India Greets World’s Cheapest Car

January 14, 2008 11:13 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Family-owned conglomerate Tata Group releases the $2,500 Nano. Automobile ownership comes within reach for millions of Indians, but there is concern that the cost to the environment outweighs the benefits.

30-Second Summary

With a suggested retail price of 100,000 rupees, or about $2,500, the Tata Nano debuted at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi.

The diminutive automobile seats five, but with a sloping nose that reduces head room for the driver and front passenger, “it’s a tight squeeze,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Tata Chairman Ratan Tata reportedly found his head brushing against the ceiling of the car while he went for an honorary test drive at the auto fair.

While the car may inspire claustrophobia among American drivers, it is a step-up in comfort for those Indians who would otherwise be unable to afford anything more substantial than a motorized scooter.

Of course, the ready availability of affordable cars may be a mixed blessing. "If you're talking about urban environment, it will cause serious problems," a transport specialist with the Asian Development Bank told the Chicago Tribune.

The Hindustan Times conjectured that the influx of Nanos "is likely to bloat India's fuel bill" and push up gasoline prices.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Tata said, “I observed families riding on two-wheelers … It led me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family.”

Headline Link: Indian manufacturer makes world’s cheapest car

Background: Unclogging India’s streets

Reactions: ‘The People’s Car’

Key Players: Ratan Tata

Opinion & Analysis: The Nano’s potential costs


Reference Material: The Nano on the web


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