Tata Nano Europa - Click above for high-res gallery

Looks like Tata Motors is trying to get the Nano into U.S. dealerships by 2011. India's largest domestic automaker thinks "the world's cheapest car" could do well here, especially given our nation's economic conditions right now. The car will likely not be as cheap when it is re-engineered to meet U.S. crash and emissions standards, but it should still be inexpensive enough to attract quite a few buyers.

There remain a couple of big roadblocks, however. First of all, how do you re-engineer the car so quickly, and secondly, where do you sell it on these shores? Rumors of distribution through Jaguar/Land Rover dealers was quickly dispelled, so that's where Fiat-Chrysler may come in, argues New York Times correspondent Nick Kurczewski.

The logic proceeds as follows: Fiat and Tata already collaborate on several joint ventures. They share a huge factory in India. Tata sells Fiats in India. Tata gets to use Fiat diesel engines and Tata developed a pickup truck that will be sold as a Fiat as well. Adding Chrysler into the mix at least helps with distribution and possibly with engineering help for a speedy conversion to U.S. standards.

Kurczewski argues that the American market Nano could even revive the Autobianchi name for Fiat, as the Italian carmaker has expressed an interest in launching an entry-level brand below Fiat. A Fiat-Chrysler Nano would go a long way toward meeting the EPA's new 35 mpg standards, even after it's upgraded with air bags and possibly a more powerful three-cylinder engine to please American drivers.

[Source: New York Times]

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