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World’s Cheapest Car Unveiled

January 14th, 2008 Posted in New Technologies

Tata Motors of India finally unveiled the Nano.? The ultracheap price of $2,500 will bring car ownership into the hands of millions of Indians who currently use scooters as their major means of transportation.? It is not uncommon to see a family of three or more clinging to their scooter as it dangerously speeds down the road.

The Nano is more than half the price of the next cheapest car in the world the QQ3 manufactured by Chery Automobiles and sold exclusively in the domestic market of China.? In India the $5200 Suzuki Maruti has been the cheapest auto available to Indians whose percaita incomes are just under $1,000.

Tata Motors founder Ratan Tata has been promising the 100,000 rupee ($2,500) auto for some time in spite of industry ridicule that the goal was not realistic.? On Thursday Jan. 10, 2008 Company Chairman Ratan Tata, introduced the Nano at India’s main auto show in New Delhi and told the crowd that “a promise is a promise”.

With a snub nose and a sloping roof, the world’s cheapest car can hold up to five people.? In the no frills basic version there’s no radio, no air bags, no passenger-side mirror and only one windshield wiper.? If you want air conditioning to cope with India’s brutal summers, you need to get the deluxe version.

At 10 feet long, the Nano is about 2 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper. Its 623-cubic-centimeter two-cylinder engine is estimated to produce about 35 horsepower, good for a top speed of 75 mph.

Though the price has created a buzz, critics say the Nano could lead to possibly millions more automobiles hitting already clogged Indian roads, adding to mounting air and noise pollution.

The company has said it expects the car to revolutionize the auto industry, and analysts believe the Nano may force other manufacturers to lower their own pricing. French automaker Renault and its Japanese partner, Nissan Motor, are trying to determine whether they could sell a compact car for less than $3,000.

For now, the car will be sold only in India, but Tata has said it eventually hopes to export it. The Nano could become the basis for other similar supercheap models in developing markets around the world.

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