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Transportation Technology

$3,000 Tata Nano Car Coming To US 658

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-small dept.
walterbyrd writes "The Nano is currently powered by a 37 hp two-cylinder engine and lacks common safety features such as power steering, traction control and airbags. It was originally designed to compete in the Indian market against scooters and motorcycles. . . Along with added safety equipment, it's likely the car will get a larger, less polluting engine for export markets. Unfortunately, that means the price will increase, as well, possibly tripling by the time it goes on sale in the U.S.."
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$3,000 Tata Nano Car Coming To US

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  • Sorry guys... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:31PM (#41660155)

    "Only three years away," doesn't make this news again.

    Wake me up when one has successfully passed NHTSA crash saftey tests.

    If they were smart they'd partner with someone to make the Fiat-500 or the Ford Fiesta air-powered versions. This is a wheel not worth reinventing, to some degree literally.

    • Re:Sorry guys... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by trdrstv (986999) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:44PM (#41660349)

      Wake me up when one has successfully passed NHTSA crash saftey tests.

      If they were smart they'd partner with someone to make the Fiat-500 or the Ford Fiesta air-powered versions. This is a wheel not worth reinventing, to some degree literally.

      If they were smart they'd redesign it to only have 3 wheels (2 in the front, 1 in the back). In the US it would qualify as a motorcycle and not need to pass any of the NHTSA crash saftey tests.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Thus guaranteeing zero sales...

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        If they were smart they'd redesign it to only have 3 wheels (2 in the front, 1 in the back). In the US it would qualify as a motorcycle and not need to pass any of the NHTSA crash saftey tests.

        Motorcycle...hell, this thing doesn't sound like it has the power of a 2 door Vespa scooter?!!?

        What highway are you going to allow this thing on? Top speed is what...40mph or so? 0-60mph in 1.5 minutes?

        I know gas mileage is important to some people out there on a budget.....but man, you'll get run over on most road

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        Bombardier/Skidoo [brp.com] already makes something like this. The problem is that their version costs $18,000 for the cheapest model. If you could make one for $3000, I suspect that quite a few people would be interested in them. The Bombardier one has a 998 cc engine. You could make something suitable for booting around town in with something as small as as 250 cc engine.
        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          With a 37hp engine, it is theoretically drop-in replacable with an agricultural grade consumer electric motor. (I can get them that strong at at least 4 places in my city alone.)

          Dropping a battery array, and turning it into a plugin electric conversion should be fairly painless, especially without all the energy hungry appliances.

          This is a hardware hack's dream just waiting to happen.

          It should be drivable on just a few kilowatts' worth of current flow, meaning you don't have to be crazy on the battery. If y

  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:32PM (#41660159) Journal

    Poor people could use a new car. Too many who are making $17,000 a year working 2 jobs end up with cars that cost 50% of their paycheck just in maintaince and have to go hungry half the time if something goes wrong.

    There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

    • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:41PM (#41660293)

      Poor people could use a new car. Too many who are making $17,000 a year working 2 jobs end up with cars that cost 50% of their paycheck just in maintaince and have to go hungry half the time if something goes wrong.

      There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

      There used to be this option known as "buying a used car," but the Lords here in the USA have ensured there is no supply of used cars in reach of their serfs^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpoor people's spending power.

      The Lords' program was called "Cash for Clunkers," and it took ~700,000 used cars off the market by literally destroying the engines intentionally (by pouring some powder directly into the engine and running it until died).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Joce640k (829181)

        It's not just the buying, it's the fuel/insurance/repairs. Trying to keep a ten-year-old all-American auto on the road is a money pit.

        For the same price as a second hand car they could have something they can actually afford to run.

        • by Applekid (993327)

          While you would come out ahead over years of use, when you live paycheck to paycheck, digging deeper for higher upfront costs is an impossibility.

          See rent-to-own furniture versus buying outright.

          • Are you crazy? New cars are ego driven decisions and you NEVER come out ahead over years of use. It's the first mile that kills you.

            For cheap to keep in the USA today what you want is about a '95 civic with less then 200K miles. Expect to pay about 2-3K$ on craigslist. Those things go 300K with good maintenance and are the easiest cars in history to work on. Lots of parts in the junk yards for cheap.

            • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

              by CaptSlaq (1491233) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:38PM (#41661115)
              "Good maintenance" is often a bit of a misnomer for many craigslist vehicles. Most of them are basically clapped out bleeders that would take double the asking price to not stain the parking spot you decide to use.

              Plus, let's be honest, how many will wrench on their own cars, or know a mechanic that will actually risk taking used parts? I know of exactly one, and he's just for hire when he's hard up for cash.

        • by mr1911 (1942298)

          It's not just the buying, it's the fuel/insurance/repairs. Trying to keep a ten-year-old all-American auto on the road is a money pit.
          For the same price as a second hand car they could have something they can actually afford to run.

          My car is 10 years old. It runs well but costs ~$300 a year to keep running, which is far cheaper than the annual cost of buying or leasing a new car. Not to mention cheaper insurance compared to a new vehicle. It gets ~24 MPG which isn't stellar but keeps me far below the tradeoff point where a car payment for something more efficient is cheaper than fuel costs.

          Waiving your arms and claiming new is better is no substitute for a reasonable total cost of ownership analysis.

          • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:29PM (#41660977)

            It's not just the buying, it's the fuel/insurance/repairs. Trying to keep a ten-year-old all-American auto on the road is a money pit.

            For the same price as a second hand car they could have something they can actually afford to run.

            My car is 10 years old. It runs well but costs ~$300 a year to keep running, which is far cheaper than the annual cost of buying or leasing a new car. Not to mention cheaper insurance compared to a new vehicle. It gets ~24 MPG which isn't stellar but keeps me far below the tradeoff point where a car payment for something more efficient is cheaper than fuel costs.

            Waiving your arms and claiming new is better is no substitute for a reasonable total cost of ownership analysis.

            I agree with this. The problem is that the auto industry wants to sell you new cars. They don't want you to actually look at TCO.

            For instance, I have a 1996 Mazda B4000 pickup that gets horrible mileage (around 17mpg). It has around 210,000 miles on it. However, other than fuel, regular maintenance and insurance, there are no other regular payments. Granted, one day, it will need a major repair that will be cost prohibitive and it will get replaced. But, to replace it now, for the sake of better mileage is crazy. Currently, I user about 1,000 gallons of fuel, say at $4/gal or $4,000/yr. Say I could get 25.5 mpg (a 50% increase in fuel economy). I would only need 667 gallons of fuel or $2,668/yr at $4/gal. I would "save" $1,332. But then again, I would have to pay $3,600/yr in car payments, so I would actually pay out $2,268/yr more than keeping my existing vehicle (at least for the first five years). And that is assuming I could get a replacement truck that would actually average 25.5mpg in real life.

            Why would I or anybody else choose to do that? And don't give me for environmental reasons, unless you are willing to calculate the impact to the environment on producing that new vehicle from raw material to delivery at the dealership.

            A new car should easily go 200,000 miles if one maintains it. If a car built in 2002 is a money pit today, it's because of lack of proper maintenance in the past. Cars are expensive, no doubt. As such, they need to be treated and maintained as such.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tgd (2822) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:03PM (#41660601)

        Poor people could use a new car. Too many who are making $17,000 a year working 2 jobs end up with cars that cost 50% of their paycheck just in maintaince and have to go hungry half the time if something goes wrong.

        There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

        There used to be this option known as "buying a used car," but the Lords here in the USA have ensured there is no supply of used cars in reach of their serfs^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpoor people's spending power.

        The Lords' program was called "Cash for Clunkers," and it took ~700,000 used cars off the market by literally destroying the engines intentionally (by pouring some powder directly into the engine and running it until died).

        Your unsupportable political opinion aside, there are still more than enough used cars out there. The problem is not a lack of used cars, the problem is a consumption-driven culture that goes out of its way to teach people who most need to be responsible with their money to be irresponsible with their money.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          Your unsupportable political opinion aside, there are still more than enough used cars out there. The problem is not a lack of used cars, the problem is a consumption-driven culture that goes out of its way to teach people who most need to be responsible with their money to be irresponsible with their money.

          So....poor people are overly easily influenced, and can't think for themselves....

          Poor poor people.....

