The $2,200 Car

Tata Motors of India released their much anticipated $2,200 car yesterday, with 1m people already on the waiting list. Environmentalists fear that the surge in cars, even tiny ones, will make India's cities more autocentric.
March 25, 2009, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"'At this time, when India is just beginning to motorize, it's absolutely essential that we grow differently and not become as car-centric as the rest of the world,' said Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director of the Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi. 'It's a natural aspiration that people want to own a car, but it's important to offer public transportation options.'"

"Tata said it would hold a lottery starting April 9 for the 1 million applicants vying for the 60,000 or so vehicles expected to be produced in the first year. Those who are selected will be asked to put up a deposit of as much as 80% of the price. Delivery is to start in July.

The Nano is about the size of a Smart Car, which it closely resembles. The four-door vehicle has the smallest footprint and turning radius of any car in India, the company said. At just 10 feet long and less than 5 feet wide, it has a single windshield wiper and gets about 47 miles to the gallon from a two-cylinder engine that is hardly bigger than an outboard motor. With its limited power and top speed of about 65 mph, analysts said, it will be largely limited to city driving."

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Published on Monday, March 23, 2009 in Los Angeles Times
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