Tata's much ballyhooed Nano isn't exactly selling as expected in its home market of India, especially after the well-publicized fires engulfing the several examples of the world's cheapest car. Despite that, the head of Tata Group, Ratan Tata, says his company remains intent on bringing an updated sub-$10,000 Nano to the States, and he intends to do so in three years.

While the Indian market gets a bare-bones Nano powered by a two-cylinder, 37-horsepower engine, Tata unsurprisingly says the US version will have a larger engine, power steering and traction control.

"The Smart and the Fiat 500 have high sticker prices, and people buy them because they are small cars," Tata tells Automotive News. "But everyone knows you put a lot of money into it. We hope that the sub-$10,000 car has appeal."

With the US economy still slowly recovering, a car for under $10k could have plenty of appeal. But the Indian automaker has several obstacles to overcome first, not the least of which is building a dealer network for the Nano. Tata owns Jaguar and Land Rover, but that group's CEO, Andy Goss, says there has been no discussion about using those dealers to distribute the Nano.

Perhaps the updated US-bound Nano will be more like the Nano Megapixel concept (pictured above) we saw at the Geneva Motor Show back in March. That car had a longer, 138-inch wheelbase and a larger 325cc engine supplemented by two electric motors. It's safe to assume that if Tata wants to keep costs down so that it can offer the car below $10,000, the next Nano won't get a hybrid powertrain like the Megapixel, but perhaps it will pick up some of the car's size and styling cues.


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  • 177 Comments
      dustins4321
      • 2 Years Ago
      What do you call a Tata with a flat tire? Totaled. What's included in every Tata owner's manual? A bus schedule. What do you call a Tata that breaks down after 100 miles? An overachiever. Why does the Tata have a rear-window defroster? So you can keep your hands warm while you push it.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's worth a look. This could be the next geo metro.
        lordedardstark1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        I just wish it was as bare bones as the metro. There are too many unneeded "things" on this car. I would want a conservative interior and exterior, to keep the prices down. This is Versa territory, and I'm pretty sure that most will buy a Versa at this price point.
      artandcolour2010
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think there could be a low-end market like this in the USA for a really back-to-basics-but-safe car. Not sure if this Nano is it, but I'll be interested to read about the next gen.
        lordedardstark1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        Well, the Spark was supposed to fill that void, but it has too many standard features to keep it under 10k. I wish they would have kept a conservative exterior, but the same interior, with a 3 cyl, naturally.
      to your email L
      • 2 Years Ago
      138 in wheelbase? Isn't that longer that even a Cadillac or a 60's Lincoln, perhaps that's the total length, check your copy.
      rwwhit
      • 2 Years Ago
      They should market them thru the Jaguar dealers...Buy a Jag, get a Nano for free.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rwwhit
        [blocked]
      caliperson18
      • 2 Years Ago
      This could be a great alternative for people that live in the city. Inexpensive, size wise of a Chevy Spark, and with 4 doors? Iif Smart can lease a ForTwo for $99 a month then this should theoretically be even cheaper. Who wouldn't want to have a road legal small car that you can have for under $100 a month for whenever you need that extra car. Tata will purposely take a profit hit on each car and have a decently appointed interior (for the segment) just so that they can break into the US market. Zipcar anyone?
        John Switzer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @caliperson18
        I could see such a car for rental market in dense urban areas where the need to actually own a car [or be 'owned' by a car] is much less. I'd imagine they could be rented for very low bucks, probably cheaper then a taxi when you have to drive someplace.
      lela & terry
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why are the American auto makers dragging there feet? Look how modern this Nano looks, WOW! The only thing close to this is the new Chevy Spark. But it starts 3K higher, why? O yea its made in Korea! We make the Sonic here but it starts at 15K, Im sure they can build one and sell it for 10K too. Most Americans would rather buy US but they are 50 to 70% HIGHER! I own a 2007 Chevy 1500 LS P/U. I bought it new and it was $24850.00 Today the same truck has a MSRP of $33770.00 thats just under 9K more WTF WHY my wages have not gone up...I GREED THE REASON?
      Love Great Danes
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not the tatas I want to see.......
      eeenok
      • 2 Years Ago
      what sad excuse for a human being needs power steering on a nano?!!?
      jesuaphn
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think we (USA) should make an affordable car here too.
      ngoogleh
      • 2 Years Ago
      youd have to tear the front seats out and drive like hightower from police academy
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, some people feeling threatened by a single small car that has not even made it to our shores yet acting like it's going to collapse our economy or something. Sheesh! I suppose all those small Japanese cars that were introduced here years ago collapsed our economy also. Folks in India are probably saying the same thing about Ford and GM because frankly they are struggling there, especially GM with there re-badged Daewoo's that make up much of their Indian domestic line-up.
        Rex Schaefer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cruising
        That crap ALREADY has helped to tank our economy! Between that and wallstreet we'll become a "third world" "banana republic"!
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