          :(

          And actually, after the cash for clunkers fiasco....there was a dip in used cars...and what r

          • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

            by tgd (2822) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:29PM (#41661003)

            Your unsupportable political opinion aside, there are still more than enough used cars out there. The problem is not a lack of used cars, the problem is a consumption-driven culture that goes out of its way to teach people who most need to be responsible with their money to be irresponsible with their money.

            So....poor people are overly easily influenced, and can't think for themselves....

            Yes. It is, in fact, an example of causation and not correlation that spending more money than you need means you have less money than you could've, and last I checked, poverty is pretty strongly associated with a shortage of money.

            And, if you really want to educate yourself on it, there's more published literature than you'd ever have time to read through on the psychology of poverty, and just as big of a collection of literature on the ways that psychology is used by marketers for political and commercial gain and population control.

            • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

              by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday October 15, 2012 @03:53PM (#41663031) Homepage Journal

              ...and last I checked, poverty is pretty strongly associated with a shortage of money.

              And poor people can't see that they don't have enough money to buy some things....?

              That was more of my point. If you can't afford a nice car or nice TV...then don't fscking buy them...eh?

              I can't believe just because someone is poor...that they can't grasp that concept?

              Hell, when I left the house and was a broke college student and awhile after that...I couldn't afford everything I wanted...hence, I didn't BUY them...till I could make enough money (or save it back then) to buy things.

        • I got a chuckle out of the cash for clunkers program as people were bringing in vehicles nicer than my junk truck at the time (88 Ford Bronco II) to have them destroyed and getting something new that I am sure they had to get a loan on. I could have dumped off my Bronco II but then I would of had to get a loan for a new truck or suv that I only use a limited amount but beat on when I am using it.
        • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:34PM (#41661067)

          Poor people could use a new car. Too many who are making $17,000 a year working 2 jobs end up with cars that cost 50% of their paycheck just in maintaince and have to go hungry half the time if something goes wrong.

          There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

          There used to be this option known as "buying a used car," but the Lords here in the USA have ensured there is no supply of used cars in reach of their serfs^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpoor people's spending power.

          The Lords' program was called "Cash for Clunkers," and it took ~700,000 used cars off the market by literally destroying the engines intentionally (by pouring some powder directly into the engine and running it until died).

          Your unsupportable political opinion aside, there are still more than enough used cars out there. The problem is not a lack of used cars, the problem is a consumption-driven culture that goes out of its way to teach people who most need to be responsible with their money to be irresponsible with their money.

          Yes, there are, but their price did rise dramatically after the cash for clunkers program. Simple supply and demand. Reduce the supply of late model used cars and the price of those cars goes up. As the price difference between a used car and a new car shrinks, people start to buy more new cars (which is how cash for clunkers planned it). However, their trade in does not go back into the pool of used cars, so used cars stay pricey. Since used cars are pricey, the price of new cars can drift higher, too, which has occurred also. This again was planned as part of cash for clunkers -- better profit margins means more jobs, etc.

          Without making a comment on the politics involved with cash for clunkers, it accomplished what it set out to do. On the other hand, if one was not able to take advantage of the program, it has definitely driven up the cost of used cars. It is simple supply and demand at work.

        • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DarkOx (621550) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:48PM (#41661291) Journal

          unsupportable political opinion aside

          Basic economics insists that if the supply of used cars was larger they would command a lower price. Which would put them in affordability reach of more people. This is very simple supply and demand, the most well understood and accepted theory in economics. Suggesting this is wrong is an extraordinary claim and requires extraordinary proof.

          Cash for Clunkers was designed to benefit specific groups and it arguably did that; but it also did harm to other groups. There is room to debate if it was a net positive for the nation as whole.

          I for one find it very difficult from an instinctive point of view to think forcibly removing assets from the economy prior to the end of their useful service life, and compensating people with capital made available by leveraging debt instruments can really work out to be a win for the nation as a whole. I can totally see how the class of folks who did stand to gain from it would have a huge over lap with the class of likely and eligible voters though.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

        by artor3 (1344997) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:15PM (#41660759)

        What a load of nonsense. There are plenty of used cars to be had. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], there are around 200 million passenger cars registered in the US. And that doesn't include the 8 million motorcycles and 40 million light trucks.

