Don't want to spend more that about 2 grand on a new car? Well, your choices are pretty well limited to just one car, the Tata Nano from India. Only 122 inches long, and with about a 88 inch wheelbase, and blazing 624cc engine smaller than some motorcycle engines, the Tata Nano sure isn't built for speed. It's a pure economy box ride.
But the Nano does provide fairly good creature comfort, safety as well fuel efficiency and certainly makes owning an automobile more affordable for many more persons around the world in developing nations with lower household incomes who want something better than just a bicycle or scooter.
Getting a whooping 51.7 miles per gallon with the tiny 2 cylinder rear mounted 33hp engine, the tiny Nano is giving the other world's cheapest car, the Maruti 800, which costs much more at a little under $4,000, a real run for the money. Heck, for $4,000 you could buy a Nano for each foot and wear them like roller skates.
And for the satisfaction of only paying just $2,000 for a car, many buyers are overlooking some real manufacturing drawbacks such as some glued rather than welded exterior body parts, 3 rather than 4 wheel lug nuts, a single side-view mirror, a mono-windshield wiper and numerous other cost-cutting items as well as a manual transmission and manual steering.
However, these very cheap cars are presenting some controversy. Some fear that for congested cities in India, more automobiles will not only dramatically increase traffic deaths from the 90,000 a year figure to higher levels. And with pollution controls not as good as U.S. standards bu any means, the amount of pollution and greenhouse gasses produced by millions of such vehicles will impact the planet.
But at the same time shouldn't persons in developing countries also be allowed to enjoy some of the same luxury goods as Americans or Europeans? On one hand cars like Nano are interesting if not somewhat funny. On the other hand a serious number of moral questions and environmental questions are raised by such vehicles.
The Tata Nano is truly a very cheap car. For $2,000 you sure don't get too much of a product. But in some other ways, the vehicle is fairly good value and certainly modern in design. However, compared to walking, I suppose it's better than wearing down some shoe leather. It's always better to ride than walk, I suppose.
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