Who’d have thunk it? The New York Times reports that despite being designed to become the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano isn’t attracting as many budget buyers as you might expect. Only 20 percent of Nano orders (India market only) are currently for the base model, a $2,600 vehicle. Half of all orders are for the top-of-the-line model, which boasts such ameneties as cup holders and air conditioning but costs some 40 percent more than a base model. When the Nano was announced, its lowest possible cost was widely touted to claims that it would become “India’s Model T.” And though the low-cost-at-all-costs approach hasn’t been wildly popular, orders for the well-optioned model will help Tata stay out of a profit-draining battle on price alone. But that isn’t stopping competitors from planning ever-cheaper models. Renault/Nissan is planning a $2,500 model developed in conjunction with Bajaj Auto. Toyota is also rumored to be pursuing a low-cost car for the Indian market.
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