        So, around 0.3% of them were destroyed, and you're gonna spout some conspiracy nonsense about evil Islamo-Commie Obama making it impossible for poor people to find used cars?

        I don't know where you got that crap from, but you need to stop listening to that source. They're poisoning you with lies.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

        by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:17PM (#41660793) Homepage

        ... there is no supply of used cars in reach of their serfs^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpoor people's spending power.

        I just did a quick search for used cars for under $3000, and found quite a few of them on the market within a 50 miles radius. (Like everything else, if you're in a more rural area, you have to travel further to find stuff.) I mean, there are reasonable objections to Cash for Clunkers (e.g. it costs too much), but yours doesn't seem to be based in reality.

        • by DarkOx (621550)

          You can deny it all you want but somebody would have done something with those cars had they not been destroyed or fewer new cars would have been produced/sold or some combination of the two.

          To suggest anything else is just lying! Quite literally the hand of God would have to have come down and stanched them out of the market place, just like the hand of government did.

          So someone suffered for others gain. A certain group of producers got to move more of a product than the market currently demanded. Certa

    • This still wouldn't fill their needs. People making $17k a year in the US won't be able to buy a new vehicle. You can find good used vehicles, even ones that are well under $5k but you will end up sacrificing looks. I paid $2k for my jeep and all I have done to that in the past year of ownership was change all the fluids, filters, spark plugs, plug wires, cap, and rotor (cost about $120 and an afternoon of work) and I did all that the day after I bought it.
    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

      Err.....how are the poor in Europe more fortunate that here in the US? And please..something other than the socialized health care. I mean..we are talking cars here.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They get subsidized by the government, get rent controlled housing, minimium wage is higher, etc.

        Oh and they get public transportation too and do not need to spend 50% of their paycheck just to show up to work.

    • Please tell me what car, any car, (outside an "exotic") requires $8,500 a year in maintenance. (50% a $17,000 paycheck.) I'm having trouble figuring out what you could possibly spend that much money on. That'd be more than enough for a brand-new engine, transmission, tires, and brakes, every single year. Even the most pathetic, rusted out, smoke-belching, heap won't set you back nearly that much.

      Many cars easily make it to 100k-200k with nothing but exactly what the manual calls for, along with occasion

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:32PM (#41660163)

    As recently as the 90s, power steering was still an option on many Saturns, for instance. Traction control was brand new and not even offered, and ABS brakes were a luxury that many did without, and they did just fine.

    I see nothing wrong with getting back to that sort of economy.

    • by CQDX (2720013)
      With a car that small you don't need power steering. Really don't need power anything...
    • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:39PM (#41660267) Journal

      You hit the nail there. The fact is an average entry level automobile has luxury car features just 2 decades agol. Power sterring, airbags, remote lock, alarm, and power Windows were only available for BMWs and Cadillacs etc. Now even the crappy Ford Fiesta has all of the above.

      Americans just spend too much money on cars as the prices keep going up. The average ok car is like $23,000 (Civic, camry, Focus). The problem is the average median wage is only $28,800! (I said median and not average which doesn't include billionaires).

      This means people spend a whole years of their salary on a car just to get to work! It is even worse in the south where people buy $46,000 trucks and SUVs yet make only $13 an hour and wonder why they live paycheck to paycheck??

      Anyway this car is great for college students and poor folks or those who are sensible and do not want to see half their paycheck just go to get to work in order to look cool to their neighbors.

      • by timeOday (582209) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:49PM (#41660411)
        In 1990 the number of deaths per mile driven was 30 percent higher [wordpress.com] than it is now.
      • by houghi (78078)

        Anyway this car is great for college students and poor folks or those who are sensible and do not want to see half their paycheck just go to get to work in order to look cool to their neighbors.

        That seems to be the general idea here,. However that will lead people to believe that those who drive it are poor. That will lead to less people buying it.

        What you should look at is that it also can be a great second car. Cheap to use, so you can buy an even bigger TV or pay off your first car.

        It can be a great car

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        This means people spend a whole years of their salary on a car just to get to work! It is even worse in the south where people buy $46,000 trucks and SUVs yet make only $13 an hour and wonder why they live paycheck to paycheck??

