Tata eyes U.S. for world’s cheapest car

By Auto News Log • January 5th, 2010

NEW DELHI • The maker of the Nano, the world’s cheapest car, says it is developing a version of the vehicle for the U.S. market with a larger engine and higher safety standards.

“We also recognize there is a market not only in developing countries, but possibly for a low-cost car in developed markets,” Ratan Tata, the chairman of Nano manufacturer Tata Motors, told reporters today at the Delhi auto show.

“For the U.S., we need a car that will have a larger engine, which needs additional crash tests, modifications, and we’re in the process of doing this.”

The basic Nano, a stripped-back four-door vehicle launched at the Delhi show two years ago, costs about $2,500, while the top-end model with additions such as air conditioning and a rear wiper costs $3,700.

Tata received 206,703 bookings for the car when it began accepting reservations in April, 2009, but waiting lists are long because of difficulties in setting up a production plant.

The Nano has sparked a race to create other ultra-low-cost cars for the Indian and other emerging markets. French automaker Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan plan to launch a car to rival the Nano in 2012 that will be built in partnership with scooter and three-wheel specialist Bajaj Auto.

Source: Agence France-Presse


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