Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

$3,000 Tata Nano Car Coming To US

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the getting-small dept.

Transportation 658

walterbyrd writes "The Nano is currently powered by a 37 hp two-cylinder engine and lacks common safety features such as power steering, traction control and airbags. It was originally designed to compete in the Indian market against scooters and motorcycles. . . Along with added safety equipment, it's likely the car will get a larger, less polluting engine for export markets. Unfortunately, that means the price will increase, as well, possibly tripling by the time it goes on sale in the U.S.."

cancel ×

658 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sorry guys... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660155)

"Only three years away," doesn't make this news again.

Wake me up when one has successfully passed NHTSA crash saftey tests.

If they were smart they'd partner with someone to make the Fiat-500 or the Ford Fiesta air-powered versions. This is a wheel not worth reinventing, to some degree literally.

Re:Sorry guys... (5, Insightful)

trdrstv (986999) | about 2 years ago | (#41660349)

Wake me up when one has successfully passed NHTSA crash saftey tests.

If they were smart they'd partner with someone to make the Fiat-500 or the Ford Fiesta air-powered versions. This is a wheel not worth reinventing, to some degree literally.

If they were smart they'd redesign it to only have 3 wheels (2 in the front, 1 in the back). In the US it would qualify as a motorcycle and not need to pass any of the NHTSA crash saftey tests.

Re:Sorry guys... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41660483)

Thus guaranteeing zero sales...

Re:Sorry guys... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41660515)

If they were smart they'd redesign it to only have 3 wheels (2 in the front, 1 in the back). In the US it would qualify as a motorcycle and not need to pass any of the NHTSA crash saftey tests.

Motorcycle...hell, this thing doesn't sound like it has the power of a 2 door Vespa scooter?!!?

What highway are you going to allow this thing on? Top speed is what...40mph or so? 0-60mph in 1.5 minutes?

I know gas mileage is important to some people out there on a budget.....but man, you'll get run over on most roadways here if you try putting around in a 37HP car? Sounds more like a go-cart than a car....

Re:Sorry guys... (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41660651)

Bombardier/Skidoo [brp.com] already makes something like this. The problem is that their version costs $18,000 for the cheapest model. If you could make one for $3000, I suspect that quite a few people would be interested in them. The Bombardier one has a 998 cc engine. You could make something suitable for booting around town in with something as small as as 250 cc engine.

Re:Sorry guys... (1)

BooMonster (110656) | about 2 years ago | (#41660417)

Air, like hydrogen and lead-acid batteries, is a storage medium, not a power source.

What they should do is get it just powerful enough to absorb the extra weight and inefficiency of the emissions control systems and crash-proofing needed to get the OK to sell in the USA.

Sell it with manual everything, and offer lots of optional upgrades. I would pay for ABS and an auxiliary jack. My buddy would pay for built-in touchscreen infotainment systems, and a sunroof option.

Lots of money to be made.

APPLE NANO CAR ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660157)

Sign me up !!

Re:APPLE NANO CAR ?? (1)

Ashbory (781835) | about 2 years ago | (#41660235)

no windshield!

Re:APPLE NANO CAR ?? (1)

Albio (854216) | about 2 years ago | (#41660325)

Means no need for a defogging system!

Good (5, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41660159)

Poor people could use a new car. Too many who are making $17,000 a year working 2 jobs end up with cars that cost 50% of their paycheck just in maintaince and have to go hungry half the time if something goes wrong.

There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660293)

Poor people could use a new car. Too many who are making $17,000 a year working 2 jobs end up with cars that cost 50% of their paycheck just in maintaince and have to go hungry half the time if something goes wrong.

There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

There used to be this option known as "buying a used car," but the Lords here in the USA have ensured there is no supply of used cars in reach of their serfs^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpoor people's spending power.

The Lords' program was called "Cash for Clunkers," and it took ~700,000 used cars off the market by literally destroying the engines intentionally (by pouring some powder directly into the engine and running it until died).

Re:Good (1, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41660531)

It's not just the buying, it's the fuel/insurance/repairs. Trying to keep a ten-year-old all-American auto on the road is a money pit.

For the same price as a second hand car they could have something they can actually afford to run.

