By on May 17, 2012

Remember the Tata Nano? It is the world’s cheapest car and we reviewed it earlier here. Neither does Jay Leno need any introduction. The host of the Tonight Show has gone ahead and added the Tata Nano to his garage. Jay already has more than 100 cars and 90 motorcycles in his garage. Leno also writes for The Sunday Times and will soon be giving his opinion on the Nano. The Tata Nano he has bought could have been gifted by Tata Motors for obvious reason. It is the top end model sporting fancy accessories, such as alloy wheels .

Jay Leno dressed up in a sherwani (Indian traditional dress) and brought in Bollywood dancers to bring home the Nano. To go with the sherwani, and Leno’s hair, Jay chose a white colored Nano with the tri-color Indian colors painted on it. The Tata Nano is powered by a 624cc, twin-cylinder, gasoline engine. It produces 38 hp of (well …) power output and 51 Nm of torque. Don’t be misled by those figures as the Nano weighs just 615 kgs. There is no power steering on offer and reaching 100 km/h takes a lengthy 27.5 seconds. The only thing really going for the Nano is the compact dimensions and 60 miles per gallon mileage.

The Tata Nano has not been selling anywhere close to what the company expects it to. The plant capacity is close to 20,000 units per month, but Tata Motors has been able to sell less than 10,000 units a month. Thus the plant is running at only 50% capacity. The company is looking at exports to maximize sales of the Nano.

Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of, a website covering the auto industry of India.

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36 Comments on “Jay Leno Adds The Tata Nano To His Garage...”

  • avatar

    is there a LHD nano?

    i suppose this is a toy since they havent passed us nhtsa tests?

  • avatar

    It would have been brought in for display or “off-road use” only.

    Next up… Jay Leno swaps an LS3 into his Nano…

  • avatar

    Only 60mpg for this toy? Jeez.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    This car is pure in its purpose and design. It is inexpensive and simple. Like electric cars, the top speed precludes American highway driving in any safe manner, but I;m sure it’s fine for Los Angeles.

    Why Leno wanted this upcoming NSX hybrid, I have no idea.

  • avatar

    Props to Leno! TRUE car enthusiasts love cars of all makes & models. If it has 4 wheels & a motor then I want to drive it!

    With that being said, why is the gas mileage so poor?
    Honda just released a 700cc bike with ~ +20hp and it gets 65….The prius c in real world driving gets > 60..

    I’d think this would get > 100.

    • 0 avatar

      I was going to say the same thing before I saw your comment.

      True enthusiasts aren’t only about monster power and clipping apexes. They appreciate cars in all their forms. This one is as true to its purpose as a modern car can be, and Leno appreciates it enough to want to own one.

      Bravo, indeed.

    • 0 avatar

      My 250 cc liquid-cooled 2-valve scooter gets 65 mpg. Having a Nano with a conventional gas engine that got 60 mpg and seats four would be great. The Nano probably weighs more than a pair of Honda’s NC700 bikes too, but I’m not sure.

  • avatar

    I guess when Jay’s Stanley Steamer is in the shop, he’ll drive this!

    Look at the bright side…at least the Nano doesn’t look like a Hyundai…

  • avatar

    Those two pictures just slay me

  • avatar

    Is Leno channeling Liberace ?

  • avatar

    Tata Nano? I thought that was a small boob.

  • avatar

    Where in the world did TATA source those wheels? A shopping cart? They are tiny! We need a vellum venom article for the nano. (ple-e-e-ase… It’ll be fun)

  • avatar

    OK, now how in the pluperfect hell did he manage to bring it in to the country (besides being rich and famous, of course)? I could learn to hate this guy, with his ability to bring in all sorts of cars that the rest of us have absolutely no hope of touching.

    • 0 avatar

      It could never be licensed for the road, but its probably fine as an unregistered vehicle for off-road use (like those late model Japanese mini trucks that get imported as farm vehicles).

      There’s also a chance that Jaguar Land Rover hold title to it and have it on a temporary manufacturer tag, like they would use for a prototype or development mule.

  • avatar

    I’d love to have a car like this. Only way to get one in that size/weight category is to make one and license it as a motorcycle trike.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    if only grey market cars were easier to come by. I definitely can see one of these being widely bought as a ‘non-highway’ vehicle.

