click above to view more high-res images of the Tata Nano

Tata has pulled the wraps off its long-discussed and highly-anticipated 1-lakh (around $2,500) car. The orb-like Tata Nano was unveiled at the New Delhi Auto Expo today, boasting a 30-horsepower 624-cc engine; a four-speed manual transmission; a disc/drum brake setup; room for five (based on the above photo); and claimed fuel economy of 54 US miles per gallon. There's no power steering, and you'll find more instrumentation on many wristwatches -- the Nano has only a fuel gauge, speedometer, and oil light. Suspension? Well, it has one. Tata claims that the car meets safety and environmental standards (such as Euro IV emissions compliance), and we're sure it won't be long before tests show whether the car is indeed up to snuff in those areas. Say hello to the new "people's car," brought to you by the same folks who hope to sell you Jaguars in the not-so-distant future. We'd say that if all goes as planned, Tata's got just about every possible demographic covered. Thanks for the tip, RV!

UPDATE: Official Tata press release added after jump.
UPDATE 2: Official pics added to gallery.

[Source: Rediff, photos by Manan Vatsyayana/Raveendran for Getty]
Related GalleryTata Nano


PRESS RELEASE:

Tata Motors unveils the People's Car
A comfortable, safe, all-weather car, high on fuel efficiency & low on emissions


Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group and Tata Motors, today unveiled the Tata 'NANO', the People's Car from Tata Motors that India and the world have been looking forward to. A development, which signifies a first for the global automobile industry, the People's Car brings the comfort and safety of a car within the reach of thousands of families. The People's Car will be launched in India later in 2008.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi, Mr. Ratan N. Tata said, "I observed families riding on two-wheelers - the father driving the scooter, his young kid standing in front of him, his wife seated behind him holding a little baby. It led me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family. Tata Motors' engineers and designers gave their all for about four years to realise this goal. Today, we indeed have a People's Car, which is affordable and yet built to meet safety requirements and emission norms, to be fuel efficient and low on emissions. We are happy to present the People's Car to India and we hope it brings the joy, pride and utility of owning a car to many families who need personal mobility."

Stylish, comfortable
The People's Car, designed with a family in mind, has a roomy passenger compartment with generous leg space and head room. It can comfortably seat four persons. Four doors with high seating position make ingress and egress easy.

Yet with a length of 3.1 metres, width of 1.5 metres and height of 1.6 metres, with adequate ground clearance, it can effortlessly manoeuvre on busy roads in cities as well as in rural areas. Its mono-volume design, with wheels at the corners and the powertrain at the rear, enables it to uniquely combine both space and manoeuvrability, which will set a new benchmark among small cars.

When launched, the car will be available in both standard and deluxe versions. Both versions will offer a wide range of body colours, and other accessories so that the car can be customised to an individual's preferences.

Fuel-efficient engine
The People's Car has a rear-wheel drive, all-aluminium, two-cylinder, 623 cc, 33 PS, multi point fuel injection petrol engine. This is the first time that a two-cylinder gasoline engine is being used in a car with single balancer shaft. The lean design strategy has helped minimise weight, which helps maximise performance per unit of energy consumed and delivers high fuel efficiency. Performance is controlled by a specially designed electronic engine management system.


Meets all safety requirements
The People's Car's safety performance exceeds current regulatory requirements. With an all sheet-metal body, it has a strong passenger compartment, with safety features such as crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seat belts, strong seats and anchorages, and the rear tailgate glass bonded to the body. Tubeless tyres further enhance safety.

Environment-friendly
The People's Car's tailpipe emission performance exceeds regulatory requirements. In terms of overall pollutants, it has a lower pollution level than two-wheelers being manufactured in India today. The high fuel efficiency also ensures that the car has low carbon dioxide emissions, thereby providing the twin benefits of an affordable transportation solution with a low carbon footprint.
(For more information: www.tatapeoplescar.com )

About Tata Motors
Tata Motors is India's largest automobile company, with revenues of US $ 7.2 billion in 2006-2007. With over 4 million Tata vehicles plying in India, it is the leader in commercial vehicles and the second largest in passenger vehicles. It is also the world's fifth largest medium and heavy truck manufacturer and the second largest heavy bus manufacturer. Tata cars, buses and trucks are being marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and South America. Tata Motors and Fiat Auto have formed an industrial joint venture in India to manufacture passenger cars, engines and transmissions for the Indian and overseas markets; Tata Motors also has an agreement with Fiat Auto to build a pick-up vehicle at Córdoba, Argentina. The company already distributes Fiat branded cars in India. Tata Motors' international footprint includes Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Co. Ltd. in South Korea; Hispano Carrocera, a bus and coach manufacturer of Spain in which the company has a 21% stake; a joint venture with Marcopolo, the Brazil-based body-builder of buses and coaches; and a joint venture with Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant Company of Thailand to manufacture and market pick-up vehicles in Thailand. Tata Motors has research centres in India, the U.K., and in its subsidiary and associate companies in South Korea and Spain.