Thursday 10th January 2008
At the New Delhi Auto Expo in India, Tata Motors unveiled the Nano, billing it as the world’s cheapest car: The anticipated price tag was around $2,500. Tata, India’s largest automaker, called the four-door, bubble-shaped mini-vehicle (it was just 5 feet wide and 10 feet long) the “People’s Car” and declared that it would be a vehicle for families who previously hadn’t been able to afford a car. (At the time, it wasn’t uncommon to see an entire Indian family precariously packed onto a single motorbike.) The Nano was originally scheduled to go on sale in October 2008; however, production was delayed because of a land dispute in West Bengal, where the car’s production plant was being built. The company opted to move its production facilities to another part of India and the Nano officially went on sale across the country in April 2009. The basic model carried a starting price of approximately $2,000 (not including taxes) and came without a radio, air conditioning, airbags, power steering or power windows. It had a body made of plastic and sheet metal and a 32-horsepower, 624cc two-cylinder rear-mounted engine, and it could reach speeds of 65 miles per hour. In another nod to cost-cutting, the car had just one windshield wiper.