Re:Good (2)

Applekid (993327) | about 2 years ago | (#41660583)

While you would come out ahead over years of use, when you live paycheck to paycheck, digging deeper for higher upfront costs is an impossibility.

See rent-to-own furniture versus buying outright.

Re:Good (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | about 2 years ago | (#41660661)

It's not just the buying, it's the fuel/insurance/repairs. Trying to keep a ten-year-old all-American auto on the road is a money pit.
For the same price as a second hand car they could have something they can actually afford to run.

My car is 10 years old. It runs well but costs ~$300 a year to keep running, which is far cheaper than the annual cost of buying or leasing a new car. Not to mention cheaper insurance compared to a new vehicle. It gets ~24 MPG which isn't stellar but keeps me far below the tradeoff point where a car payment for something more efficient is cheaper than fuel costs.

Waiving your arms and claiming new is better is no substitute for a reasonable total cost of ownership analysis.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660739)

My truck is 14 years old and costs me no more to run than a new car would. You still have to do oil and filter changes on a new car.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about 2 years ago | (#41660601)

Poor people could use a new car. Too many who are making $17,000 a year working 2 jobs end up with cars that cost 50% of their paycheck just in maintaince and have to go hungry half the time if something goes wrong.

There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

There used to be this option known as "buying a used car," but the Lords here in the USA have ensured there is no supply of used cars in reach of their serfs^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpoor people's spending power.

The Lords' program was called "Cash for Clunkers," and it took ~700,000 used cars off the market by literally destroying the engines intentionally (by pouring some powder directly into the engine and running it until died).

Your unsupportable political opinion aside, there are still more than enough used cars out there. The problem is not a lack of used cars, the problem is a consumption-driven culture that goes out of its way to teach people who most need to be responsible with their money to be irresponsible with their money.

Re:Good (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41660713)

Your unsupportable political opinion aside, there are still more than enough used cars out there. The problem is not a lack of used cars, the problem is a consumption-driven culture that goes out of its way to teach people who most need to be responsible with their money to be irresponsible with their money.

So....poor people are overly easily influenced, and can't think for themselves....

Poor poor people.....

:(

And actually, after the cash for clunkers fiasco....there was a dip in used cars...and what remained...became more expensive. It did create an artificial *gap*.....not to mention that it seems fundamentally wrong in the US...for some tax payers to subsidize other citizens' car purchases...

Re:Good (0)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41660719)

Unsupportable? Really? The US Federal Government did not institute a program that bought and destroyed used cars? The market price of a used car did not skyrocket immediately? Dude, you really need to pull your head out of the big O and get some fresh air.

Re:Good (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#41660729)

I got a chuckle out of the cash for clunkers program as people were bringing in vehicles nicer than my junk truck at the time (88 Ford Bronco II) to have them destroyed and getting something new that I am sure they had to get a loan on. I could have dumped off my Bronco II but then I would of had to get a loan for a new truck or suv that I only use a limited amount but beat on when I am using it.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41660759)

What a load of nonsense. There are plenty of used cars to be had. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , there are around 200 million passenger cars registered in the US. And that doesn't include the 8 million motorcycles and 40 million light trucks.

So, around 0.3% of them were destroyed, and you're gonna spout some conspiracy nonsense about evil Islamo-Commie Obama making it impossible for poor people to find used cars?

I don't know where you got that crap from, but you need to stop listening to that source. They're poisoning you with lies.

Re:Good (-1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41660353)

Why was I modded down?

If you hate tiny cheap cars do not buy them. My point is if you are poor a $4,500 car brand new is a great deal! Compared to a car with 100k miles on it. If you are not broke then this would not appeal to you.

Re:Good (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#41660369)

This still wouldn't fill their needs. People making $17k a year in the US won't be able to buy a new vehicle. You can find good used vehicles, even ones that are well under $5k but you will end up sacrificing looks. I paid $2k for my jeep and all I have done to that in the past year of ownership was change all the fluids, filters, spark plugs, plug wires, cap, and rotor (cost about $120 and an afternoon of work) and I did all that the day after I bought it.

Re:Good (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41660429)

You can get a loan. For $4,250 you get a brand new car and in a 5 year loan it is not too bad. Sure it probably wont last as long as your jeep but it does have great gas milliage. I have been burned by used cars before. This would be great for highschoolers and college kids too. Just something simple.

