It's no Lightning GT
, but you won't have to sell the roof over your head in order to afford it. Tata's Nano, which has been coined the "world's cheapest car" since debuting to high hopes last January, it just about ready to roll off the production line, but it won't be easy to get one. After suffering through months of delays, this tiny vehicle is now scheduled to ship to early buyers in July for around 100,000 rupees apiece, or just under $2,000. Unfortunately, the initial rollout is restricted to India, so Americans, Canadians, Britons, Australians (you get the point), etc. will simply have to sit this one out.
It's stated that "hundreds of thousands are set to queue up to book, including motorbike owners and people who have been using public transport." Sadly, the company will require over a year to deliver the first 100,00 vehicles. In order to combat the fact that demand will far outstrip supply, we're told that the "first 100,000 Nano owners will be randomly picked from bookings made from April 9 and 25, and their prices will be protected."
Chairman Ratan Tata stated: "From the drawing board to its commercial launch, 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. We are at the gates offering a new form of transportation to the people of India, and later I hope other markets as well.
" On that last bit, Tata has already announced plans to launch a European model by 2011, though a North American version doesn't seem as close to reality.
The funny thing is, Tata could absolutely sell these for at least double, if not triple the asking price, but as the company asserts: "This was never conceived as the cheapest car, but as providing transport to those people who never owned a car."