08 March 2008

What's the World's cheapest CAR?

A $2,500 car has to be a joke, right? Wrong. Meet the Nano from Tata Motors, the world's cheapest car and the auto industry's answer to the $100 laptop.


Most people spend years paying off their car loans. Many new cars cost tens of thousands of dollars, and interest rates can make financing a car expensive. But what if you could purchase a brand new car for about the same as just six months' rent? And by the way -- have you ever thought about moving to India?

One of the most anticipated cars of 2008 also turns out to be the cheapest car in the world. At only $2,500 before taxes, auto manufacturer Tata Motors' Nano will come to the streets of India by fall 2008. Ratan Tata, the chairman of the company that brought the tiny car to life, refers to the Nano as the "People's Car," and he wants to give those who might not be able to afford a new car the chance to take advantage of mobility. The company is marketing the affordable car to India's lower middle class, who only make about $200 a month.Tata looks to accomplish the same thing Nicholas Negroponte did with the $100 laptop.


One of the biggest trends in the auto industry is miniaturization.With a team of 500 engineers and designers and 34 new patents for the Nano, Tata Motors had this exact trend in mind -- the car is only about 10 feet (3.1 meters) long and 5 feet (1.6 meters) tall, but it still has four doors and can fit up to five people inside.


Tata took several steps to keep the car both affordable and reliable.

*Light yet strong steel is used for the car's body, and the tires are pushed to the far corners of the frame, creating the maximum amount of space on the inside.

*Super strong glue keeps the car together instead of traditional welding techniques, and small touches cut down on costs and weight

*The Nano has one windshield wiper instead of two, and the automakers hollowed out most of the steel from the steering column.The 30-horsepower engine, gears and four-speed manual transmission are found in the back of the car, not the front, very much like that of the original Volkswagen Beetle -- this gives the Nano its boxier look.

*At 623-cc (cubic centimeters), the gasoline engine is smaller than typical car engine sizes, but still very efficient, reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour. The company says the Nano should get up to 50 miles per gallon, excellent performance compared to most other cars.

*The $2,500 price tag will only get you the most basic model of the Nano -- one with no air conditioning, for example. But the more expensive versions would only go up to about $4,000, which is still less expensive than the Suzuki Maruti 800, now the world's second-least expensive car.


* Acceleration: 0-70 km/h (43 mph): 14 seconds
* Maximum speed: 105 km/h (65 mph)
* Fuel economy (combined City + Highway): 20 kilometres per liter (5 L/100 km, 47 US mpg, 56 UK mpg)

Body and dimensions

* Seat Belts: 2
* Trunk capacity: 30 L (1.1 cu ft)

Suspension, tires and brakes

* Front brake: disc
* Rear brake: drum
* Front track: 1,325 mm (52.2 in)
* Rear track: 1,315 mm (51.8 in)
* Ground clearance: 180 mm (7.1 in)
* Front suspension: McPherson strut with lower A arm
* Rear suspension: Independent coil spring
* 12-inch wheels

Official site:



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