Re:Good (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#41660637)

I still think a good used car is a better, but it seems that people don't do enough initial investigation into their vehicle purchase. People never bother to check it out mechanically and put a vehicle through its paces before they buy it. I have decided to not buy a lot of nice looking used vehicles because they had mechanical issues that only showed up on closer inspection and a bit of pushing to the limit. Do some hard accelerations (floor it) and some hard stops (stand on the brake pedal), take it on a clover leaf at higher speeds, smell the exhaust, smell the crank case vapors after driving, check the coolant quality, squeeze hoses, etc. My Jeep is a high mileage vehicle (374,XXX miles on it) and is dead simple, 5 speed manual, armstrong windows, manual 4WD selection. Granted it does have a fair amount of rust and the paint is shit but mechanically it is sound and this past weekend it went out for a 500 mile hunting trip where it got taken down something that Lyon county called a road but was in worse shape than some atv trails I have taken it down.

Re:Good (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41660611)

There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

Err.....how are the poor in Europe more fortunate that here in the US? And please..something other than the socialized health care. I mean..we are talking cars here.

Re:Good (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660673)

They get subsidized by the government, get rent controlled housing, minimium wage is higher, etc.

Oh and they get public transportation too and do not need to spend 50% of their paycheck just to show up to work.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660733)

Poor people could use a new car. Too many who are making $17,000 a year working 2 jobs end up with cars that cost 50% of their paycheck just in maintaince and have to go hungry half the time if something goes wrong.

There are many walmart workers where this would be perfect and are not fortunate like the poor in Europe or other first world countries.

Nope, nothing doing. If this car isn't clearly a replacement for^W^W SHINING REPRESENTATION OF MY GLORIOUS MANHOOD, then it's a useless vehicle. Geez, I can't pick up chicks with that! What do they teach you cars are FOR, anyway?

Power steering isn't a safety feature. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660163)

As recently as the 90s, power steering was still an option on many Saturns, for instance. Traction control was brand new and not even offered, and ABS brakes were a luxury that many did without, and they did just fine.

I see nothing wrong with getting back to that sort of economy.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660215)

I second that. When you drive a lightweight car, power steering is a luxury. Problem is most a'muhricans don't understand "lightweight car" and "luxury".

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1, Troll)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#41660455)

People with families don't like smaller cars in part because they're less safe in an accident. A tiny Euro Smart Car gets great MPG but it's nearly unsurvivable in a serious collision.

When you're single you throw things in the back seat. When you have kids suddenly the trunk space matters.

If you're going on a road trip and the kids have a back seat the size of a postage stamp it's going to suck.

I can spell American just fine. Why can't you?

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660489)

"A tiny Euro Smart Car gets great MPG but it's nearly unsurvivable in a serious collision."

Citation needed. Crash tests I've seen for Smarts show that they are quite survivable.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41660757)

Doesn't matter- nobody reads the tests. They go on gut feelings- and gut feelings say a tiny little car hit by an SUV is going to go splat.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660671)

I have to call BS on that. I live in Texas, and the most common cars on the roads are Mazda 3s, Kia Souls, low-end VWs, Hyndai Accents, and maybe a Ford Fiesta or two. Even Hondas are becoming less common.

For the rest of the US that isn't LA, the days of the SUV are long past. Saying that people in the US still drive those is exactly like saying that all Germans still drive Trabents.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (2)

CQDX (2720013) | about 2 years ago | (#41660237)

With a car that small you don't need power steering. Really don't need power anything...

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660339)

You DO need ballast. There are other smaller cars before this one, gas powered, like the Matiz or Tico, never drove one, but as a passenger I saw first hand how freaky it handles in a strong wind.

OTOH it would make parking easier. For the other people, not the Nano owners, since, you don't need lots of strength to flip it off your parking space. Hmm, actually I imagine people might do this for fun. I know I would.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

dleewo (80434) | about 2 years ago | (#41660561)

Hmm, actually I imagine people might do this for fun. I know I would.

Really? Do you go around tipping over motorcycles for fun?