    Better than a golf cart. Worse than an Aveo. I’m sure that plenty of folks would opt for one. If only we could get rid of those pesky safety and DOT standards…

    • 0 avatar

      Up here in Canuck land we can have a first generation Nano in… 2023.
      We have to wait for a non-North American vehicle to be 15 years old before it can be imported. We’re only just getting the first of the MGF’s.
      Once the car is legally registered in Canada, surely it’s a relatively simple procedure to then get it transferred to the US?

      • 0 avatar

        “Once the car is legally registered in Canada, surely it’s a relatively simple procedure to then get it transferred to the US?”

        Nope, they watch the border like a hawk when it comes to that sort of thing. When I lived in Seattle there was a shop in Vancouver, B.C. selling imported kei cars. I desperately wanted one for daily driving, but so did a lot of other people and the WSDOT knew it. God forbid I buy a fuel-efficient used car in the Land of the Free…

  • avatar

    “…Jay Leno dressed up in a sherwani (Indian traditional dress)…”

    Does this include the, what appear to be Adidas, shoes?

  • avatar

    What’s the over/under on how long he has before it spontaneously combusts and burns down his garage?

  • avatar

    Who has a better life than Jay Leno?

    I mean, he doesn’t work at a (physically) hard job, at least as far as

    I can tell…

    He makes as much money as God, or at least close to it…

    He can buy almost anything on wheels and is physically fit enough to enjoy it…

    From what I’ve heard/read about the guy, he’s generally well regarded…

    When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be Sean Connery or Rutger Hauer.

    Now that I’m all grown up, I want Jay Leno’s life…

    • 0 avatar

      He also banks his entire earnings (somewhere in the neighbourhood of $30M/annum) from the Tonight Show, and lives off the earnings from his frequent stand-up acts.

      He has a full-time staff to keep his 200+ vehicles in top shape, which are housed in a WWII-era aircraft hangar.

      Of course, he also talks about sleeping in his first car, the ’55 Roadmaster, and I’m sure the first few years of scraping by in California wasn’t a picnic.

      To answer your question directly, no, nobody has a better life than Jay Leno currently has. He doesn’t even have kids, and has an obviously patient wife.

      I had hoped that Jay would, instead of that unpleasantness during the whole Conan debacle, get an NBC show based off his website videos. By every available analyses, NBC messed that one up.

    • 0 avatar

      “Who has a better life than Jay Leno?”

      Have you met my kids? Did I mention my new grandson?

  • avatar

    It pisses me off that Leno can own a car that no one else can own. I’m not mad at Leno, of course, but the U.S. >feral< government that restricts what cars I can buy to a list of approved autos. I would not buy a Tata Nano, but there are any number of Australian cars/utes that I would love to bring home.

  • avatar

    The Ta-Ta Song

    We wuz thinkin’ you wuz Holly
    Now you be showin’ you iz Bolly
    Back when you wuz thrillin’, baby
    Back then we wuz all your friends

    Now we be chillin’ baby
    Cuz yo whip sucks
    Only Ashton callin’
    So kiss it
    So long, an’ kiss it
    Gonna see you kiss it

    Na na nano
    Na na nano

  • avatar

    I said I was not pissed at Leno. If I had MY way, I could buy the cars that I want, and HE could drive his Nano on the highway, and the federal government would be 90% slimmer.

  • avatar

    Surely Jay should be wearing a denim sherwani?

  • avatar

    I can think of two reasons the Nano is selling slowly.

    1. People have higher aspirations. Just like the original Beetle is not viewed in Germany with rose-colored glasses as it is here (too reminiscent of the bad old postwar days), if you have a Nano, you’re just telling the world you can’t afford anything better.

    This is because…

    2. It fails as a “classless” car like the Mini and 2CV. Rich and not-so-rich people bought both because they suited a purpose and had a special appeal. It’s also not particularly practical. It can seat four people and can’t carry much else. Neither can a Mini, but a 2CV could carry a lot with the rear seat removed or had in trucklet form and a Renault 4 was cavernous with its rear hatch. There’s a reason all those cars are front-wheel drive. It frees up a lot more space than a rear-engine configuration.

    When I first saw a Nano, the first thing I thought was “missed opportunity.” They would have been better off modernizing the 2CV design and marketing that. Ironically, I recall Citroen offering the old 2CV tooling to several Third World countries and getting no takers. In fact, Citroen developed the original chassis into the FAF (facile a fabriquer et facile a financer – easy to build and easy to finance) which was seen as a “second-class” car and didn’t catch on.

    So Tata was let down by the same “not invented here” thinking that used to plague Detroit? Maybe.

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