Oct. 16, 2012
-- You may never have heard of Tata or the Nano in relation to the commercial vehicles, but you are probably familiar with the tiny, economical cars that populate the streets of India. Tata Group, which recently acquired Jaguar and Land Rover, is poised to fill a hole much needed in the American car market with the less than $10,000 Nano.
As the Nano stands in the Indian market, it’s had only moderate success and is far from meeting American safety standards. Forget luxury items like cup holders or air conditioning. This is a two-cylinder, 37 horsepower engine with no airbags, stability control or power steering. The Nano sheds all frills in pursuit of getting a serviceable car on the market for the lowest price possible.
The appeal lies in the Nano’s matching price and size. The car boasts two doors, four seats and a hatchback. The same audience interested in Smart Car or the Scion iQ proportions that doesn’t want to pay a premium for creature comforts would probably buy the Nano once it meets crash safety standards, along with some other “bells and whistles.”
In India, the Nano retailed for about $2,500 when it first emerged on the streets in 2009. As of yet, the CEO of Tata says that it’s too early to seriously discuss details of the Nano’s introduction to America. For example, it’s unclear where the car could be sold, what the final price would be and what the features would be beyond the size.
Considering Tata owns Jaguar and Land Rover, the Nano is in stark contrast to the current share in the United States. While it does present an opportunity to establish credibility among American consumers, it would be a funny sight to see the extremely economically priced Nano alongside the icons of luxury in Jaguar and Land Rover.
For the budget-minded, this car could be a dream come true. It would service city drivers and those who make short commutes nicely. As of yet, there’s no predictions for when to expect this car to reach Europe or America. In the mean time, keep an eye out for a tiny car to make a big splash.