Nobody Wants the World's Cheapest Car

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
nobody wants the world s cheapest car

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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4 of 25 comments
  • Kristjan Ambroz Kristjan Ambroz on May 27, 2009

    AuricTech, there is a GSX-R powered smart, so I'm sure one could do it in a Nano as well.

  • Schm Schm on May 27, 2009

    In other news, people want nice stuff in their cars. And fire is hot. Sorry if that was a little inflammatory, but my point is that even in Europe, people are buying more and more heavily optioned cars. Epically American cars sold in Europe are lauded for their long list of standard features that American's have come to expect. Motorists in India have (Apparently) come to want a little bit more than a couple of chairs, wheels, something that passes for an engine and some metally bits for a car. Who would have thunk?

  • Niky Tamayo Niky Tamayo on May 27, 2009

    If the base Nano has no AC, I'm surprised that anyone is buying it, at all. Climate control isn't an option in a tropical country... it's a necessity. While you could make do with an AC-less car, such a proposition makes riding an open-air motorbike sound more palatable.

  • TonyJZX TonyJZX on May 27, 2009

    no airconditioning on works in the more temporate parts of europe and scandinavia i'm surprised that many of the cheap low end mini cars sold in europe don't come with a/c