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Tata Nano: The $2,550 Car

by Jacob Resneck in Tech on 10 January 2008

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Tata Motors, India's largest automaker, unveiled today what could become the Ford Model T for the 21st century, the $2,550 car.

Marketed in India as the “one-lakh” (100,000 Rupee = $2,550) car, with a two-cylinder 623 cc gasoline engine, the world is reacting to what has been touted as a “people's car” for the developing world.

The announcement is making waves in India with the country's Commerce Minister calling it “a proud moment for India.” But not everyone is so enthused with the idea of hundreds of thousands of inexpensive vehicles flooding the market.

“The ultra-cheap small cars in the pipeline will tilt the skewed balance against public transport and two-wheelers irretrievably,” argues Anumita Roychowdhury of the Centre of Science and Environment, an environmental advocacy group in New Delhi. “The result will be an urban congestion nightmare and an unsustainable fuel load.”

Be that as it may, at only 10 feet long, a maximum speed of about 60 miles per hour and getting about 50 miles per gallon, the Tata may have some appeal outside its home country. Especially considering SmartCars have achieved a modicum of success in Europe and United States, despite the most basic model costing nearly five times as much as the Tata Nano.

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