Tata Motors unveils the $2,500 'People's Car'

Jan 10, 2008 by Lisa Zyga weblog
People´s Car
The People´s Car, or "Nano," by Tata Motors, will be available in different colors and versions when it goes up for sale in late 2008.

At the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi today, Indian company Tata Motors has unveiled a tiny vehicle that is also affordable, safe, and fuel-efficient. While the official name for the vehicle is "the People's Car," it also goes by the nickname "Nano."

The car, which can get up to 54 mpg, will go on sale for $2,500 (1-lakh) in India later this year. The Nano can "comfortably" seat four people, and meets regulatory safety requirements and emission standards. Tata Motors hopes that the People´s Car will provide an affordable means of safe transportation for families throughout the country.

"I observed families riding on two-wheelers - the father driving the scooter, his young kid standing in front of him, his wife seated behind him holding a little baby," said Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group and Tata Motors at the Expo. "It led me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family."

The car has a length of 3.1 meters, width of 1.5 meters, and height of 1.6 meters. The company explains that the four doors and high seating positions make getting in and out of the car easy. Due to the location of its wheels at the corners and the powertrain in the rear, the car is more spacious and maneuverable than other cars of its size would be.

The People´s Car has four-speed manual transmission but no power steering or other "extras." The 30-horsepower, 624-cc engine has rear-wheel drive and is made entirely of aluminum. Tata Motors says this is the first time that a two-cylinder gasoline engine is being used in a car with single balancer shaft.

While the lightweight car gets excellent mileage, it also has several safety features, including crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seat belts, strong seats and anchorages, and the rear tailgate glass bonded to the body.

Buyers will be able to choose either a standard or deluxe version of the car, and also pick from a wide range of body colors.

Besides the People's Car, Tata Motors also plans to begin selling the Jaguar to an entirely different client base in the future. But details on the "Rich People´s Car" (not the official name) are yet to be announced.

More information (and pictures): http://www.tatapeoplescar.com/tatamotors/

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User comments : 8

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ronwagn
2.7 / 5 (6) Jan 10, 2008
We need new laws to allow this class of vehicles on
our roads! I would buy one today, if I could. We allow bicycles, and motorcycles, and don't even require helmets. The big oil companies and auto manufacturers don't want anything like this. We need to assert ourselves.
Stinkfoot
3 / 5 (2) Jan 10, 2008
I agree with ronwagn. If this car had 3 wheels instead of 4 it would be classified as a motorcycle and not require the gobs of safety equipment required on cars by federal law. If you think this car is unsafe, think of it as a "super safe" "super comfortable" motorcycle, not as an unsafe car.
nilbud
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2008
You're confusing the nano with the g-wiz which is an electric quadricycle. The nano already has crumple zones, side impact bars, and seat belts.

A lakh is a unit of measurement 100,000, the car costs 1 lakh rupees.
Quantum_Conundrum
2 / 5 (2) Jan 10, 2008
this sort of gimmick has been tried over and over. Its never going to work because people don't WANT a car that can barely carry its own weight.
SDMike
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2008
SOME people DO want such a vehicle. But US auto makers only think in large numbers. If a car doesn't sell in large numbers it is a failure.
BTW, remember the old VW beetle. It was larger and had a similar HP engine. It sold in large numbers. A lot of people apparently DID want the beetle!
TJ_alberta
4 / 5 (1) Jan 11, 2008
No pollution control. no air bags. The wheel bearings are rated for 70 KM/H. The wheels look much too small to handle the pot holed roads that I remember in India (which is why 70 Km/Hr is not a bad speed for roads there...) A fascinating exercise in minimalistic engineering but who would license or insure one of these in a "developed" country?
SDMike
not rated yet Jan 11, 2008
I don't understand the tiny wheels either. An OD of 20 inches seems minimal. A cat could clean up the exhaust as would a US approved motorcycle engine. 70Km/Hr bearings are frightening in a US car but that's easy to fix (and larger diameter wheels decreases the bearing differential velocity). Easy to extend the exercise to a practical vehicle that wouldn't cost much more.
thingamabob
not rated yet Jan 14, 2008
That's a bodacious Tata.