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Looking At The World's Cheapest Car

Mar 26, 2008
Ratan Tata. You probably do not recognize the name, but this successful business man from India stared the automobile industry dead in the eyes and could have broken numerous molds that have haunted the industry over the past decades. His automobile, officially named the Nano, is the world's least expensive car. At roughly $2,500 dollars each it boasts a roughly 33 horsepower engine and a five seat arrangement that isn't just hard to look at, but also hard to imagine the vehicle can achieve an upwards of 50 miles per gallon. The car was not designed to boast stylish looks or revolutionary technology, but rather the ultimate blend of efficiency to meet the consumer's needs and wants in India. India over the past several years has come to have over 300 million individuals in its middle class, roughly the population of the United States. This enormous middle class is looking for some of the same luxuries as those of western countries and they have been for a while. Tata has been crunching numbers ever since the conception of the vehicle and he is currently projecting sales of nearly one million Nanos each year.

What does this mean for India as a whole? Many believe a great deal of problems. India's road infrastructure is already under enormous pressure and traffic jams in the country make traffic in the United States look minimal. When potentially supplying hundreds of thousands if not millions of the middle class vehicles, it will only place further strain on the system. On more of a global scale, scientists are playing out the worst case scenario of adding even more carbon emissions from a country that normally has kept to itself. Reports that surfaced around 2005 estimated that Indian vehicles released about 219 million tons of carbon dioxide and with the rise of low-cost vehicles and continued economic expansion, that number is expected to reach at least 1,467 million tons around 2030. Many countries are beginning to worry about the global implications the enormous addition of cars will have, while others are supporting India. Many political leaders are keeping to the sidelines with the notion that India has an enormous population and is clearly becoming an economic power that will do what it wants.

On a different note, several countries, including the United States, are analyzing the effects that this small car will have on the economy of India. The United States has had a small but noticeable movement towards smaller cars using less gasoline; however, even though the Nano would most likely not suit American tastes, especially with the lack of a radio, trunk space, and speed, the smaller footprint and higher efficiency of smaller vehicles has benefits that no nation can look over.

It is up to the new Indian market and the new Nano vehicle to show the world what will happen when low income individuals from a relatively under-developed nation have the means to travel and commute just like that of more developed countries around the world. The next time you want to go cheap, remember to reference this article.
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