Tata Nano – Click above for high-res image gallery
The other day we alerted you to the "fact" that Ford will be releasing a brand new $650 car. But as does everything that sounds too good to be true, the car in question was a severely used (and dented) 1993 Ford Taurus, and the Wisconsin-based masters of parody at The Onion were behind the video, not the Ford Motor Company. We mention this because more than one of you took the time to comment without watching the video, and the results were quite funny – in a laughing at you sort of way. Today though, is no joke.
Carlos Ghosn, the lovable star of his own Japanese manga comic and the CEO of Renault-Nissan, is claiming that his company will produce a car that costs less than the $2,500 Tata Nano, making the as-yet-to-be-named car the cheapest in India, and therefore the least expensive in the world. The car will be built by Bajaj Auto, an Indian scooter and rickshaw company. Not to be left out of the party, both Toyota and GM have expressed interest in selling "ultralow-cost small cars" on the Subcontinent.
However, these cheap, small cars just don't sell themselves. So far, Tata has managed to move just 10,500 Nanos since July. For their part, Bajaj and Renault-Nissan were hoping to get their ultralow-coster on the road by 2011, but there have been delays. First announced last year, Ghosn said that the delays should come as no surprise since neither Bajaj or Renault-Nissan has ever made such a vehicle. He did note, however, that such a car is "critical" to Renault-Nissan's presence in India.
"I don't want Renault and Nissan to be makers of very pretty cars that people dream about but cannot afford." said Ghosn. He also said that by the time Renault and Nissan's small car debuted it might no longer be the very cheapest. There are also plans afoot to export the new vehicle out of India, just like Tata is planning to do with the Nano, though that car would most likely be slightly reworked and therefor more expensive. Tip of the pith helmet to Neil!