The low-cost Indian "peoples car" has finally been shown in public for the first time at the New Delhi Auto Expo. Developed by Tata Motors to a target price of $2,500, the four seater has a 624cc gasoline engine mounted under the rear seat and is called the Nano. There has been a lot concern that meeting the price target would require Tata to skimp on emission controls and safety. The manufacturer claims that the 33hp engine meets current Euro IV emissions standards and is cleaner than most of the scooters running around on Indian streets right now. They also claim that the car has passed frontal and side impact tests although no mention is currently made of what standard they are testing too.
The Nano will be available in three trim levels with the base $2,500 getting no air conditioning. The two upper levels do get AC although it's not clear if that 33hp engine will be able to move the car and provide chilled air at the same time. The minimalist interior includes non-reclining seating for four, a four speed manual transmission, an a dashboard with speedometer, fuel gauge and oil light. Tata claims the Nano can achieve 54 mpg (U.S.) presumably without the A/C. It should be available in the second half of 2008 with a sales target of 500,000 units annually.
[Source: Rediff, thanks to Sayyad for the tip]