Join the queue for world's cheapest car
Tuesday 24 March 2009
When it comes to motors, what can you get for £1,300 these days? It may sound like a challenge for Jeremy Clarkson, but yesterday saw the launch of the world's cheapest car – the 100,000-rupee (£1,360) Tata Nano. But the Indian company is unlikely to be able to fulfil the dreams of millions of aspiring motorists just yet; production is six months behind schedule, and it will take more than a year to deliver the first 100,000 models of the "people's 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," said Ratan Tata, the company's chairman, at the launch in Mumbai yesterday. Mr Tata never tires of telling his inspiration for the Nano; watching a family of four perched on the back of a single motor scooter and thinking they deserved something better.
There was a time when the only car to be found amid the bicycles and rickshaws on India's roads was the white Hindustan Ambassador – solid, steady and stately. India's roads today are more cluttered but also more democratic. Smaller cars - Marutis and Hyundais – rub shoulders with SUVs and Jeeps. Ambassadors are now mostly used by politicians and senior officials.
Yet it is not the Tata Nano that represents the biggest threat to the Ambassador's hegemony. In the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks it has been reported that security officials want VIPs to make a switch to armour-protected SUVs. While the Ambassadors may be fine for the tree-lined avenues of south Delhi, experts reckon the SUVs are better equipped to carry the additional 2,000lb protection deemed necessary in these unsettled times.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...