Tata nano: cheapest car to challenge the automarket, Technical and Model Specifications
Never mind the Jugaad and Chhakda. As the real Nano prepares to hit the road, what will the world’s cheapest car do to the competition, namely
two-wheelers and new ‘first’ cars, such as the Maruti 800? Not a lot, say industry analysts, but the real loser may interestingly be the used car market.
Tata Group, to create an ultralow-cost car for a new category of Indian consumer: someone who couldn't afford the $5,000 sticker price of what was then the cheapest car on the market and instead drove his family around on a $1,000 motorcycle. And industry watchers and innovation experts soon reported on the engineering and supply-chain breakthroughs behind the car.
Some 14 months later, Tata is set to show off the commercial version of the Nano, the U.S. auto industry is struggling to survive, with General Motors (GM), once the world's biggest carmaker, on the brink of bankruptcy. Look beyond the Nano halo and it's clear that Tata Motors has problems of its own, from the $2.3 billion in debt it took on to purchase Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor (F) last year to the sums sunk into the Nano assembly plant in West Bengal that had to be abandoned. On top of that, there are the Nano competitors in development.
In January, the US navy commissioned its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George H Bush . A week ago the Tata corporation commercially launched its Nano, the world’s cheapest car. Both are marvels of engineering. One is 333m long and cost €4.6 billion, the other is just three metres and retails for around €1,500. The carrier represents a familiar, if failing, past – the Nano our unfamiliar and challenging future.
The history-making small car — an event which many believe will mark the start of a India, but in other emerging markets by making a four-wheeler affordable to millions who could at best buy a two-wheeler. The significance of the event was not lost on the world’s media which turned out in droves to attend the numerous events through the day, intended to mark the formal unveiling of the world’s cheapest car.
It is not just domestic sales that jumped. Exports also increased by more than 18 per cent as demand increased for compact, fuel efficient cars in several countries. These cheap cars, for which India has become a production hub, are becoming popular as the world grapples with a recession.
In fact most global automakers have signaled that they are going ahead with plans to open new factories in India at a time when many of them are facing a serious slump in their home countries.
If the Nano has limited impact on new purchases, it would be because of its initial small production volumes. “The Nano will be available only in limited numbers, around 50,000-60,000 units in the first year. The initial impact will be marginal and can only become significant once Tata enhances supply in the market,” says an industry veteran. But others say there will be no significant change in status quo even after the Nano’s Gujarat plant becomes operational. Pradeep Saxena, senior vice president of the market research firm TNS Automotive, insists that “two-wheelers will continue to maintain their edge on account of their low price and running (costs).”
Addressing a crowded conference, attended by over 300 journalists, including 70 foreign scribes, Mr Tata said: “I feel a great sense of fulfilment today. From the drawing board to its commercial launch, the concept, development and production of the car has overcome several challenges. I hope it will provide safe, affordable, four-wheel transportation to families who till now have not been able to own a car.”
Mr Tata said the Nano launch has marked a milestone in the journey of Tata Motors, while the company’s managing director Ravi Kant indicated that yet another journey is about to begin. Mr Kant said the company might offer “something similar” in the heavy commercial vehicle segment, without divulging further details.
"I also feel that this is become a challenge for the other car makers and you will definitely see that the entry barrier into the car segment will drop significantly. This car for example is cheaper by the next cheapest car by about 30%. So you will see other cars coming up. You will see a new segment growing. You will see many people on the roads today aspiring and getting the cars that they’ve always wanted and of course it will put a pressure on the infrastructure. So that’s going to be the next element to be seen once these cars sell in large numbers as we go ahead in years"; Jayant Davar, Vice President, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), said.
Technical and Model Specifications:
- Following are some details of the 4-door car, available in standard and deluxe versions:
- Length: 3.1 meters
- Height: 1.6 meters
- Width: 1.5 meters
- Engine: Rear-wheel drive, 2-cylinder, 623 cc, multi-point fuel-injection petrol engine, rear mounted. Tata said it is the first time a 2-cylinder gasoline engine is used in a car with single balancer shaft.
- Safety: Has an all sheet-metal body, with crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seat-belts, and rear tailgate glass bonded to the body. Tires are tubeless.
- Environment: Tailpipe emission performance beats current regulatory requirements, and the Nano has a lower overall pollution level than two-wheelers made in India, Tata has said. A high fuel efficiency (20 km/liter) ensures low carbon dioxide emissions. * The Team: In 2003, a four-member team at Tata's Engineering Research Center in Pune city started work on a "very low cost transportation with four wheels" and a price of 100,000 rupees. Helped by the Institute of Development in Automotive Engineering in Italy, the team grew to 500, headed by Girish Wagh.
- Nano Europa: Will launch in some European markets by 2011:
- Length: 3.29 meters; Width: 1.58 meters; Wheelbase: 2.28 meters. Engine: 3-cylinder, all-aluminum MPFI engine with 5-speed automatic transmission and electric power steering. Plus, advanced restraint systems, ABS, ESP and airbags.
More details specifications:
- Tata Nano will initially be available in three models — the Nano (base model), the CX (mid-level model) and LX (top-end model). The cost of the base model will not exceed Rs 1 lakh (ex-factory, Pune). The standard and the deluxe models will be 3.1 meters in length, 1.6 meters in height, and 1.5 meters wide.
- The model will have rear-wheel drive 2-cylinder, 623 cc, multi-point fuel-injection petrol engine, rear mounted. Tata said it is the first time a 2-cylinder gasoline engine is used in a car with single balancer shaft. Initially, only the petrol engine version will be available. The 624-cc two-cylinder petrol engine with a single balancer shaft (to avoid excessive vibrations) will have four valves. It will develop 35 bhp at 5,500 rpm and 4.8 kgm of torque at 3,000 rpm. The car should be able to crack 60 kmph in eight seconds and will have a top speed of 105 kph. The car will be available in BS II and BS III variants.
- The Nano will weigh 600 kg without load. It will have only one spare tyre which can be used to replace only the front tyre as the rear tyre is of different size. In case of puncture, the car can still be driven slowly but it has to be repaired as soon as possible. The car will come with manual transmission with 4 forward and one rear gear.
- Although the Nano’s body and chassis are made of steel and use traditional spot-welding, the bumpers are plastic and are unpainted on base models. Contrary to many reports, no glues or adhesives are used to bond structural components or exterior body panels.
- The scoops on both sides of the Nano are functional. The left-side scoop sends air into the engine. The right-side one directs air around the engine, for cooling.
- The roof has ridges for a reason other than just a stylistic flourish. They add rigidity to what would otherwise be a very wide and flat piece of sheet metal.
- Nano will have a 15 litre fuel tank and is expected to deliver a mileage of slightly over 20kpl. That means a full tank will be able to take you over 300 km. Only the driver’s seat will be adjustable in the base model and the CX model will have air conditioning with a heater. The LX model will have power windows, central locking and fog lamps and will come fully loaded. The car will come with a warranty of 18 months or 24,000 km.
- Booking forms for Tata Nano will be available only for 14 days at SBI, Westside, Croma stores and, of course 400-odd Tata Motors dealerships. The company also intends to establish Nano as a brand itself. It intends to launch Nano merchandise, including Nano phones and watches which will be marketed through various retail outlets.
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