By on March 22, 2010

Pictures are supposed to be worth a thousand words, but this one is good for at least two whole life lessons. First: you get what you pay for. If you buy the world’s cheapest car, as insurance agent Satish Sawant did, it might just burst into flames on the drive home from the dealership. Second: Google Adsense has no sense of irony.

Indianautosblog notes that the Nano has already had a reputation for firestarting, and that (amazingly) a motorcyclist had to stop Mr Sawant to inform him that his car was on fire. Is the Nano’s interior so cosseting that engine-room conflagrations don’t catch the driver’s attention? Strangely this isn’t even the strangest part of the story: because Mr Sawant can’t drive, he was actually being chauffeured home in his new Nano when the thing went up in flames.

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38 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: You Get What You Pay For Edition...”

  • avatar

    Rumor has it that Tata bought the tooling GM used to make the aptly-named Pontiac Fiero.

  • avatar

    Of all the FAIL evidenced in this pic, the one question I have is:

    Why is there a ‘V’ of fire around the license plate?

    Seriously, what’s causing the V of fire? Did they run fuel lines throught the front bumper or something?

  • avatar

    Wow. Not to mention that having the battery under the driver’s seat isn’t the best idea either.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t remember who it was, but someone else once also mounted the battery under a seat … can’t remember if it was front or rear, but I think it was rear … no problems until a heavyweight sat in the seat causing the seat springs to short across the battery terminals …then RECALL!

      btw, last week i was on the phone with a microsoft support guy in bangalore and we had a time where we had to wait for new software to download onto my computer … naturally, i asked him about the Nano … his comment: they promised it for 1,000 Cuore (sp?) but missed the price-point, so people buy other, bigger, better, cars for not much more than the Nano costs….

    • 0 avatar

      The Aurora had the battery under the backseat.

    • 0 avatar

      my old Rover ( of this model has the battery under the back seat as well. presumably to spread the weight away from the front with very heavy cast iron engine. It was very awkward last week when I had get a jump start!

    • 0 avatar

      VW Type 1 Beetles had the battery under the rear seat. It was a complete pain to access for service – but I don’t remember shorting one out.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    Do you think there’ll be a recall ? This is almost as serious as a sticky pedal.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Betcha that voided the warranty.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Wait, wait. I’ve got a two-fer.

    And everyone said the Indians couldn’t make “hot” cars!

    See what happens when you buy Jaguar and Land Rover then rationalize purchasing of electrical components by buying Lucas?! (rimshot)

  • avatar

    Apparently, the external-combustion engine isn’t instilling much confidence. Back to the drawing board.

  • avatar

    Is there real statistic behind this? After all the Toyota bull floating around I am a little suspicious of reports not backed up by any data (a “reputation” is not data). Also, I saw many cars on fire, of various manufacturers: Ford, GM, etc. Until we really know what is going on, I’m going to treat this story with suspicion.

  • avatar

    “Vijay, you were supposed to install the Turbonique on the REAR axle!!!”


  • avatar

  • avatar

    Interesting cost structure in India. Someone can buy a Nano, can’t drive, and can hire a chauffeur. Why would someone who can’t drive, but can afford a chauffeur drive a Nano?

    • 0 avatar

      Goes to show you how the economy works over there. $11,000 car (TOTL) plus your own personal driver. Plus, I suspect it is “cool” to own a Nano…like it was cool for Hollywood types to own a Prius.

    • 0 avatar

      I am sure he can drive if he wanted to. He could also not have a servant, cook, nanny, security guard at his house/apartment complex, etc. but labor is so cheap and there are plenty of poor people just dying for a decent job.

      India is different. Go check it out sometime if you don’t believe me.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe once he paid the driver, this was all the car he could afford?

    • 0 avatar

      India is a fun place to visit. If you rent a car, it is cheaper if you take a driver as well. i.e. The driver costs less than the insurance.

    • 0 avatar

      I worked with a couple of Indians and one guy told me his parents had two maids. One for the morning and one for the evening so they wouldn’t have to look at the same ugly one all day… how brutal!
      Another thing I noticed, the other guy couldn’t plug two extension cords together. His family had hired help to do everything for them.

