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Though the minuscule Tata Nano hasn't even been on the market for a complete year, the impact it's had on the automotive world may be exactly inverse to its size and price. In other words, it's had a huge effect, proving to the world that it's possible to build a business plan around selling super cheap cars in rapidly expanding markets.

You can reportedly add the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and General Motors joint venture to the list of automakers that have taken notice of the Nano. According to reports rolling in from China and India, the 50:50 JV is considering a vehicle that would be positioned below the Chevy Spark/Daewoo Matiz that would sell for as little as $3,500.

So far, GM/SAIC isn't commenting on the reports, but has indicated in the past that it plans to build small vans, SUVs and cars for emerging markets like China and India.

[Source: WheelsUnplugged | Image: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes of course. Wasn't it obvious this was the point of the deal? To get SAIC access to the Indian market? It was to me at least.
      • 5 Years Ago
      These small cars will never make it into the USA. The new side impact pole test is going to give a lot of cars big problems.

      My invention will help solve the problem.

      www.safersmallcars.com
      matthew
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just what you love to see. GM takes our money and does deals with our biggest threat.

      Way to go GM. Could they do anything else to piss on America? Make cars of Plutonium and give them to Iran maybe? That'd be a hotter seller than the junk they sell in the domestic market for sure!

      And I thought the "Volt" song was a slap in the face to the US taxpayer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        F#$k off matthew you stupid c*nt.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        GM's success in China is one of their only saving graces right now, if you weren't a blindingly ignorant troll you might know this.
        matthew
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        I know they're doing well overseas... So we shouldn't have bailed them out here. Let them move their socialist union company to China. Their looter ideals go hand in hand.

        And what does it say that GM's saving grace is a COMMUNIST country? LOL Pathetic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, good luck with that GM! You have written your own death warrant in the Indian auto market!

      Indians will NOT buy a Chinese car over a domestic brand. There is quite animosity over Chinese for their support to Pakistan among Indians. Chinese products are considered inferior & sub par there. And Indian consider China as a competitor. China's disregard of IP is also frowned upon. (Some Chinese company blatantly copies motorcycles from Indian major Bajaj)

      Also, Indians are quite proud of their domestic brands like Tata & Mahindra. An Indian company PAL tried to import Chinese CKD cars & failed miserably here.

      Any association with a Chinese firm would be looked very unfavorably there. As it is, GM cars are considered sub par here & a Chinese involvement is bound to be a disaster for sales. Indians have long memories! (See Fiat's fate in India)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Despite the bad name of chinese auto market, how ever if you actually think about this deal, cheap and fast chinese labor with decent american engineering, i cant see why these 2 wont be able to come up with a Tata fighter, i mean its prob gonna be like a dodge caliber thats only like 2 grand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Ben

        > i cant see why these 2 wont be able to come up with a Tata fighter

        1. GM engineers suck at small cars.
        2. SAIC engineers suck hard.

        Worse yet, China is India's No. 1 security threat with an ongoing territorial disputes. India's spending 30~40 billion just to keep up with Chinese military threat.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good luck with that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        China is the 2nd largest Luxury goods purchasing power next to the US.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good luck, rather hard luck.

      Chinese products in India are associated with the stigma of cheap and poor quality. Intially SAIC wanted to sell Light commerical vehicles (LCV), but decided against it. When the 4 major Japanese players, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Mitsubishi tried selling LCVs in the 90s, they met their Waterloo when Tata introduced the 407. All the four Japanese companies stopped selling vehicles in that segment.

      About Nano is a product of lean engineering where you eliminate unnecessary flab as long as you do not compromise on the end product and thats what Tata did. They had used their group companies like Tata technologies - INCAT division which does contract work for all the automotive majors like crash testing, design work, etc. Then they have Tata motor European technical center(TMETC) which is based out of Midlands UK. The Chairman of TMETC who was the MD at Ricardo PLC has said that the inputs from TMETC proved invaluable in designing Nano.

      If Tata were a flyby night automotive company like many Chinese automotive firms, it would have been a different story. Tata Motors seem to learn from their mistake and invest a huge chunck of change on R&D which seems to be an alien concept to the Chinese who have little or no respect for IP.


      • 5 Years Ago
      No,the comments that India and china have territorial disputes and other non sense don't really matter on matters of business.China actually is the biggest business partner of India.The problem is of the perception of Chinese products in Indian minds.A few year ago Chinese companies tried to introduce motorcycles in india but they failed because the products were considered crappy because of the made in china tag.China produces everything but still they haven't been able to change the mindset.I have seen this to the limit that if people receive gifts which have a made in china tag they tend to take it as an offence...
      • 5 Years Ago
      It took Tata more than 5 years and a huge engineering team just to come up with the final production model. Lets see how these guys will do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        With 5 years?

        That's like 1.5 car generations, so I'm sure they'll do just fine.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Indians hate China and all things Chinese with passion and could smell Chinese cars from a mile away.

      Accordingly, the very attempt to sell Chinese cars of any kind in India is a guaranteed disaster.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's only because India is more backwards than China, with a lower per-capita income and lower GDP. If India ever actually got their act together, things would be OK. But right now, it's mostly envy & jealousy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Trust me we don't envy the Chinese at all (freedoms to start with). Its mostly the border dispute and regional politics that are the issues.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Trying to sell Chinese car in India is like trying to sell Soviet cars in the US at the peak of Cold War. It just doesn't work.
        • 5 Years Ago
        > That's only because India is more backwards than China

        No, it's an actual military confrontation between India and China.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I find it interesting that there's very little India-hating in China, it's mostly the other way around.
        • 5 Years Ago
        china and india is not in the same category.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Even Nissan has been thinking of building a Nano fighter.
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