The no-frill smart car (The Guardian)
It has no radio, no boot, no airbag, no passenger-side mirror and just one windscreen wiper. And if you want an AC to deal with India’s summer heat, you’ll have to buy the deluxe version.
India’s Tata Group on Thursday pulled the covers off the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, which goes on sale later this year with a price tag of Rs 100,000 — £1,260 — to bring motoring to the country’s billion-strong masses.
Like a modern-day version of Henry Ford, Tata’s idea is of an affordable car that is light and simple, yet made from high-quality materials. The result is a jelly bean-shaped vehicle into which five adults can squeeze.
Another Indian icon (The New York Times)
For millions of people in the developing world, Tata Motors’ new $2,500 four-door subcompact may yield a transportation revolution as big as Henry Ford’s Model T.
The potential impact of Tata’s Nano has given environmentalists nightmares, with visions of the tiny cars clogging India’s already-choked roads and collectively spewing millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air.
Industry analysts, however, say the car may soon deliver to India and the rest of the developing world unprecedented mobility. ‘‘It is a potentially gigantic development if it delivers what has been promised,’’ said John Casesa, managing partner for the Casesa Shapiro Group, a New York-based auto industry financial advisory firm.
A snub-nosed wonder
The Sydney Morning Herald
India’s Tata Group unveiled on Thursday the world’s cheapest car costing $2,500 amid predictions the no-frills vehicle could revolutionise how millions in India and elsewhere travel.
The four-door, five-seat sporty-looking car, which defied pre-launch predictions that it would be little more than a “motorised bullock cart on wheels”, is due to hit the roads later this year at just Rs 100,000, excluding tax, after the Tata Group cut costs to the bone. The Nano has a two-cylinder 623 cc, rear-mounted engine with a top speed of 105 kms an hour.
The theme from Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey played as Tata unveiled the snub-nosed Nano -- so called to appear both high-tech and small — to cheers and applause at the annual Delhi car show.
Environmental worry or revolution?
It costs just £1,277, allowing millions to buy a car for the first time. But green groups fear the planet will pay a heavy price...
It’s either the start of a people’s revolution or the trigger for social and environmental headaches across the globe. The Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, was unveiled with great fanfare in the Indian capital on Thursday amid bright lights and blaring music.
Designed to put a stop to a family of four travelling on a scooter, the new model from Tata Motors — and more importantly its price tag of £1,277 — should make motoring affordable for a new class of consumer in the developing world. But green activists predict trouble ahead for countries that already have inadequate infrastructures and CO2 emissions.
Tony Bosworth, from Friends of the Earth UK, said: “The Tata Nano makes motoring cheaper and growing car sales in India will lead to big rises in carbon dioxide emissions. This is another blow to efforts to tackle global climate change. But per-person emissions will still be much higher in the West. Our priority must be to increase efforts to cut our own emissions and to show the rest of the world how to develop a low-carbon economy.”
Though Tata talked of helping solve the transportation needs of rural Indians with his new car, it seems his vehicle is targeted at the country’s newly aspirational middle class.
- Andrew Buncombe