Back in the early ’00s, I saw Smart cars zipping around my neighborhood in France and thought, “Europe is so weird! They’d never sell those in the US.” But I was wrong. And the relative success of tiny cars like the Mini Cooper and, the Smart fortwo has led to the inevitable. The world’s cheapest car, India’s Tata Nano, is coming to America and Europe in about three years.
The Nano sells for about $2,500 USD in India, and will be more robust and safer before it shows up on the American and European markets. But it’ll still be tiny, and cheaper than a base-model Hyndai Accent, currently the cheapest new car on the US market.
US and EU safety and emission standards are far stricter than India’s. The Nano’s two-cylinder, 623cc engine will need to be reworked before it can meet pollution caps. The company will add airbags, a stronger roof, and a different design for the back seats to satisfy seat-belts laws. These additions will take about three years to finish and likely more than double the price of each car.
Would you buy this strange-looking little car? Does its 50 mpg rating make it more appealing?
World’s cheapest car, Tata Nano, revs toward US [Christian Science Monitor]