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 2 years ago | (#41660709)

Well, Harley riders tend to be a bit on the big-mean Hell's Angel's side of things. And crotch-rocket riders tend to be the aggressive suicidal type. Someone who buys a motorized shopping cart isn't going to instill that sense of someone who shouldn't be messed with.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (5, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41660267)

You hit the nail there. The fact is an average entry level automobile has luxury car features just 2 decades agol. Power sterring, airbags, remote lock, alarm, and power Windows were only available for BMWs and Cadillacs etc. Now even the crappy Ford Fiesta has all of the above.

Americans just spend too much money on cars as the prices keep going up. The average ok car is like $23,000 (Civic, camry, Focus). The problem is the average median wage is only $28,800! (I said median and not average which doesn't include billionaires).

This means people spend a whole years of their salary on a car just to get to work! It is even worse in the south where people buy $46,000 trucks and SUVs yet make only $13 an hour and wonder why they live paycheck to paycheck??

Anyway this car is great for college students and poor folks or those who are sensible and do not want to see half their paycheck just go to get to work in order to look cool to their neighbors.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (5, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41660411)

In 1990 the number of deaths per mile driven was 30 percent higher [wordpress.com] than it is now.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41660491)

Safety regulations such as bars in the doors saved many lives. These are entry level and misses the point.

Just like people used to bash tablets for not having large screens like their laptops missed the point. The point is they are cheap and you can stick them in a purse or bag just like a netbook.

By law they need to include them and in the future when gas runs out these engines will be the new norm for everyone.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41660473)

Anyway this car is great for college students and poor folks or those who are sensible and do not want to see half their paycheck just go to get to work in order to look cool to their neighbors.

That seems to be the general idea here,. However that will lead people to believe that those who drive it are poor. That will lead to less people buying it.

What you should look at is that it also can be a great second car. Cheap to use, so you can buy an even bigger TV or pay off your first car.

It can be a great car just to go to work and back again. Standing still in traffic is not something you need a huge car for. I know that many people will find excuses as to why it won't be for them, but that is just an excuse for themselves to get a larger car.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41660665)

This means people spend a whole years of their salary on a car just to get to work! It is even worse in the south where people buy $46,000 trucks and SUVs yet make only $13 an hour and wonder why they live paycheck to paycheck??

You seem to think that people in the south are the ones buying the majority of SUVs and Trucks for some reason? Are you insinuating that the southerners are stupider with their money than Northerners for some reason?

Funny...from what I've observed, living beyond your means....runs rampant throughout the whole USA...

And in my travels, I've seen no shortage of SUVs and pickup trucks anywhere in the US....so, not sure why you're trying to single out the southern part of the US.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#41660269)

In a light vehicle with narrow tires power steering isn't needed. The first car I drove was a Geo Metro lsi convertible with the 3 cylinder 1L engine that didn't have power steering. I had no problem turning the steering wheel and it only requires only slightly more effort than vehicles with power steering, but then you couldn't turn the steering wheel with your pinky.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (3, Interesting)

berashith (222128) | about 2 years ago | (#41660295)

ABS is pretty much needed now. When every other car around you can stop very quickly in an emergency situation, you are very likely to crash if your stopping distance is longer than everyone else's. Even being lightweight, the tires are going to be thin and not stop as quickly as will be needed. I resisted ABS as long as I could, and had many close calls where a car in front of me was stopping without looking like they were giving a lot of thought or effort, and I was doing all I could to avoid them.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (5, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41660391)

When every other car around you can stop very quickly in an emergency situation, you are very likely to crash if your stopping distance is longer than everyone else's

Only if you insist on driving right up the guy in front's arse.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

tgd (2822) | about 2 years ago | (#41660613)

Only if you insist on driving right up the guy in front's arse.

Oh, another popular topic with the political flamewars!

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

hippo (107522) | about 2 years ago | (#41660619)

and you won't be in this car.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | about 2 years ago | (#41660631)

That's true, but if you leave the larger gap you need between you and the car in front, a lot of times, another car will just zip into that gap, making the situation even more dangerous for a time.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41660657)

So lift off the throttle a little for a moment, let the gap open up a bit, and resume your previous speed. It's not hard.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660687)

And when you're safely in your assured clear distance zone and someone flies up on your ass, swerves, and cut sin front of you causing you to slam on your breaks?

