'World's Cheapest Car' Unveiled

11 January 2008

NEW DELHI: Indian auto manufacturer Tata Motors has put what has been termed the 'world's cheapest car' - the Tata Nano - on display at the ninth Auto Expo in the country's capital.

The company has termed the Nano - a four door, five-seater vehicle which will cost some 100,000 rupees ($2,500; €1,702; £1,277) - the 'People's Car', and it is due to be released later this year.

The basic model does not include features such as power steering, air conditioning and electric windows, but two deluxe models will be made available, with a diesel version to follow.

India's car market is forecast to experience rapid expansion in the next few years, reaching an estimated total value of $145 billion by 2016, fuelled by the country's economic growth and increasing levels of consumer wealth.

Some concerns have been raised about the potential environmental impact of the Nano, as well as its impact on the country's already stretched transport infrastructure.

According to Tata, however, the car exceeds regulatory requirements with regard to its emission levels, and will average around 20 kilometres to the litre (around 50 miles per gallon).

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, chairman Ratan Tata 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."

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff