Tata Technologies, the Michigan outpost of India’s Tata Motors, has been showing off the tiny Tata Nano in the States this past week, presumably to see if there’s any demand over here for the World’s Cheapest Car. Tata has already decided to build a European-market model, though it will cost a lot more than the $2200 base price in Mumbai.
Early casualties: the 0.6-liter two-cylinder engine and the 10-inch wheels, replaced by a 1.0-liter three and 12-inchers. (The show car at Geneva, pictured above, rode on 14-inch alloys.) Added: ABS, traction control, twin airbags, and electric power steering. Britain’s Autocar estimates the Euronano will sell for somewhere in the £4000-5000 range.
Assuming that meeting US standards is not all that different from meeting European standards, this would suggest an American sticker starting around $7000-8000. This would undercut the current Skinflint’s Choice rides stripper versions of the Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa by two to three grand.
At, say, the $7k point it costs money to meet Federal standards, after all you have a choice between a brand-spankin’ new Nano and a four-year-old Hyundai Accent.
I have no doubt that some people, impressed by Tata’s impeccable Third World credentials, will be drawn to the Nano; I’ll make a point of not mentioning to them that Tata happens to own Jaguar and Land Rover.