It is the nature of accidents to happen on accident, most of the time when at least one of the parties involved was doing nothing wrong.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (4, Insightful)

Nkwe (604125) | about 2 years ago | (#41660449)

ABS is pretty much needed now. When every other car around you can stop very quickly in an emergency situation, you are very likely to crash if your stopping distance is longer than everyone else's. [...] I resisted ABS as long as I could, and had many close calls where a car in front of me was stopping without looking like they were giving a lot of thought or effort, and I was doing all I could to avoid them.

If the car in front of you stops without warning and you are at risk of rear ending it, then you are following too closely. It is your job as a driver to know your stopping distance for the current driving conditions (car, road, weather, etc.) and maintain appropriate following distance.

If you like to tailgate, I suppose you could argue that you need ABS, but I would recommend not tailgating instead.

That all being said, I like ABS and choose to drive a car with ABS, but I don't think it should be required on all cars.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660595)

If the car in front of you stops without warning and you are at risk of rear ending it, then you are following too closely.

Absolutely right! Because distracted and/or unsafe drivers never, ever cut you off and then suddenly slow down or slam on their brakes.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (4, Informative)

ehud42 (314607) | about 2 years ago | (#41660535)

Just to be pedantic - in most situations, ABS will NOT decrease your stopping distance, in fact, by definition not locking your tires reduces friction and actually increases stopping distances. What ABS does do, is enable you to stear around objects, etc while slowing down - which you cannot do if your tires are locked.

Power steering is actually a safety hazard - if you engine fails you will quickly lose the ability to safely steer the vehicle - especially if you are applying the brakes.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41660653)

Have the right tires on your vehicle and stop tailgaiting and you find you don't need ABS.

winter snow and ice? Ride on snow tires and leave more of a gap. Raining? more gap... driving safer eliminates a lot of need for automatic safety gear.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41660469)

Because we don't have to. The addition of these features is a minor percentage of the cost, probably saves more than it costs in terms of serious injury medical costs, and saves lives in addition.

And really, ABS not a safety feature? In the 2/3 of the US where it snows, it's probably a more important safety feature than the seatbelt. In Chicago as early as 96, I was taught drivers ed assuming that every car I'd ever used would have it, because it was that fucking common. I doubt even 25% of the population knows how to use non-ABS breaks. Even those of us who do would probably blank out in an emergency- when I had the breaks totally fail on my car a few years ago my thought was to break harder, not to pump the break.

Power steering isn't as important, but easier steering allows for faster reactions in an emergency. It most definitely is a safety feature. And I sure as hell don't want to share the road with a new car without it- even if the car I buy has it, their car not having it increases my risk of an accident.

Technology moves forward. As things become cheaper and as we get better ideas to improve safety, things that were previously considered too expensive to mandate become cheap enough to require them, and everyone becomes safer. This is called progress, and its a damn good thing.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41660593)

"And really, ABS not a safety feature? In the 2/3 of the US where it snows, it's probably a more important safety feature than the seat belt." Only for idiots that cant drive. ABS is not safety equipment to those of us that actually know how to drive a car. There is a reason why Professional drivers dont have it in their race cars.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (3, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41660705)

Bullshit. I'll bet you 1K that you can't stop on an icy road within 10% of the distance ABS can with 95% confidence. A human being is just not capable of making that judegement fast enough, and it doesn't have the sensors to tell the small differences the car can in traction. The very fact you think you can means that you're completely fucking incompetent as a driver.

The reason race cars don't have it is that races are canceled if the conditions out are going to be unsafe. They don't have races in sub-optimal conditions, so special safety equipment for it is unneccessary. In the real world, we can't stop going to work because of ice or rain.

Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (2)

gv250 (897841) | about 2 years ago | (#41660763)

In Chicago as early as 96, I was taught drivers ed assuming that every car I'd ever used would have it, because it was that fucking common. I doubt even 25% of the population knows how to use non-ABS breaks.

I learned to drive in Illinois in 1979. I doubt 25% of the population then knew how to use non-ABS brakes.

Power steering only needed on FWD (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 years ago | (#41660511)

Power Steering is only needed on cars that are Front Wheel Drive, because they are so nose-heavy. Even then the Geo-series of Suzuki-made el-cheapo cars came without power steering and handled well, and they were front wheel drive.

The Tata Nano on the other hand, really doesn't need power steering because the car itself is very light and the engine is in the rear, making the nose of the car very light and easy to turn the wheel.

