• Jun 6, 2009
Tato Nano Europa - Click above for a photo gallery

Americans may have the opportunity to welcome the Tata Nano to their shores in just over two years, according to a confirmation from David Good, a U.S. rep for the Indian automaker. Before it arrives, Tata assures that the ultra-cheap compact with a base price of just $2500 will be configured to meet all emission and crash standards. If successful, we could see see versions of the Indian microcars running on biofuel and diesel.

But who will distribute the teensy Tatas? Well, that's up in the air right now. A brand-new dealer network for the brand has been discussed. Another option would be selling the Nano through Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships -- the Indian automaker owns both, after all. That long shot was quickly dismissed by Stuart Schorr, a spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover, before the repercussions could sink in.




[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]


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  • 69 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      As much as I know it won't happen, just imagine how many of these would sell if they could keep the price down to the $2500-3000 range here. It would be practically an impulse buy. I'd seriously think about it just because it would be soooo cheap for a runabout.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's the all=new Saturn Nano!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was thinking the exact same thing. A new product for Penske to put in the showrooms.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's funny. I had the very same thought. Saturn
        • 5 Years Ago
        If Penske picked it up, wouldn't it undercut the Smart?

        Unless he called it the Not as Smart.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How many of us obese Americans can fit into this thing?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the new Bollywood model. Love me them Beetle bumpers. Adding crash resistance, airbags, catalytic converter and plumbing, and all the other crap we require and this will have to compete with the Fit by the time it's all added up. No contest.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Goodbye American automotive sector.



        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan you are right, but it keeps the competition at bay.

        Look let's be hones here, if Chinese enter USA in the next 3-5 years at least 1 of D3 is as good as dead.

        I'll give you a great example, Europeans have great diesels, but they are illegal in USA because they do not meet our standards, if they were legal, as gas went thru the roof Germans would have captured huge % of the market because diesel gets better MPG.

        I hate to advocate anti free market ideas but i do not want to see US Auto to die.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And what did Sea Urchin say that was not rational? Everything, everyone here is saying is pure theory. None of us know. It's suggestive dialog. As far as I'm concerned SU has some good points. As does everyone here. But it's not nonsense...

        It's due diligence! Which I wonder Sea Urchin! You're a diligent thinker, why aren't you more left leaning than right? I'm neither (non party) but I remember you saying things that were very "right leaning" in statements yet your thoughts are fairly thorough! Doesn't make sense to me! The left is in my opinion, a little more far-sighted....
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ rodrigo_coimbr5, "using manual labor to assemble cars means usually lower quality." - exactly , look at the poor quality of Rolls Royce , Ferrari , etc....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fiziks

        Who and why would buy an American car in Japan. With all respect, but only very few cars with technology sourced from European operations would be competetive on JDM.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Judi, at least China lets foreign companies sell cars. In Japan and Korea, that's virtually impossible.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sea Urchin is up to his usual nonsense.

        The North American car industry does not need tricks. They are fully capable of competing. What they need is a level playing field. It is pretty tough to import vehicles into China and if you want to build them there you are forced to partner with a Chinese manufacturer who is then free to rip off all your technology. It is also virtually impossible to import into Korea. These closed home markets give their manufacturers an edge. The rules should be pretty simple. Your automakers will get the same access to the North American market as our automakers get to yours. I also think we should expect any business selling vehicles here to manufacture them to the same labour and environmental standards we expect from domestic makers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @erik

        Level playingfield? The importers have the advantage of closed protected markets, fixed currencies, and subsidized medical and pensions.

        Meanwhile we legislated import small car performance in the late 70's giving imports an easy time of making rapid marketshare, give victory to any lawsuits leveled against them (because the plaintiff is from the home state and Big Old Meanie GM is from outside the state) and required them to satisfy labor laws and quotas all the way to the top.

        Failure was baked in. The problem was the government not acting before they actually failed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Disagree.

        Federally mandated content is not an advertising feature. It's a requirement to get your product on the market at all. But, say, NHTSA 49 CFR 571 5.4.3 compliance is not a selling feature. Consumers don't understand it or give a crap about it so they won't voluntarily pay extra for it.

