10 January 2008

The World's Cheapest Car

I wonder if this can beat someone in a lawn-mower race!
Tata Unveils The Nano, Its $2,500 !

Tata Motors in New Dehli Thursday unveiled what will be the cheapest car to hit the road anywhere in the world, amid much fanfare as thousands thronged for a peek at the vehicle that Tata hopes will coax habitual customers for two-wheeled vehicles to move upmarket.

At the Auto Expo in New Delhi,
Ratan Tata drove the Nano, which the company calls the People’s Car, onto the stage and said it would still have the price tag of 100,000 (approximately $2,500) rupees promised four years ago, though commodity prices have since risen. “That’s because a promise is a promise.”
But the vehicle will make a profit for the company, he emphasized. Tata Motors’ shares were up 1.7% on the Bombay Stock Exchange, at 783.50 rupees.

The four-door vehicle, which can comfortably seat four people, has a 33 brake horsepower, 624 cubic centimeter engine in the rear. The basic model has no air conditioning, power steering, antilock brakes or electric windows, though a couple of deluxe models will offer air conditioning. It also has a single windshield wiper and no rear seat belts. The car will be ready for the market later this year.

Tata brushed aside pollution concerns, saying the Nano was designed to meet all safety standards and emissions laws. The company also plans to launch a diesel variant. The car is expected to give a mileage of about 20 kilometers per liter (50 miles to the gallon).

A Japanese automobile executive who declined to be named conceded that the price would be “difficult to match.” The nearest competition is from Maruti Suzuki, whose automobiles now account for half the sales in India. Maruti, which also released new models at the exposition, said it would not cut prices or launch smaller cars to take on the Nano.

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