Stability control is required (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660551)

Federal regs now require stability control, which in turn requires ABS and TCS.

http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2007/04/stability_contr.html [cars.com]

Power steering is a luxury, and not even needed on a car that light. But ABS is a definite safety plus, both for the occupants and everyone else. (Yes, it would be great if everyone was trained in threshold braking and was always alert and ready to employ the technique. It is also an absolutely absurd pipe dream to expect that of two hundred million+ drivers, every day of every week.)

Hyundai Accent (0)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#41660193)

Sounds like it will be the equivalent of a Hyundai Accent [wikipedia.org] but with less power and probably a worse warranty.

Re:Hyundai Accent (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41660289)

Except a decent equiped Hyundai Accent costs $16000! I was just looking at a few last weekend. Too expensive if you ask me for so little car.

This would cost 1/4th the price

Re:Hyundai Accent (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#41660427)

Well given the estimates in the article it would be closer to 1/2 but still wouldn't compare. I didn't know that Hyundai Accents had gone up that much, but if they have the quality that the older ones do they seem to age fairly well even up here in Minnesota where we salt the hell out of the roads every winter.

Re:Hyundai Accent (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41660625)

Since Hyundai bought Kia Hyundai has been the upscale version of Kia, so if you are looking cheap look at Kia.

http://www.kia.com/#/rio [kia.com]

Kia rio starts $13,600

A lack of market knowledge? (1)

Dinghy (2233934) | about 2 years ago | (#41660199)

“The Smart and the Fiat 500 have high sticker prices, and people buy them because they are small cars,”

Fiat, maybe, but people aren't buying Smart cars because they want a tiny car. Smart cars are small because that's what the technology required for electric cars at the time.

That was design, not purchase choice... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41660257)

People aren't buying Smart cars because they want a tiny car. Smart cars are small because that's what the technology required for electric cars at the time.

That is why they are designed that way, but the people I know that own smart cars did buy them because they are quite small (and somewhat because of style). It's not even because of gas prices because the smart car is not especially fuel efficient.

Re:A lack of market knowledge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660279)

The problem with Smart cars (when I looked at buying one) was the ridiculous price. Go online and spec one out. $12k for a car without air conditioning, power steering, or even center console storage is absolutely ludicrous.

Re:A lack of market knowledge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660301)

" In the late 1980s,SMH(makers of theSwatchbrand of watches) CEONicolas Hayekbegan developing an idea for a new car using the same type of manufacturing strategies and personalization features used to popularizeSwatchwatches. He believed that the automotive industry had ignored a sector of potential customers who wanted a small and stylish city car. This idea soon became known as the "Swatchmobile"."

Re:A lack of market knowledge? (3, Informative)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about 2 years ago | (#41660447)

<<Smart cars are small because that's what the technology required for electric cars at the time.>> Complete nonsense -- Smart started out as a petrol car. (By 'petrol' I mean the gas that is a liquid -- for those in the US)

Re:A lack of market knowledge? (4, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41660643)

Smart cars are designed to make parking easy in European cities. That's it. That's the design goal. That's why they're as long as a normal car is wide.

I live in Spain. Most of the Smart Cars I see driving around here are company cars with logos on them. Sales reps, that sort of thing. Very few people buy them for themselves, they're way overpriced for what they are.

I've driven one and I wouldn't buy one even if they were cheaper. They drive OK but the suspension's awful for something that's supposed to be a city car.

37 HP for 10k... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660249)

What a deal!

Cheap = shit (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#41660311)

The reason it's cheap is because it's shit. Not just performance wise, this thing is made of incredibly thin sheets of metal that buckle when you apply slight pressure to them with your hand. It is basically a very slightly less unsafe scooter, or possible more unsafe because at least scooter riders realize how vulnerable they are and sometimes wear a helmet.

Re:Cheap = shit (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41660397)

Look at the price?

So for $4,000 you have two choices. A brand new tiny car like this that is cheap but 0 miles? Or a car with $100k+ miles on it that is higher quality but needs a new timing belt, battery, shocks, etc and the usual stuff immediately done or in the next year or two.

