In 2009, Tata Motors debuted the Tata Nano for sale in its home market of India. Priced at less than $2,500, the Tata Nano is one of the least expensive new cars in the world. Now it looks like Tata wants to sell the Nano overseas, not only in Europe, but in the U.S. market as well. “The U.S. is a very enticing market. We are redesigning the Nano for both Europe and the U.S.,” says Tata chairman Ratan Tata.
Those changes will have to be extensive. We’ve driven the Tata Nano, and the automaker had to forgo many amenities standard in today’s cars to meet the low price point. And we don’t mean there’s no DVD player or Bluetooth: Not only does the Nano lack airbags, it even lacks interior door paneling. The Nano’s powertrain will definitely have to be beefed up from its current two-cylinder, four-speed, 37 horsepower. Tata promises a “bigger engine” and “more bells and whistles” in the U.S. version, like power steering and traction control. We’d add sound-deadening materials to that list: the Nano’s engine sounds like a cross between a tractor engine and lawnmower.
Tata says this new Nano will most likely go on sale in the U.S. by 2015, and will be priced below $10,000. The automaker was more reluctant how it will sell the subcompact here since it has no dealership network. Jaguar and Land Rover, which are both owned by Tata, say they have not been contacted by the car maker.
Automotive.com’s take: Given the growing subcompact here in the U.S., which range from such vehicles as the Smart Fortwo to the Chevrolet Spark, we think there’s a potential for the Tata Nano here in the states. It’s longer than Smart though shorter than a Fiat 500. Four adults sat comfortable in our limited time in the Tata Nano, thought much of that extra space was due to lack of door paneling, safety equipment, etc., which take up internal space.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)