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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tata Nano In The U.S.?

According to Automotive News, Tata says that it could bring the Nano to the U.S. as soon as 2011 or 2012. However, you can bet your bottom rupee that it won't cost $2000, won't weigh 1300lb, and probably won't get 61mpg.

Before Tata can sell the thing in the U.S., it must be fitted with "2.5mph" bumpers front and rear.
It will need ABS and stability control.
It will need front and side airbags.
It will need front, rear, and side impact crash structures so it will get a decent score on NHTSA's crash tests.
It will need properly formulated catalytic converters to meet tough emissions standards.
It will need an automatic transmission, since we Americans are forgetting how to shift our own gears.

When these and perhaps other features I have not thought about have been added, it will likely cost more than the $6000 or so that the Tata Europe is expected to cost.

Suppose it comes in at an industry leading price of $7,500. That's great for a new car, but in 2012 you could probably get a nice used compact or mid-sized car of the 2007-2009 vintage for that kind of money. Nothing exciting, but a solid reliable ride. With amenities such as power locks and windows, decent radios, an opening trunk, dual wipers, fold down seats, and so on.


Big Ford Fan said...

I've been wondering who would buy these and I figure they might sell to small retirement gated communities. Who would want to drive one on even a two lane road?
I think the Smart is too small and that has 8 airbags?

auto seller network said...

Nice small and cheapest car launch by tata motors in india and in 2011 or 2012 in U.S. I am sure fans must have got impressed with this Car!!!

Anonymous said...

Your point is generally correct. But I don't think it would require all the features you mention. The target market will include the large number of Indian immigrants (HB visas or otherwise) who haven't yet become accustomed to the American expectations for safety and comfort. For them it will all be about price.

Thus, ABS and stability control are not required. Auto-trans isn't required. Air bags would be limited to the minimum needed by law. 2.5 mph bumpers would be required, but unlike the old 5 mph bumpers these don't have to be that heavy.

As for crash tests -- well, they will have to adapt this car to meet the tougher European crash tests, so meeting the US tests shouldn't involve any extra costs.

Still, for all that I can't help but be reminded of the brief appearance of the Yugo in the mid 1980s. That car, too, was a no frills car designed to capture the low-low-low price market share. And it had great initial sales success, only to fail due to the fact that Americans, apparently unlike their Yugoslavian counterparts, were not used to having to be skilled car mechanics in order to be able to reliably return home from any trip.

You may recall that Consumer Reports' verdict on the Yugo was that you were better off buying a year old Chevette (which had poor reliability ratings) than a new Yugo.

Having experienced first hand the quality of the output of Tata's software businesses, I somehow expect the Tata car to compete with the Yugo for the title of Worst Car Sold in America Ever.

Anonymous said...

Actually, stability control will be a requirement for all vehicles by 2012, and ABS is a requirement for stability control.

gm used cars said...
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