driving something from India that resembles a Pokemon character :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, but 2 wheelers have limited applications. :shades:
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    Yeah, but you'll look infinitely cooler on a motorcycle than driving a Nano!
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,123
    You'll look cooler on a Vespa than driving a Nano.

    45mpg isn't tough in 2012. Lots of hybrids, tiny gassers, diesels all over the world that can get it, and not look silly.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    A diesel Mini comes to mind. I even like the new CUV Mini. I am guessing by the time the Nano gets here it will be like the Smart and lucky to get 35 MPG. The diesel Smart that used to be sold in Canada got an honest 70 MPG US. But alas it is history last I read. They probably bring big bucks up there used.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Autoweek tested all the 40mpg club and the two that could sustain 40mpg even at 70mph in real world driving were the Golf TDI and the Mazda3 SkyActiv.

    That they also happen to be towards the sporty side of their segments doesn't hurt, either.
  • plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    So basically we'll be getting a $2500 car with some safety bits added and a terrible automatic transmission for something like $9000, or about a $5000 markup over cost.

    The ONLY thing about the Tata Nano that's worthwhile about it is the super cheap price. If you want a $10K car, just get a cheap Yaris or similar.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    "If you want a $10K car, just get a..." decent used car. Fewer compromises.
  • plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    That's really the same thing, though.

    "For you, only 4x markup..."

    Americans might be into fads, but we're not complete idiots.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    I haven't seen Nano, India's Model T, mentioned in a really long time, but...

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Will the Elio be another Tata Nano type failure, or does it offer enough differentiation and value to find a niche?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well they have built one car, are trying to finance through crowdfunding and hoping for a Dept' of Energy loan, and that's about it so far.

    I have yet to see a 3 wheeled car that wasn't a screwball idea, but I guess you never know....at least with 3 wheels you'll be guaranteed to hit every bump in the road.
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