      I don’t know why either of them came to the USA. I think it had something to do with bragging rights for the family, having a child coming here.

    • 0 avatar

      Labor is quite cheap there. Many houses have maids to clean. Also, many apartments (“flats” there) have security guards and many businesses have doormen and elevator operators.

    • 0 avatar

      Renting a car and driving it yourself in India would be absolute insanity. I can’t really come up with a good description for the traffic, but if I were to pick a single word, it would be, “pandemonium”.

      As far as being in India… I’m not going to go back if I can help it. When I was there I couldn’t open a door, press an elevator button, lift a plate, or carry a bag for myself. You’d think that would be nice, but it ends up just making you feel like an asshole – and it’s next to impossible to have an honest conversation with anyone, so powerfully ingrained is the class structure.

      When I was there, the only people who spoke to me as an equal treated everyone -else- as if they were barely more than appliances. It was, honestly, horrible.

      Maybe it’s different if you go as a tourist, but the India I saw was split between two worlds – a rich world which barely acknowledged the existence of the poor one, and the poor one which carried the rich one on its shoulders.

      Imagine the city you live in. Now add ten times as many people as already exist, all of whom earn $10/day and live in absolute squalor. Keep all the billboards, expensive cars, and lifestyle for yourself and the other people who were already there, and train yourself and everyone you know to studiously ignore the other 90%. Welcome to India.

      The two best parts of India for me were the insanely painted, wonderfully garish ’50s-era big trucks crawling the highways at 15mph through the middle of the night, honking out multi-note ringtone like horn blasts and weaving in amongst themselves randomly. It was like a giant, psychedelic metal dinosaur migration.

      There are two kinds of cargo truck in India – those which are going and don’t look like they can stop, and those which are stopped and don’t look like they’ll ever go.

      The second best thing I saw was a barber shop with a large sign saying, “HAIR SALOON”. Unfortunately it didn’t have an old west style flappy door.

  • avatar

    I think the V-shaped garland is really a garland and not flames. While I’m not sure if garlands are typical, some religions make it a practice to have a newly-purchased car blessed as soon as possible. Yes, there’s even more irony if that’s the case.

  • avatar

    “some religions make it a practice to have a newly-purchased car blessed as soon as possible”

    Roman Catholicism for example!

  • avatar

    As a kid I once saw a Renault Dauphine fly into a service station, the driver and passenger both jumped out, ran to the back, one flung open the engine cover and the other put out a flame with a fire extinguisher. At the time I was mostly surprised that they seemed to have this so well orchistrated that they must have done it before. Sometime later I pondered the fact that I was in a gas station with a flaming vehicle.

  • avatar

    Unintended incineration?

    I blame the driver! :D (I kid…seriously)

    I owned a 1987 Plymouth Turismo 1.6L that caught fire a couple times. The engine vibration caused the oil cap to come off occasionally and oil would splatter around until I noticed the absence of the cap. I suppose it was just a matter of time before some hit the exhaust manifold. One time it took out a good chunk of wiring underhood (something I noticed after putting out said fire with the carpet piece from the hatch area). I was lucky enough to be a few blocks from an auto parts store so I went and bought some new plug wires anda spool of insulated general purpose wire and spent a couple hours undoing the worst of the damage. The car caught fire two more times over the nest week until I got everything sorted. I should put together a list of all my adventures in that car. It was a tragedy in every sense of the word but went a long way toward honing my repair skills.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    I can imagine the Tata executives sitting in a conference room, stunned, saying to each other “Building cars is really hard!”

  • avatar

    Yeah, that’s a garland.

  • avatar

    Blue Oyster Cult…Burnin’ For You.

  • avatar

    I thought I saw the same orange-flowered garland at the end of the movie about the life of Ghandi. Apologies if I am mistaken , but is this picture a hoax ?

  • avatar

    indians burn their dead don’t they?

    just like vikings

  • avatar

    Nanos, get’em while they’re hot

    thank you and good luck

  • avatar

    The Chevy HHR that I saw over the weekend had way more flames coming out of it than this.

    May the best car win

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