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Tata Nano - The little car that might change the world

Tata Nano Launch Special on DWS Auto India

Click above to read the latest stories on the Nano


Length: 3.1 m
Width: 1.5 m
Height: 1.6 m
To seat: 4
643cc, 2-cylinder, all-aluminum
Power: 33 BHP
Position: Engine, battery at rear end
Boot: In front
Fuel: Petrol
Fuel injection:
Fuel consumption:
20 kmpl
Only in deluxe version
Music system: No
Passenger side mirror:
Power steering:
$2500 at dealer + VAT + transport cost. Base version approximate on-road price: $3000
Tyres: Tubeless tyres
Body: All-steel
Safety features:
Crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seat belts, 2 A-Pillars
Independent front and rear

The ultra-secret people's car for India - the Tata Nano - is here. How will this car change the way India, and the developing countries drive?

10 January, 2008

  • It will help India's huge two wheeler popular upgrade to a four-wheeler
  • Very affordable - priced a bit higher 2 125cc motorcycles in India
  • If popular, will clog roads in the cities
  • Establish a huge volume market that cannot be ignored by any large car manufacturer
  • 40 patents by Tata Motors during development

Here are the pictures from the unveiling of the Tata Motors' small car to be sold at a price of US $ 2500 approx. (Rs. 1 lakh.). The Tata Nano was unveiled at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi, India.

The Nano is disruptive tech - make no mistake.

The world's car  manufacturers have expressed all shades of opinion in the run-up to the Tata Nano. Suzuki has said that it is impossible, VW said it is not what they want to do. DaimlerChrysler said they think it is an important market Tata is trying to tap.

There was no way Tata could design a car the conventional way. So went at it on a clean slate. And seems to have pulled it off. The rear engined car will have a small boot for luggage storage in the front. In the process of developing the Nano, Tata Motors has added 40 patents to its kitty.

This car, if it becomes a hit, will make every auto company change the way it works and look at the volume market. Not only in India, but in entire Asia and every third world country. Offering mobility for the masses is big business. The VW Beetle did that, and so did Henry Ford.

Tata Nano Interior Photo gallery

Measurements of the Nano
  • 3.1 metre length
  • 1.5 metre width
  • 1.6 metre height

Environmental impact

In India, a car like this can crowd the streets, forcing the government to improve infrastructure - and as the evolution of the Western industrial society demonstrates, affordable cars can be a major force for change.

But till that happens, this is a car that can seriously crowd the streets - and make life a bit tougher in the short-term.

Tata nano photo gallery

Is it a real car?

The car will have a two-cylinder 624-cc petrol engine with 33 bhp of power. It will also have a 30-litre fuel tank and four-speed manual gearshift. The car will come with air conditioning in the deluxe version, but will have no power steering.

But yes, it is a real car. Production is expected to be 250,000 units in the first year. Despite the puny 33 bhp engine, it has acceleration and speed comparable to the existing people's car of India, the approx US $ 5000 Maruti 800.

I know, that's pathetic power by American and Western standards. But Indian maximum legal speeds are way lower than them - and Tata Motors anyway claims that the car is as fast as the Maruti 800, India's original People's Car that changed things a couple decades back. And there are a million or more of them on the streets of India already.

The car will have front disk and rear drum brakes. The company claims mileage of 22 kmpl in city and 26 kmpl on highway.

The $ 2500 is the dealer price - the actual price on the road might be approx Rs $3000.

Nano photo gallery

The car would be commercially launched in the second half of 2008 and would be produced at the Singur plant in West Bengal.

The car launched is being avidly watched by the auto industry around the world.


Passes crash tests. Side impact test yet to be done, but Tata is confident about it. It has 2 A-pillars on one side to better meet safety norms.

No airbags. Airbags are still not a required feature in India.

But you have crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seatbelts and anchorages.

A four wheeler is safe than a scooter. So to begin with, the huge two wheeler population of India gains a safety benefit. But will it pass the safety requirements of a large car or even a high technology compact? Unlikely. But that is not the objective - it is to improve the safety of four-member families like this one that rides scooters and at risk every day.

And so here it is. If Tata Motors is right, we could be witnessing a serious disruptive force - and one that might kick-start India on to a high growth path. Successful mass market mobility does that to a country.

Tata Nano Standard version photo

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