This morning India introduced the most anticipated fuel efficient family car ever, the Tata Nano. Priced at just $2,500 USD, the Nano is the world's cheapest car and has been nicknamed, "The People's Car". India is hot right now! First Slumdog at the Oscars now they are cornering the automotive industry. The Smart Car was so 2008.
The four-door Nano is a little over 10 feet long and nearly 5 feet wide. It is powered by a two-cylinder engine in the rear of the car, has 33 horsepower, and is capable of 65 miles an hour. Its four small wheels are at the absolute corners of the car to improve handling. There is a small trunk. Higher level models will cost more and come with air-conditioning; extras like sun visors and radios will be an additional cost. The Nano will go on sale in India later this year with an initial production run of 250,000 a year. Tata says it will offer the Nano in other emerging markets in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa within four years. Supposedly there is an application to own this car and over one million have been filed with an expected delivery rate of 60,000 by late 2009. I wonder if this car will be reserved for lower income households? It would make sense, reserve a more economical car for the people who would benefit the most from it.
In other automotive news, could Swedish giant IKEA actually enter the eco-friendly car market? Many Northern Americans are aware of and love the affordable home goods/furniture solution store, but did you know they already sell flat pack homes to parts of Northern England and Scandinavia? A mysterious yet official-looking French website with an accompanying video appeared today with a countdown to April 1st (an April Fool's joke?) as the unveiling of the LEKO, an environmentally-friendly IKEA-branded concept car. The video claims the LEKO can act as either a coupe or convertible and the car apparently also has the full backing of the World Wildlife Fund France, though it's not clear if that means the WWF is contributing to the LEKO's development or just endorsing it. The official IKEA wesbite has no mention of the LEKO or online instructions for it's easy to follow home assembly!