Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tata Produces A $2500 Car

India'a Tata Motors unveiled its Nano at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi today.

The Nano is said to be the cheapest car in the world.

The man behind this "people's car", Ratan Tata, says he wanted to build a car that the masses could afford over a motorcycle.

The car has a 600cc engine that is located in the rear (kinda like the VW Beetle). It does not have power anything or an air bag. You can add an A/C though.

I watched a few interviews on the streets of Delhi and there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for this vehicle.

Ratan Tata hopes this car will eat into the 7 million motorcycles that are sold in India each year.

Damn, where they gonna park all these cars? Is it really a wise move to be producing more cars for the already clogged roads of India?

And what about the enviromental impact of more cars, and this car specifically?

I am not sure what to make of this car and the thinking behind it. I have never really been without a car, ever.

Still, I can't but think that creating an appetite for more cars is not the way to go.

But let me tell you that if they brought this car to South Africa for $2500, folks would buy it hand over fist.

What you think?


Dade said...

I'm with you, Ridwan, my friend. I think feeding the expectation that everyone should have a car is a bad idea. Unless, of course, the car ran on electricity or some other non-polluting fuel.

One crimp in Mr. Tata's plan could be gas prices. They're never going to go down. The price of gas could ultimately be what drives the internal combustion engine into well-deserved obscurity.

Dione said...

To be green or not green that is the question?
This little car will have a lower emissions factor, and Tata motors is a world leader in their car recycling program. Will affordability negatively impact the already polluted streets and smog? I think it may depend upon what kinds of financing are available in India, and what their requirements are. The people of India are usually either rich or very poor, so it would be a matter if the poor will be able to buy it. The Mini that has hit Europe has had a similar reaction, however their affluent shun the vehicle due to its status. Overall, the rest of the world outside of the US has the right idea on economy cars that are more fuel efficient. We are obsessed with power and size in America; almost no one wants a gutless car. From what I read there is going to be an American mini coming out soon, the one people are putting a $99.00 down payment on to reserve. This car is not so cheap though. This also reminds me of when I went car shopping and like many was super curious about the Toyota Yaris. I thought here is an inexpensive car that I can pay off in a year or less! I hated it though, sure power nothing and the speedometer was in the middle of the consol so you have to turn your head to the right to see how fast you’re going. What the hell is that about? Poorly designed, and I’m curious to find out about how this Nano People’s car is laid out. The website says that there will be a standard, luxury and deluxe model. I also wonder about the crash rating? Can’t be good, and one reason the new Beetle was changed/redesigned to have the engine in the front rather in the back was for safety. A rear ender can cause an explosion in a little striped down car, I think of the issues with the Pinto! If this is the case Tata motors is not being socially responsible. What if this is accessible to the poor and it’s the only car they can get. They won’t pay attention to the fact that it isn’t a family car, and yet Tata motors coins it “The People’s Car”. My first reaction to this car was Bravo, but now I’m not sure. Interesting stuff, but I’m into cars.

Shus li said...

Well, if every person on the planet stopped driving right this instant, the abatement of catastrophic effects of carbon related global warming would probably not be sufficient to avert disaster. I've read and heard this from multiple sources. Emissions from factories, like the ones making these new car, and other sources would have to cease instantly as well for there to be any salvaging of ice caps.I have read and heard information to back up these statement.

Car and industrial ways of living are due to come to a screeching halt. It can be sooner, but won't happen on a voluntary basis. If it happens sooner, more species will survive.

Ridwan said...

Hey there Dade! Remember seeing all those motorcycles on the roads in India?

I bet you saw three and sometimes four people on a motorcycle too huh?

I tried to get a good picture of a family on a motorcycle but I failed miserably.

Anyway, Ratan Tata is said to feel that a motorcycle is not appropriate for families.

But why a car hey? How about investing in better public transport systems?

Don't know. But the motor industry is taking note no doubt.

Is China next?

Thanks for the comment brother.


Ridwan said...

Thanks for looking in Dione. I think people will line up to buy this little car.

100 000 rupees (a lakh) is in the range of what is middle-class in India.

If memory serves me right, a 125cc motorcycle runs about 35 000 rupees.

So moving up to 100 000 is not just an easy step.

The younger set may be happier with a motorcycle than a dorky small car (though it is cute to some).

Still, I am with Dade ... how about an electric motor, or even a Prius-type set-up?

Moreover, public transport needs to be the center of 'modern' development thinking.

Just me opinion.

Peace to you,

nunya said...

