Tata’s ‘People’s Car’ unveiled at New Delhi show; costs £1300, launches late 2008

Indian business magnate Ratan Tata has just taken the covers off the car that could open up car ownership to millions within the sub-continent’s billion-strong population. It’s called the Tata Nano, and Autocar can bring you pictures of it, together with all the specifics.Ratan Tata introduced his much-anticipated ‘lakh car’ (a lakh being India’s colloquial term for 100,000 rupees – about £1300) to an expectant crowd at the New Delhi motor show only hours ago. Having pledged to engineer a car for the many millions of India’s families for whom a motorbike is the primary means of transportation, he posed for photographs in the Nano, saying “a promise is a promise.”

India’s ‘People’s Car’ in detail

At just over three metres in length, the Nano is longer than a Smart Fortwo but shorter than a Mitsubishi i. The twin-cylinder, 623cc petrol engine powering it drives the rear wheels, and sits directly above them to the right of the rear of the car, with a four-speed manual gearbox immediately to its left.The car’s monobox design means that its cabin can accommodate four six-foot adults, entering through its four doors. Although it’s considerably shorter than India’s current top-selling car, the Maruti 800, it has 21 per cent more passenger space.The Tata Nano weighs around 600kg. Developing 32bhp at 5500rpm, its parallel twin petrol engine delivers only modest performance – Tata claims 0-44mph in 14secs and between 66- and 70mph flat out. And with high-profile 12in wheels as standard, and unassisted drum brakes at each corner, braking performance should be similarly modest.However, Tata insists that this car conforms to all of India’s crash and emissions guidelines. If the mission that brought it to the road succeeds, it will provide the millions of families who commute on a single motorbike a much safer means of getting from A to B.

Next for the Nano

The Tata Nano will go on sale in India later this year. When production hits full stride, Tata expects to be making a million of them every year and, although it is without creature comforts such as air conditioning, power steering and electric window at the moment, better specced versions will come later.Tata's plan is to export the Nano to the UK and the rest of continental Europe, but only after it is established in India.Also mooted by Tata is a diesel-engined variant which should better the petrol’s 57mpg and its CO2 emissions.

Join the debate

Comments
25

10 January 2008

Nice! I look forward to the posh Jaguar-badged versions and the rugged Land Rover Nanos.

10 January 2008

This reminds me of how volkswagen started. And look were they are now.

10 January 2008

What a stroke of genius, and not terribly dissimilar in looks from the Fiat 500. I think this car will do very well indeed!!

10 January 2008

Poeple can laugh, but this car is very intelligent indeed. Tata have built this car from scratch. Out with all they stuff you don't really need... it has no power steering, small wheels (BTW, those are 12in wheels, bigger than a mini's. The thing is actually quite large), 4 gears, low weight, a small frugal engine, no unuseful instrumentation...

10 January 2008

Have to say I agree with RealDrivers comments. The car has "just enough" of everything. 2 cylinders, 4 gears, lots of space and safety ( we'll see ).

A clever, inventive solution to a very specific market need. But how on earth are they going to make money on it??

Can't wait to see one in the flesh ( whenever that will be ). Untill then I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for a Mitsubishi I-Car and mentally subtract £7000!!

A true people's car.

Mac

10 January 2008

Come on.. I really don't think it is a big acheivement for the Tatas. It's actually easy for this giant to localise all parts, get a good advantage from their suppliers and cut on some features. However, I guess this vehicle will take on the autorickshaw and the two wheeler market and if that happens the question that will remain unanswered is: What about parking space in India??

10 January 2008

It'll have to be structurally sound - it's a steel chassis, so if it isn't he'll look a tool - and it looks okay. I wonder how comfy it is...

gpw

10 January 2008

This is genesis and genuis as far as the Indian car market is concerned.

If you have ever been to India, you will know every single vehicle there is an MPV, even the pushbikes! The Nano's minimalist interior will actually be a big selling point, more space means more room to carry stuff - brilliant!

TATA will make £millions on the back of the Nano. I can see spin-offs in every direction - a van, a pickup, a lengthened estate; you name it, TATA will spin it off this chassis and the Indians will lap it up along with any other country with the savvy to get behind it.

Most garages I've seen out in rural India consist of a kerb, a furnace and a hell of a lot of skill and brute force from the mechanic who will love this car because it's so simple, he will be able to fix it at the side of the road, just like a tuk-tuk or a moped.

11 January 2008

The thought occurs of just how many will 'actually' fit in to this splendid little car on Indian roads?

11 January 2008

This is what the new Mini should have been.

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