Tata unveils 'people's car'

10-01-2008

Tata unveils 'people's car'
Indian carmaker Tata today unveiled the world's cheapest mass manufactured car.

Dubbed the 'People's car', the vehicle will retail for around 100,000 rupees (£1,200) - with sales of around 60 million now predicted across the sub-continent.

Officially titled the Tata Nano, the vehicle is just less than three metres in length and is capable of carrying four adults.

While it will hit the streets of Indian and the surrounding region in September, it will not be available to consumers in the west.

For Tata it represents a giant leap forward for motorists across Asia.

"I observed families riding on two-wheelers - the father driving the scooter, his young kid standing in front of him, his wife seated behind him holding a little baby," said the company's chairman, Ratan Tata.

"It led me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family. Tata Motors' engineers and designers gave their all for about four years to realise this goal."

While the car has no electric windows, air conditioning or power steering it does possess a rear-mounted 624cc engine, capable of producing 33bhp.

The company will initially make 250,000 of the vehicles to meet soaring demand for road cars in India, where a burgeoning middle class increasingly has a disposable income for such purchases.

Environmental campaigners have, however, raised concerns over the potential impact of a large number of new vehicles taking to the road.

Yet, the benefits outweigh the costs according to Mr Tata, who said: "Today, we indeed have a people's car, which is affordable and yet built to meet safety requirements and emission norms, to be fuel efficient and low on emissions.

"We are happy to present the people's car to India and we hope it brings the joy, pride and utility of owning a car to many families who need personal mobility."

Tata is presently in talks with American manufacturer Ford to purchase the Land Rover and Jaguar marquees in the near future.

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