Public transport seems to be getting worse and worse all over the world. I'm with you Ridwan, I don't think that more cars is the answer.

Dione said...

You raise another good point.
Frankly the world needs to get off fossil fuels and go to alternative energy, as well as mass transportation for the people which is especially important in heavily populated areas.
These solutions would be better for the environment, a solution to the word’s depleting natural resources and as far as I’m concerned were still a bunch of hypocrites in America with our problems with the Middle East and yet were supporting them by purchasing their valuable export! (We all know the high society supports petroleum with their own financial interests)
The hard part will be wining that war with the elite and their influence on our decision to keep using fossil fuel, and the way our cars are built. I also keep telling this story of my grandfather’s friend who purchased a car back when you had to order them directly from the factory and found that this big v8 engine used hardly any gas at all. The government demanded it back as it was a project car. So we even have the technology to make super charged vehicles run on way less fuel. This makes me very angry! The technology exists to run cars on hydroelectric power and were not exploring that!!! The few steam cars of yesterday could have come a long way by now.

I would have loved to have purchased a fuel alternative car, but again the prices of those are high, and if you want to run your car on bio fuel its not as easy. This needs to be readily accessible by every gas station to get people to feel confident about this kind of transportation. I don’t think were going to see that until there is a disaster that makes the people in charge take this seriously, or leaves them without a choice.

Peace to you Ridwan,
Have a nice weekend

Ridwan said...

Hello Dione. I read somewhere that bio diesel can be a problem in colder weather.

Pedro may be ahead of the curve. I remember he changed his 300d Mercedes to run on used cooking oil.


Ridwan said...

Hey there Nunya. You are absolutely right about public transport systems.

Portland is a stand-out in its emphasis on public transport and its provision of bike lanes.

I thought San Diego seemed somewhat sophisticated when I was there in mid-2007. Am I wrong?

As for South Africa, the emphasis is on taxis.

A recapitalization process has begun. The government wants old taxis off the road so it gives
R50k towards a new taxi made just for SA roads.

You can imagine the problems. Bad roads that are getting worse and air that lacks the clean quality I remember from my boyhood.

I am wondering how we are gonna get folks around the streets when the 2010 Soccer World Cup gets here.

Public transport of the rail kind is the way to go!!

Thanks Nunya.


Ridwan said...

Shush li thanks for your comment. I read the other day that the livestock industry in the world creates more carbon than all the cars of the world put together.

It makes sense that a world that moves away from mass meat production and consumption could be a cleaner one.

I think we could grow real food to replace all the feed that is needed to fill up on meat.

Best wishes sista,

Dione said...

From what I understand subway systems are about the best for mass transportation. I see that as a problem for Oregon as we have built our cities with so much stuff going on underground.
I rememeber in the early 80's visiting the Tri met project site, before max was on the streets. This problem is the reason max was inplemented, but now city planners understand that what were going to need is something like Chicago has. An above ground railway to make up for us not being able to support an underground subway system. Its going to be interesting, and ugly, lol.

nunya said...

Yes, I'm jealous of the light rail system in Portland. LA and San Diego have added some light rail, but the county here is 50 square miles of mostly suburbs and they've dropped bus routes. Very little of the system runs after 9 pm, which means that the people that can least afford a car are forced to maintain one for even a low paying job. Restaurants and security guard companies have nighttime hours. The high prices for gas, insurance and car maintenance (city's broke, roads suck) on top of higher than average rents ( ) make living here rough. The gangs on the public transport make it frightening at times.

Dione said...

Wow Nunya thats a good point.
Many times the working class poor either live inside the inner city core in it's most run down areas, or outside the suburbs where there is low income housing. Transportation is a huge issue and the reason for people living where they work, or trying to get to work.
Interesting enough people in areas such as north clackamas that are finally getting MAX, oppose it because it is redirecting traffic and people just don't want to give up their cars.
Really good point, and hey there Ridwan :) hope your weekend was fun!


Dione said...

I watched an interesting OPB program tonight that reminded me of this topic,, again :)
South Korea has implemented an amazing rail system that can operate at speeds of 300 kilometers per hour. The rail way is not “jointed” so that the cars can go faster, and the whole set up is ground breaking in terms of engineering which also includes a bridge that “sails” over a freeway. The passengers of KTX railway are guaranteed a safe ride, and the drivers are monitored to make sure they stay awake. While I found this amusing, I was also amazed to see that if the driver incurs a health problem or passes out, an alarm sounds and they have a way to control the trains by remote access.
If anyone would like more info: