An announcement published in mid-January 2010 says the Tata Nano, a.k.a. “The People’s Car,” is coming to America. Billed as the world’s cheapest car, the Nano is scheduled to come to the US in two to three years. A press release announcing the arrival of the Nano says that if the US version of the car is comparable in price to the European version, it will cost about $8,000. At that price, it would be significantly less expensive than the Hyundai Accent, which sells for $9,970 and is currently the cheapest car available on the American market. With the Obama Administration’s focus on increasing fuel economy, the way could be paved for the Nano to make its US debut. Within the US, the focus has been on hybrids and electric cars. Tata’s focus is fuel economy. The company reports that the Nano gets 70 MPG on the highway and 50 MPG in the city. It is obvious that the designers were serious about fuel economy because the Nano’s gas tank holds less than four gallons. Though the Nano specifications say the vehicle seats four, they can’t be very large passengers because the payload is about 660 pounds. The internal dimensions of the car weren’t immediately available on the Web site, so it isn’t clear how much space there is inside the car. Appearances indicate there is not much. I’m not sure how the Nano measures up in terms of safety either because no rating appeared on the site, but given the fact that the door locks on the driver’s side and passenger side are recorded in the safety and security features as separate listings, things don’t look terribly promising. The basic model is a little short on conveniences as well. It is equipped with air conditioning and heat. But the “magazine and coin holder on all doors,” headrests, and sun visors are listed as “comforts.” It appears that the Nano is a bit short on creature comforts. If the primary criteria for buying a car are cost and fuel efficiency, the Nano comes out on top…..but you won’t find me in the queue to buy one!
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