For a computer analogy it is like bashing the IPAD as it is not good as powerMac Xenon workstation. :-0

Re:Cheap = shit (1)

penglust (676005) | about 2 years ago | (#41660499)

That is a total bull shit comparison. The iPad, useless as I find it, will not kill you if you drop it.

Re:Cheap = shit (1)

benzaholic (1862134) | about 2 years ago | (#41660605)

It's admirable of you to shill for Tata so aggressively, but this class of vehicle can only be successful where there is no vibrant used car market.
The changes necessary to make this vehicle acceptable to a sufficient number of buyers in the USA will ruin it's value position.

Even after Cash for Clunkers, we have an awful lot of used cars available here, many of which, believe it or not, have less than 100,000 miles on them.
Given that nearly all cars sold in the US in the last decade or so easily outlast 100,000 miles, there is just not enough space in our market for this.
People may gawk at it, but it will probably cost nearly $6,000 for a model without the amenities we have come to expect, and performance will be at a level that most American buyers (ignorantly) consider to be unsafe.

Re:Cheap = shit (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 years ago | (#41660549)

The more of these that hit the streets the safer it'll be, SUV vs Nano = not so good. Nano vs Nano = fender bender.

Re:Cheap = shit (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41660703)

...unlike all those plastiky American cars. Have you pressed on the rear end of a Corvette recently?

OK, triple the price (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 2 years ago | (#41660315)

That's $9000 in 2015 dollars.

The VW Beetle came to the US, if memory serves, at $1666 in 1960s dollars.

Re:OK, triple the price (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41660363)

Er, TFS probably refers to triple of the original Nano Price point $1000, which is $3000.

Re:OK, triple the price (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41660399)

I take that back. The original Nano price was $2500 (they were shooting for $2000, but couldnt make it), so your calculation is correct.

Re:OK, triple the price (5, Informative)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 years ago | (#41660663)

The VW Beetle came to the US, if memory serves, at $1666 in 1960s dollars.

Inflation Calculator [westegg.com] says "What cost $1666 in 1960 would cost $12476.90 in 2011."

Re:OK, triple the price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660677)

That's $9000 in 2015 dollars.

The VW Beetle came to the US, if memory serves, at $1666 in 1960s dollars.

According to the BLS calculator:

$1666 in 1960 is $12,966.60 in 2012
$1666 in 1965 is $12,184.49 in 2012
$1666 in 1969 is $10,458.08 in 2012,

For the record, a stripped-down 2013 Nissan Versa sedan starts at $11,990. That includes air conditioning, a CD player, six airbags, ABS, and electronic stability control.

Not news really... (3, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 years ago | (#41660421)

I heard several years ago that Tata was planning to bring the car to Europe and the US with a bigger engine and safety equipment and the price would be around $8000.

The problem with that is: Nissan has figured out how to do that as well. And they have a dealership network. The Nissan Versa (base price) is about $10,000 -- and I'm sure they could figure out how to make it even cheaper if they were in a race to the bottom. But they aren't. You get a Japanese-quality vehicle for not a lot of money and it'll go on the highway.

Basically, Tata needs to figure out how to get the Nano down to a $6000 pricetag for people to even consider it versus the Versa.

In 2 or 3 years, the Chinese are coming: Their cars are cheap and unsafe, but priced so low that people will buy them anyhow. It will start a race to the bottom, but right now, Nissan has the lead because their car is a good value for the money, and a known name brand.

Re:Not news really... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41660581)

In 2 or 3 years, the Chinese are coming:

I've been hearing that for about 10 years. I think Government Motors will easily pay enough to prevent it.

Re:Not news really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660685)

>In 2 or 3 years, the Chinese are coming: Their cars are cheap and unsafe, but priced so low that people will buy them anyhow. It will start a race to the bottom, but right now, Nissan has the lead because their car is a good value for the money, and a known name brand.

Yeah, I'm not so sure that cheap chinese cars will be such a hit in the US. Remember the Yugo? I do. A new POS that has poor reliability and safety will meet with little demand. Attempts to meet safety and emissions standards will increase the price. Why not buy a used POS for even less? I think the reasons the nano works in India do not apply here. India doesn't have a robust used car market (for cars americans would want), for one. The streets are much more crowded, necessitating smaller cars, for another (lanes do not apply there so a smaller car really will get you where you're going when a larger car may not). Thirdly, I've been to India and can't imagine a car going 10 years without being totalled in an accident, so that drives up the need for more cheap new cars.

