Tata is taking steps to makes sure the little Nano won’t be short on power. FEV, a German engineering and powertrain firm, is right now actively working on the diesel engine for the Nano to debut later next year. The 800 cc, turbocharged CRDI engine would most likely be the tiniest engine with common rail technology in the world, taking the crown from Daimler.
The CRDI systems are being developed in conjunction with Bosch, while Honeywell Turbo India is working on the turbo charger. Originally the 700 cc CRDI engine, which Tata uses in its Ace mini-truck was considered for the Nano, but Tata has decided against it. The new FEV engine is cheaper and could also involve more progressive technology to battle emissions, redeem a better fuel economy, and achieve better engine refinement.
The Tata Nano continues to make headlines both for the right and wrong reasons since its unveiling at the Delhi AutoExpo in January this year. Land acquisition trouble and rising inflation which has past well over 11% in the country has created a new set of problems for Tata, although the manufacturer is hell-bent on retailing the base model at $2,500 and more importantly on the previously decided dead line of anytime between September and October.
The good news is that Tata is working on multiple variants of the Nano. No, not bumper colors or alloy wheels, by variants, we mean powertrain options. Sources say a battery powered Nano might roll out of the Singur plant in West Bengal very shortly along with air-powered and micro-hybrid (start-stop technology) models.
The compressed air technology would be borrowed from French company MDI, which uses compressed air to push the piston. An onboard compressor pressurizes air which is stored in a tank for use, a technology which works pretty well, and is one of the best alternatives to an electric car.
Otherwise, the Tata Nano uses a 2-cylinder 624 cc engine that produces a little over 30 hp. The tailpipe emissions are minimal and is less than what an average motorcycle in India would emit.
Hyundai has set its eyes on the micro car segment; it is planning to launch a competitor to the Tata Nano by 2011 with an estimated price tag of $3,500.
However, Hyundai has said that it has no intention to go head-to-head with the Tata Nano, which is believed to change the Indian car market forever. Hyundai’s managing director in India, Heung Soo Iheem said: “We do not have immediate plans to fight with the Nano. It is planned keeping in mind the Indian market conditions and the interest of the general public.”
The economy car is currently under development at Hyundai’s research and development center in South Korea, it would also be exported beyond India.
The competition in the segment is getting tougher as Indian company Bajaj has teamed up with Renault to create a similar low-priced car by the end of 2011. Time will tell which budget car will emerge as the lower-middle class’ favorite.
Tata Motors, the newest owner of Jaguar and Land Rover revealed its luxury options of the $2,500 Nano microcar. Although you expect the car to be as simple as it can due to its low price, the Indian manufacturer introduced some „luxury” options for the cheapest car in the world.
Tata launched a customization website that allows its customers to choose between a standard and a luxury line, to decide wether they want or not alloy wheels. The clients can also choose the scoop trims, decals, fog lamps and seat covers. For all the fans of sport cars the bad news is that the 30 hp engine remains the same.
General Motors declared that they have no intentions in competing against Tata’s $2500 Nano. General Motors Asia Pacific president David N Reilly stated that they cannot compromise with the Chevrolet brand by making a competitor but are looking at making another small-car below the Chevrolet Spark’s price point.
The Chevrolet Spark is at present, the entry-level model of GM priced at US $7564 (ex-showroom price, Delhi). But nothing about the cost aspect was revealed for this new car which is planned to enter the Indian market sometime in the next two years. GM will develop this car with other similar International markets in mind and will use it to attain its target of 10 per cent market share in India by 2010.
At present, three-fourths of the cars sold in India are small cars which has evolved into a major small-car hub. Toyota, Renault, Ford, Hyundai and Fiat are all developing their own Nano versions cheaper than anything else in their product range.
Rising crude oil prices is the reason why people not only in India, but all over the world prefer small, economical cars which are easy on the environment too. But crude oil prices are not ascending alone. The cost of raw materials which includes steel and aluminium, which are used to make vital components in a car, are also increasing.
The big question remains to be safety. At such rock-bottom prices, will the safety factor be given adequate importance by car makers?
The $2500 car from Tata Motors is coming to Europe in 4 year’s time. The Nano was unveiled last month at the Delhi Autoexpo and if everything goes as per plan, the car will rock the world.
But before it begins its European innings, the car has to evolve and meet international standards. "We will develop a successor model in four years time, which will meet the Euro 5 emission regulations and the crash standards in Europe," Girish Wagh was quoted as saying by Focus in an advance abstract on Sunday.
Tata is apparently pushing hard to bring down the fuel consumption of the Nano from 5lit/100 km to 3lit/100 km. Tata will concentrate on selling the car on home turf before it heads to developing countries like southeast Asia, Latin America and African countries. Production will begin in October this year, and the company plans to produce about 250,000 units and eventually escalating to about a million units annually.
This car will address the cost-conscious customers, whether in India or abroad. The European version is expected to have a bigger engine, airbags, disc brakes up front and reengineered crumple zones. It might also come with a CVT option and upgraded styling. Would you buy it?