Tata Nano is the new car for the 'thrift-seeker'

Given that we’re all living through one of the worst economic times since The Great Depression, it seems that money pinching and budget tightening has become the new fad these days.

So when the topic of purchasing a cheap car surfaces, there aren’t a lot of manufacturers that can offer more for less than the Tata Nano.

With a price tag that comes up to only $2,200 in India, including taxes and fees, the Tata Nano – not to be mistaken for the Macintosh MP3 player - is becoming the latest must-have car of the cash-strapped man.

While it doesn’t look the least bit imposing, the Nano is still less than a quarter of the next set of cheap cars you can find anywhere.

After all, when you strip down the essentials of a car, the most obvious need is for you to be able to get to Point B from Point A, which after all is what we’re all looking for, right?

Continued after the jump.

Source: NY Times

Even more surprising than a 2,200-dollar car is a 2,200 dollar car that runs smoothly and efficiently.

The Nano comes in three types, including a base model, a midlevel CX, and the top-of-the-line – maybe a little overstatement here - Nano LX. Then again, for top-of-the-line sounds pretty relative considering the cheap price tag the car comes in. In the case of the Nano, top-of-the-line means power front windows and air-conditioning.

While the Nano will never live to see the day that it can compete with the Hondas and Toyotas of the world, the car is nevertheless becoming a hot-item these days with the ‘top-of-the-line’ LX proving to be the most popular, thanks in large part, because it has the aforementioned front power windows and fully functioning AC unit.

For $2,200 ($3,800 for the LX), thrift-seekers may just have found their next automotive investment.


10 comments:

In fact, Tata initially targeted the vehicle as "the least expensive production car in the world" — aiming for a starting price of 100,000 rupees or approximately US$2000 six years ago, despite rapidly rising material prices at the time. As of August 2008, material costs had risen from 13% to 23% over the car’s development, and Tata facedthe choice of introducing the car with an artificially low price through government subsidies and tax-breaks. This is Tata in indended to be marketed in India as of now.

In fact, the use of a rear mounted engine to help maximize interior space makes the Nano similar to the original Fiat 500, another technically innovative "people’s car". A concept vehicle similar in styling to the Nano, also with rear engined layout was proposed by the UK Rover Group in the 1990s to succeed the original Mini but was not put into production.The eventual new Mini was much larger and technically conservative. The independent, and now-defunct, MG Rover Group later based their Rover CityRover on the Tata Indica. Tata is also reported to be contemplating offering a compressed air engine as an option.

Two reasons why this car is news worthy.
1) Cheap price
2) Would get millions of Indians into a 4 wheeled vehicle for the first time.

Now...several reasons why I don’t believe the hype regarding this car in the US market:
You get what you pay for. This vehicle is as bare bones as it gets and there really is no compelling reason why a person in the US would purchase this over a similarly priced vehicle (ie a used car for 5k). It’s small, it’s slow, it’s certainly not safe, not especially attractive, definitely not "cool" and has no luxury ie (wind up windows, manual door locks, no A/C, no radio). So, just because it’s cheap does not make it something that even those with very little money will aspire to. I’d rather have a mid 80’s Buick than this thing.

The introduction of the Nano received media attention due to its targeted low price. The Financial Times reported: "If ever there were a symbol of India’s ambitions to become a modern nation, it would surely be the Nano, the tiny car with the even tinier price-tag. A triumph of homegrown engineering, the $2,200 (€1,490, £1,186) Nano encapsulates the dream of millions of Indians groping for a shot at urban prosperity.

If you do not know this Nano is not just a plastic car. To achieve its design goals, Tata refined the manufacturing process, emphasized innovation and sought new design approaches from suppliers. The car was designed at Italy’s Institute of Development in Automotive Engineering — with Ratan Tata requesting certain changes, such as the elimination of one of two windscreen wipers.Some components of the Nano are made in Germany by Bosch, such as Fuel Injection, brake system, Value Motronic ECU, ABS and other technologies.

What are the cost cutting features of Nano? First, the Nano’s trunk does not open, instead, the rear seats can be folded down to access the trunk space. It has a single windscreen wiper instead of the usual pair. It has no power steering. Its door opening lever was simplified. It has three nuts on the wheels instead of the customary four. It only has one side view mirror

Though the car has been appreciated by many sources, including Reuters due to "the way it has tweaked existing technologies to target an as-yet untapped segment of the market", yet it has been stated by the same sources that Nano is not quite "revolutionary in its technology", just low in price. Moreover, technologies which are expected of the new and yet-to-be-released car include a revolutionary compressed-air fuel system and an eco-friendly electric-version, technologies on which Tata is reportedly already working, though no official incorporation-date for these technologies in the new car has been released.

According to Tata, the Nano complies with Bharat Stage-III and Euro-IV emission standards.Ratan Tata also said, ’The car has passed the full-frontal crash and the side impact crash’. Tata Nano passed the required ’homologation’ tests with Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).This means that the car has met all the specified criteria for roadworthiness laid out by the government including emissions or noise & vibration and can now ply on Indian roads.

The word Nano is a derivative of the the Greek word Nanos which means dwarfed, even in Indian term this means small. So techincally the term represent its looks and features, this is also conmsidered to be fuel efficient except that of course, it has some features what were simplified to accomodate the intention of offering as the cheapest car in the world like it uses biodegradable polymer plastics instead of full metal body.

I guess, Tata Nano will make it to most developing market, but I suppose for Europe and North America, people are still into muscle cars, and sports cars, inspite of the so called great dippression which most developed countries are experiencing or what we commonly know as "recession." I think these markets are rather more interested in developing a fuel efficient cars that are also affordable rather than importing the Tata.

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