Motorcycles don't have airbags either (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#41660443)

So, why not just ditch all the safety features? Nobody will be buying those things for safety anyway. Just call it a motorcycle with four wheels and an enclosure. Just require it to conform to motorcycle safety levels.

Against the law (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#41660693)

So, why not just ditch all the safety features?

Because it is illegal to do so without completely rewriting the laws in the US and the laws aren't going to change to accommodate this vehicle. For various reasons automobiles sold in the US are required to have certain safety features and if the Nano lacks these features it will not be allowed into the country. While I agree that motorcycles are plenty dangerous, they also are popular. The Tata Nano will not be popular. Might not be terribly logical from a safety standpoint but the safety feature requirements for cars aren't going to go away.

1 Star safety rating (1)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41660459)

In America the safety features usually drive the price up, but for good reason, you probably won't die in an accident. I highly doubt this vehicle would score well on any NTSHA traffic safety test in the states and likely would be rejected by consumers as unsafe.

Re:1 Star safety rating (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41660543)

Yet the Smart Four Two is the SAFEST car on the US roads with a 5 star crash rating for frontal and Side impact. It doesn't stop the uneducated from screaming it's "unsafe".

Re:1 Star safety rating (1)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41660683)

We aren't talking about the Smart Four Two are we? Stop muddying the water and focus on the topic at hand.

Re:1 Star safety rating (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 2 years ago | (#41660745)

Yeah, I don't care what the ratings are, a Semi-Truck vs Smart Car means the Semi is going to win each and every time and Smart car driver is not walking away from that one.

I've seen on Top Gear too where they slam the Smart car into a concrete wall, and while the car remains relatively intact, because there is largely no crumple zone the amount of G's imposed on the occupants means they are going to suffer massive internal organ damage and death.

The only uneducated are the rich smug hipsters driving around in a death trap compared to everyone else on US roads. If everyone had Smart cars, then I would feel safe in them, but when you are racing massive transports and battle ready SUV's on American highways, don't make me laugh calling me uneducated for not driving one.

Good grief (0)

Tyrannicsupremacy (1354431) | about 2 years ago | (#41660493)

I nearly vomit every time I have to see a repulsive little Yaris or Smartcar, now i'm going to be forced to look at these phenomenally hideous pieces of shit too?
I've been praying for years that this disgusting heap would not get imported here, but I guess Nikolaus Otto wasn't listening.

How about calling it a motorcycle? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41660503)

A motorcycle with 4 wheels and a canopy, but a motorcycle nonetheless.

Re:How about calling it a motorcycle? (1)

oic0 (1864384) | about 2 years ago | (#41660575)

Motorcycles in most states are limited to three wheels at most. Once you've got 4, its treated like a car.

Um... No.... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41660527)

a $9,995.99 Tata car is coming to the US. and when it's all done I'm betting it's $15,995.95

Wow the next generation Yugo (1)

penglust (676005) | about 2 years ago | (#41660537)

Wow the next generation Yugo. I know somebody who bought one. It proved again he was cheap as hell and did really stupid things to prove it.

Promoter (1, Funny)

cstacy (534252) | about 2 years ago | (#41660591)

It's a TATA box?

Redesigned for US & Europe's fat asses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660603)

"Ratan Tata told the news outlet that the 10-foot-long car four-door is being redesigned for sales in the U.S. and Europe."

I'm not fucking surprised, we're all becomming fat bastards!

Tata (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660699)

The smart doesn't get that great of fuel mileage. VW beats it in diesel with a ride you can actually fit four people into. most of your other small cars in the US come really close. 10% to 20% less with a bigger vehicle.
the Nano will compete just because this is Merica and damnit, we want it cheap. it doesn't matter if its junk as long as its cheap, we'll buy two just in case.

I don't know if THIS is the right one... (1)

CFD339 (795926) | about 2 years ago | (#41660741)

I don't know if the Tata is the right way to go, but I do think there is a market for commuter car that's small and safe enough for surface roads, may be prohibited on highways (like a moped) but is enclosed and heated. I think there are plenty of in-town commuters who would opt for such a high mileage vehicle if it were done well enough and still stay cheap.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>