Posted on January 12th, 2008 No comments
Indiaâ€™s Tata Motors on Thursday unveiled its much anticipated $2,500 car, an ultra-cheap price tag that brings car ownership into the reach of tens of millions of people. But critics worry the car could overwhelm the countryâ€™s roads and create an environmental nightmare.
Company Chairman Ratan Tata, introducing the Nano during Indiaâ€™s main auto show, drove onto a stage in a white version of the tiny four-door subcompact, his head nearly touching the roof.With a snub nose and a sloping roof, the worldâ€™s cheapest car can fit five people â€” if they squeeze. And the basic version is really basic: thereâ€™s no radio, no passenger-side mirror and only one windshield wiper. If you want air conditioning to cope with Indiaâ€™s brutal summers, you need to get the deluxe version.
While the price has created a buzz, critics say the Nano could lead to possibly millions more automobiles hitting already clogged Indian roads, adding to mounting air and noise pollution problems. Others have said Tata will have to sacrifice quality and safety standards to meet the target price.
The chairman, though, insists the car will meet safety standards and pollute even less than motorcycles, passing domestic and European emission standards and averaging about 50 miles per gallon (20 kilometers per liter).
The basic model will sell for for 100,000 rupees â€” $2,500 â€” but analysts estimate that customers could pay 20-30 percent more than that to cover taxes, delivery and other charges.
Tata has long promised that heâ€™d create a 100,000-rupee car, a vow that was much-derided in the global industry but created a frenzy of attention in India. On Thursday, nearly every news station covered the unveiling live. (source)
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