        You seem to think that people in the south are the ones buying the majority of SUVs and Trucks for some reason? Are you insinuating that the southerners are stupider with their money than Northerners for some reason?

        Funny...from what I've observed, living beyond your means....runs

    • In a light vehicle with narrow tires power steering isn't needed. The first car I drove was a Geo Metro lsi convertible with the 3 cylinder 1L engine that didn't have power steering. I had no problem turning the steering wheel and it only requires only slightly more effort than vehicles with power steering, but then you couldn't turn the steering wheel with your pinky.
    • by berashith (222128) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:41PM (#41660295)

      ABS is pretty much needed now. When every other car around you can stop very quickly in an emergency situation, you are very likely to crash if your stopping distance is longer than everyone else's. Even being lightweight, the tires are going to be thin and not stop as quickly as will be needed. I resisted ABS as long as I could, and had many close calls where a car in front of me was stopping without looking like they were giving a lot of thought or effort, and I was doing all I could to avoid them.

      • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:47PM (#41660391) Homepage

        When every other car around you can stop very quickly in an emergency situation, you are very likely to crash if your stopping distance is longer than everyone else's

        Only if you insist on driving right up the guy in front's arse.

      • by Nkwe (604125) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:51PM (#41660449)

        ABS is pretty much needed now. When every other car around you can stop very quickly in an emergency situation, you are very likely to crash if your stopping distance is longer than everyone else's. [...] I resisted ABS as long as I could, and had many close calls where a car in front of me was stopping without looking like they were giving a lot of thought or effort, and I was doing all I could to avoid them.

        If the car in front of you stops without warning and you are at risk of rear ending it, then you are following too closely. It is your job as a driver to know your stopping distance for the current driving conditions (car, road, weather, etc.) and maintain appropriate following distance.

        If you like to tailgate, I suppose you could argue that you need ABS, but I would recommend not tailgating instead.

        That all being said, I like ABS and choose to drive a car with ABS, but I don't think it should be required on all cars.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If the car in front of you stops without warning and you are at risk of rear ending it, then you are following too closely.

          Absolutely right! Because distracted and/or unsafe drivers never, ever cut you off and then suddenly slow down or slam on their brakes.

          • hit your brakes to give them room.

            Studies show that ABS brakes do NOT reduce accident rates, but electronic traction control does. (It's more complicated and expensive though.)

        • by chill (34294) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:19PM (#41660827) Journal

          Not possible.

          If I don't "tailgate" while commuting to/from work on the Interstate someone will simply change lanes in front of me and magically I'll be tailgating again.

          I have found this to be true in every major city I have commuted by auto in: Washington, DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Dallas and Seattle.

          A space of more than about a car length between me and the car in front of me is an invitation for someone to dangerously merge.

          • by jabberw0k (62554) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:02PM (#41661507) Homepage Journal
            You need to leave even more space. Two seconds behind the car in front of you. And if he is tail-gating, his two seconds; and if the car in front of him is tail-gating, another two seconds again. Once you leave that six seconds in front of you, not enough cars can pass you to fill the space, so you can easily keep a five or six second gap. Try it. Works for me, has for decades.
        • by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:24PM (#41660907) Homepage

          It is your job as a driver to know your stopping distance for the current driving conditions (car, road, weather, etc.) and maintain appropriate following distance.

          In theory, yes. In reality, no.

          The reason this doesn't work is because if you leave enough following distance in front of you, then another car who does not respect following distance will move into that space. So you have to slow down to get your following distance back. Then the process repeats. Following distance only works if all cars respect it. In reality, people go 60mph with 1 car length between each other.

      • by ehud42 (314607) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:57PM (#41660535) Homepage

        Just to be pedantic - in most situations, ABS will NOT decrease your stopping distance, in fact, by definition not locking your tires reduces friction and actually increases stopping distances. What ABS does do, is enable you to stear around objects, etc while slowing down - which you cannot do if your tires are locked.

        Power steering is actually a safety hazard - if you engine fails you will quickly lose the ability to safely steer the vehicle - especially if you are applying the brakes.

        • by rwa2 (4391) *

          Parent should be modded up.

