Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tata Nano, a product of India and "the world's cheapest car"

Tata Nano by Adhish Velu
Tata Nano a photo by Adhish Velu on Flickr.

The Tata Nano is an inexpensive, rear-engined, four-passenger city car built by the Indian company Tata Motors and is aimed primarily at the Indian domestic market, says Wikipedia.

Tata Motors began selling its "one-lakh car" in March, 2009.[5] The cheapest car in the world today,[6] though the price continues to rise[7] due to increasing material costs,[8] it is an exemplary example of Gandhian engineering, a concept involving deep frugality and a willingness to challenge conventional wisdom.[9]

The nickname, "one-lakh car" is due to the Nano's low price point, near Indian Rupee ₹100,000 (one lakh rupees).

The Nano's design implements many cost-reducing innovations.

* The Nano's trunk is only accessible from inside the car, as the rear hatch does not open.[23][24][25]
* One windscreen wiper instead of the usual pair[15][26]
* No power steering, unnecessary due to its light weight[15]
* Three lug nuts on the wheels instead of the usual four[26]
* Only one wing mirror[15]
* No radio or CD player[15]
* No airbags[15]
* 623cc engine has only 2 cylinders.

Announcing the vehicle as the least expensive production car in the world,[27] Tata aimed for a starting price of one lakh, or 100,000, rupees. This was approximately US$2000 at the time.[28][29] As of December, 2010, the cheapest Nano costs around US$2900.[7]

Rapidly rising material prices[8] (up 13% to 23% over the car’s development time[30]) caused it to cost somewhat more than Indian Rupee ₹1 lakh (US$2,220).