        And every dollar of product price that goes to meeting those federal hoops is one less for the image and luxury features where your profit margin comes from.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Randy i am a neocon, but it pains me too see D3 die like that. We all know that certain countries do not follow trade laws, so i want us to do something to help our companies as well. By that i do not mean a bailout, i just mean a slight help.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You see, most D3 supporters do not understand that the way to help D3 is to increase regulation, CAFE, emission standards and such. We all know that Chinese cars are horrible in crash tests, but if they'd sell in USA people would still buy them, because they would be ultra cheap and LOADED with tech. Imagine a 12K Corolla looking vehicle that has standard NAV and more, something like that would sell.

        Too keep NEW companies from countries that do not follow laws from entering USA we need more standards, for example today Chinese companies probably would not meet our roof standards, but they will in 5 years, should the government in 3 years come out and order even tougher standards, that will force those Chinese companies to go back to the drawing board once again and rebuild their cars, which will take time, because their cars sell on price and not quality. Meanwhile companies that do sell in USA can anticipate tougher standards ahead thru lobbyists and such.

        When cars become more about cheap labor and parts than quality, that is when USA and all non Chinese car industry will die. Slave labor is almost free, do not forget that, but if these companies can not meet our standards they simply wont be able to sell in USA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uhh...China doesn't restrict imports of American cars more than the US restricts imports of Chinese cars...China doesn't even currently export a single car to the US. And while they give a better tax rate on domestically built cars, so do we so as far as the car relationship goes they're being pretty fair. It's not even unfair for them to ask that car companies who want to build factories there partner up, otherwise they would forever only be exploited only as customers and cheap labor since they didn't have any home grown competition. They basically found a quick way to get some homegrown competition going by having foreign companies trade some know-how in return for getting to produce and sell stuff in their very lucrative market, there's nothing unfair about that.

        So far GM has the largest market share in China and China hasn't sold a single car in the United States, so more restrictive automotive import laws would hurt our car companies more than theirs. Most of their sales are all domestic anyway since their market is so huge-their car companies have plenty of money to make without needing access to the US market, but none of the foreign automakers would be able to survive without China. If VW didn't have China they'd be screwed, if GM didn't have China they'd be somehow even more screwed if that's even possible, if Toyota didn't have China they'd be screwed too since their Japanese sales have tanked along with the entire US auto market. Even Hyundai depends on China for a huge portion of their sales.

        Seriously for all the whining about China on autoblog you'd think their car companies had bankrupted the Big 3, but if it weren't for the Chinese auto market GM would have been bankrupt even sooner. Jeez.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sea Urchin, I respect what you are saying...no one wants to see D3 go down, but I just don't understand why the government should give domestic car manufacturers a slight edge so they don't fail. If they do fail, it's because their company is poorly operated or they can't meet the demands of the modern consumer. Either way, it is their fault and they deserve to fail.

        A level playing field would have the competition put a little fire under D3's butts to start producing better products! Knowing what consumers like is all that the companies need to succeed, not federal regulations...
        • 5 Years Ago
        SeaUrchin,
        You have a really good point, but somehow I think that kind of policy is only manageable in the short-term. Although Chinese automakers have a lot of hurdles to overcome before any of their vehicles will be viable in the U.S., there's no reason to think they wouldn't eventually figure it out even if you make crash test standards extra stringent, or what have you. You can only over-regulate things for so long.

