NanoYesterday, Mr. Ratan Tata launched the world’s cheapest car, the “Nano“, at the Auto Expo in New Delhi. The car costs about Rs.100,000 (ex-showroom) or about $2500.

It’s definitely an engineering marvel, considering that it has used simple innovation like engine placement, standardization of parts etc. to keep costs low. It’s quite fuel efficient giving about 20 Km per litre. It’s also eco-friendly and is compliant with Euro III and Euro IV pollution norms. And it’s safe as well, meeting frontal crash test limits and off-set and side-impact crash test norms internationally.

With all this going for it, the Tata’s have pulled out an ace from their sleeves. My heartiest congratulations to them .

While the car certainly looks pretty decent for a low cost model, I nevertheless have some reservations with it. I feel maybe a gas-electric hybrid would have been more appropriate given the global warming scenario and the fact that global crude prices are increasingly reaching new highs. That might have gone a long way in allaying pollution concerns and maybe even increasing fuel efficiency further while keeping running costs down.

And the other concern I had is that the car certainly looks delicate, and might not be able to meet the needs of some of the targeted population in rural and semi-urban India, as well as smaller towns and cities. The reason not being the car, but that bad governance has often led to pathetic road conditions, and I don’t think the Nano has the capability to navigate those bad roads.

Still, the car definitely has tremendous export potential and at the end of the day the Tata’s have defied all odds to pull off this remarkable feat. Three Cheers for Ratan Tata and the dawn of the new Indian Age !!!

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