          ABS allows you to brake hard but maintain some steering control. Otherwise, you'll just keep sliding straight forward into some obstacle you're trying to avoid, or spin out if you hit the brakes in the middle of a curve, maybe into oncoming traffic.

          I have heard that ABS increases straight-line braking distance... but I think that varies somewhat. rubber tires on various road surfaces don't exactly follow the static / kinetic friction coefficient you learned in physics, plus I sup

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Have the right tires on your vehicle and stop tailgaiting and you find you don't need ABS.

        winter snow and ice? Ride on snow tires and leave more of a gap. Raining? more gap... driving safer eliminates a lot of need for automatic safety gear.

      • by Chickan (1070300) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:22PM (#41660861)
        ABS can actually increase stopping distance. ABS just prevents the brakes from locking up the wheels so you can still steer and dodge things. Without ABS you slam on the brakes, the wheels lock up, and you slide like you are on ice - no control at all. With ABS you slam on the brakes, the ABS system senses a wheel starting to lock up, and actually releases the brakes a bit to prevent it - so you still get control, but stopping distance may increase.
    • by AuMatar (183847)

      Because we don't have to. The addition of these features is a minor percentage of the cost, probably saves more than it costs in terms of serious injury medical costs, and saves lives in addition.

      And really, ABS not a safety feature? In the 2/3 of the US where it snows, it's probably a more important safety feature than the seatbelt. In Chicago as early as 96, I was taught drivers ed assuming that every car I'd ever used would have it, because it was that fucking common. I doubt even 25% of the populati

      • by gv250 (897841)

        In Chicago as early as 96, I was taught drivers ed assuming that every car I'd ever used would have it, because it was that fucking common. I doubt even 25% of the population knows how to use non-ABS breaks.

        I learned to drive in Illinois in 1979. I doubt 25% of the population then knew how to use non-ABS brakes.

    • Power Steering is only needed on cars that are Front Wheel Drive, because they are so nose-heavy. Even then the Geo-series of Suzuki-made el-cheapo cars came without power steering and handled well, and they were front wheel drive.

      The Tata Nano on the other hand, really doesn't need power steering because the car itself is very light and the engine is in the rear, making the nose of the car very light and easy to turn the wheel.

  • “The Smart and the Fiat 500 have high sticker prices, and people buy them because they are small cars,”

    Fiat, maybe, but people aren't buying Smart cars because they want a tiny car. Smart cars are small because that's what the technology required for electric cars at the time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aguazul2 (2591049)
      <<Smart cars are small because that's what the technology required for electric cars at the time.>> Complete nonsense -- Smart started out as a petrol car. (By 'petrol' I mean the gas that is a liquid -- for those in the US)
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:06PM (#41660643) Homepage

      Smart cars are designed to make parking easy in European cities. That's it. That's the design goal. That's why they're as long as a normal car is wide.

      I live in Spain. Most of the Smart Cars I see driving around here are company cars with logos on them. Sales reps, that sort of thing. Very few people buy them for themselves, they're way overpriced for what they are.

      I've driven one and I wouldn't buy one even if they were cheaper. They drive OK but the suspension's awful for something that's supposed to be a city car.

  • Cheap = shit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:42PM (#41660311) Homepage

    The reason it's cheap is because it's shit. Not just performance wise, this thing is made of incredibly thin sheets of metal that buckle when you apply slight pressure to them with your hand. It is basically a very slightly less unsafe scooter, or possible more unsafe because at least scooter riders realize how vulnerable they are and sometimes wear a helmet.

    • Look at the price?

      So for $4,000 you have two choices. A brand new tiny car like this that is cheap but 0 miles? Or a car with $100k+ miles on it that is higher quality but needs a new timing belt, battery, shocks, etc and the usual stuff immediately done or in the next year or two.

      For a computer analogy it is like bashing the IPAD as it is not good as powerMac Xenon workstation. :-0

    • The more of these that hit the streets the safer it'll be, SUV vs Nano = not so good. Nano vs Nano = fender bender.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      ...unlike all those plastiky American cars. Have you pressed on the rear end of a Corvette recently?