        The Tata, however, like the smart, was not conceived for Americans or American roads, and would have its own hurdles to overcome in making it to market, so the $2500 pricetag isn't realistic if it comes to the U.S. I do think that most in this country would indeed think of this car along the same lines as the smart -- something you might buy so that little Jimmy can scoot off to high school, or tool around downtown, and not much else.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Tato is closing the gap fast, once the new EPA rules go into play. Tata, DongFeng, Hyundai etc will flood US markets with cheap compact you can just as well kiss goodbye to US automakers.
      DanTana
      • 2 Years Ago
      My response to Eddie, racism prvades the states. If we truly believe in free enterprise (not just conveneient when it fits our racial preferences) letthe best product win and let the consumer benefit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Look at it closely. The detail is very clever and actually it looks brilliant for a city car. But I am European...
        • 5 Years Ago
        That said, however, having the window switches that far down SUCKS.
        • 5 Years Ago
        agreed, looks fine from the outside for what it is.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Judy Zik , you said something about koreean auto market. Why is so closed for foreign manufacturers? With laws (wich laws? ) or the koreean people is so nationalist that buys only korean cars?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The level of thought that went into making such a cheap car still amazes me to this day. Engineers FTW!
      That said, this car needs a passenger side mirror as well as an automatic transmission to have any remote aspirations of selling in the US. After that, I would buy one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Something tells me the 10 airbags, 25 crash reinforcement bars, 30 crush zones, and autotragic is going to increase the cost past $10k and add about 5 tons to the weight of the final USDM product.

      It'll probably end up being as (relatively) pointless as the Smart relative to the its size. Maybe if it has a small turbodiesel mated to a manual transmission, though...
        • 5 Years Ago
        screw the safety requirements, they'll need an auto, that alone will double the price of the car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who, exactly, will this car appeal to?

      1) Image-conscience city-dwellers? No.

      2) Middle Americans who spend most of their time traveling large distances on huge roads doing 90+ next to semis? No.

      3) Soccer moms who need to transport (and entertain) large numbers of children and think even an M1 tank doesn't have enough armor to protect their precious rug-rats? No.

      4) Greenies who already see Tata as the Exxon of automakers (1 billion people + cars = environmental nightmare)? No.

      5) Single men? My God no.

      This car doesn't touch on a single American demo. Its the four-wheel equivalent of a moped - you wouldn't want to be caught dead in one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do you remember the redesigned Beetle? It didn't sell well. Why? Perception and other competing options at that price point. The original was popular because it lacked competition - no one was building small, capable, affordable cars. Now nearly every marque makes them. When given the choice of driving a glorified golf-cart @ $6000+ (which is what it will cost at a minimum after being beefed-up for the US market) or a real car @ $12,000, they're going to use financing to buy the $12,000 car.

        America isn't the 3rd world. Ultra-cheap cars are popular there because their per capita is very low, they don't have any credit system to speak of, and there are no other near-cost competitors (its either the Nano, or a $50,000 import - there's nothing in between). Here, there are already normal-sized compacts at affordable price-points, and credit is easy to come by. No one's going to accept the embaressment of driving this car when they can get into a real car for a couple grand more (which they'll finance anyway).
        • 5 Years Ago
        It'd appeal to people without the budget to get to pick and choose what else appeals to them more.

        A reliable $3-5,000 car would be a godsend for millions of Americans.

        Fortunately we have the NHTSA to turn it into yet another $10,000 + collision appliance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Remember the original VW Beetle? Reading your comment, probably not.

        The world's best selling cars, ever, have been true "people's" cars. The Nano has the iconic styling and low price that have the potential of making this the next automobile cult.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do you live in the past?

        Everything you've said suggests that America's tired trends of the last 30 years are permanently fixed.

        "credit is easy to come by."

        Not any more. For the lower classes, easy credit for long term finance of say a Hyundai or Ford is no longer an option. For alot of people who make below a median income, the days of being able to lease a Corolla are fading fast. A car like the Nano will be their best (and quite likely only) option.

        Those other market "demos" you mentioned are again, a narrow slice of the population. Its really bizzare to think that in a mere 5 examples you've captured a representative snapshot of America.

        What about immigrants? In alot of states, immigrants can get driver's licenses. If the Nano costs 2-3k, you can bet a lot of immigrants will be buying these. What about teenage girls from middle class families? Paint the Nanon in the right color, and before you can scream kawaii, this could be the darling of Hannah Montana set.

        And so on. If America was those 5 markets, I would leave here in a heartbeat. Thankfully our country has yet to become THAT banal.
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