Intellectual Thoughts by Sanjay Panda: Tata unveils the Nano, world's cheapest car

Tata unveils the Nano, world's cheapest car

Tata Motors Ltd unveiled the world's cheapest car on Thursday(10th jan), which cld bring car ownership closer to millions of consumers. The 4-seater Nano, with an engine around 625cc, will have a dealer price of 100,000 rupees ($2,500) -- about half the cost of the cheapest car availble on today's market.

Let me assure you and our critics the car we have designed will meet all safety norms and all foreign environmental criteria," Chairman Ratan Tata said as he proudly unveiled what had been dubbed the "People's Car" at the Auto Expo in New Delhi.

Tata said the car would have a rear-mounted engine and travel 20 km per litre. It would be offered in a basic model and two deluxe variants. The proof of the pudding will be in driving it, but visually it looks pretty good," said an auto analyst. "The pricing was a bit of a surprise. I thought it would be a bit higher."

Tata has said it will initially produce about 250,000 Nanos and expects eventual annual demand of 1 million units.

Global car makers -- initially sceptical that Tata could produce such a low-cost car -- are now scurrying to make their own versions to meet the needs of cost-conscious consumers in emerging economies such as China, India and Russia.Ford this week said it would build a small car in India within two years, while the alliance of Nissan Motor and Renault, which has made a big success of its no-frills Logan sedan, plans a $3,000 car with Bajaj Auto. Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda and Fiat have also said they are looking at small cars for emerging markets where strong economic growth has made car ownership a reality for millions.

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