    • Re:Cheap = shit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by blue_teeth (83171) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:55PM (#41661411)
      Hola, Hello,

      I presume Sir, you own & drive (fully paid) a Mercedes Benz G-Class SUV.  Else, you are just acting like a silly woman bragging on handbags.

      I am in India and drive a large Japanese SUV.  Even I was curious on these Tata Nano contraptions.  Drove one out of curiosity.  It feels and drives like a car.  In urban traffic, it is perfectly capable of moving 4 normal sized adult individuals.  I repeat urban India.  Unless someone is driving a military tank, I do not see a Tata Nano getting totalled.  It's a small car capable of transporting 4 normal size people in a civilized way.

      PS:  I am still interested in your theory: Expensive = Golden Shit

      BT
  • That's $9000 in 2015 dollars.

    The VW Beetle came to the US, if memory serves, at $1666 in 1960s dollars.

  • Not news really... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tekrat (242117) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:49PM (#41660421) Homepage Journal

    I heard several years ago that Tata was planning to bring the car to Europe and the US with a bigger engine and safety equipment and the price would be around $8000.

    The problem with that is: Nissan has figured out how to do that as well. And they have a dealership network. The Nissan Versa (base price) is about $10,000 -- and I'm sure they could figure out how to make it even cheaper if they were in a race to the bottom. But they aren't. You get a Japanese-quality vehicle for not a lot of money and it'll go on the highway.

    Basically, Tata needs to figure out how to get the Nano down to a $6000 pricetag for people to even consider it versus the Versa.

    In 2 or 3 years, the Chinese are coming: Their cars are cheap and unsafe, but priced so low that people will buy them anyhow. It will start a race to the bottom, but right now, Nissan has the lead because their car is a good value for the money, and a known name brand.

    • by vlm (69642)

      In 2 or 3 years, the Chinese are coming:

      I've been hearing that for about 10 years. I think Government Motors will easily pay enough to prevent it.

  • So, why not just ditch all the safety features? Nobody will be buying those things for safety anyway. Just call it a motorcycle with four wheels and an enclosure. Just require it to conform to motorcycle safety levels.

    • So, why not just ditch all the safety features?

      Because it is illegal to do so without completely rewriting the laws in the US and the laws aren't going to change to accommodate this vehicle. For various reasons automobiles sold in the US are required to have certain safety features and if the Nano lacks these features it will not be allowed into the country. While I agree that motorcycles are plenty dangerous, they also are popular. The Tata Nano will not be popular. Might not be terribly logical from a safety standpoint but the safety feature requi

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:57PM (#41660527) Homepage

    a $9,995.99 Tata car is coming to the US. and when it's all done I'm betting it's $15,995.95

  • Promoter (Score:2, Funny)

    by cstacy (534252)
    It's a TATA box?
  • I don't know if the Tata is the right way to go, but I do think there is a market for commuter car that's small and safe enough for surface roads, may be prohibited on highways (like a moped) but is enclosed and heated. I think there are plenty of in-town commuters who would opt for such a high mileage vehicle if it were done well enough and still stay cheap.

  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:28PM (#41660963) Homepage

    there's a strange fact that people have missed, here: in France, Category L7e cars (350kg, under 20HP) actually have *less* accidents, and so the insurance is lower. the reason why, i believe, is that these cars are so underpowered and, despite passing crash tests with flying colours they "look" unsafe, that both the drivers themselves and also other road users treat them with much more caution.

    if, for example, you have a large vehicle that can do 0-60 in 9 seconds, and you are behind a small vehicle that can do 0-60 in 30, the rate of acceleration is so much what you are not used to that you would immediately realise, just from the look of the other car, that the driver in front of you is not "putting it on": his car *really* can't accelerate any quicker. automatically, you've just adjusted, slowed down, and will now be paying attention.

    increased attention means increased awareness. increased awareness means less accidents.

    so, far from being "unsafer", these Category L7e "micro-cars", apart from having insane fuel economy (100mpg is not uncommon) actually create a "sea of cautious respect" around them. this could be so much horse-shit speculation, but the insurance statistics speak for themselves.

  • by cvtan (752695) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:53PM (#41662231)
    It will be a below $10000 Nano made for the US, but not $3000.
    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20121015/CARNEWS/121019906 [autoweek.com]

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