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Lee press-on car
February 3, 2008 5:16 AM   Subscribe

The Tata Nano (pic) is a car that costs less new than the amount I've spent on gas during single car trips, recently announced to the auto market in India. The Chery QQ ^, successful , widely exported, and recognized as the Hostage Taker's Vehicle of Choice by China Car Times, is the runner-up for the world's cheapest car but is still approximately twice as expensive. Yes indeed, the price of gas is not going to come back down. So much for my coast-to-coast road trips.

Forbes magazine's The World's Cheapest Cars (javascript slideshow)
posted by XMLicious (42 comments total)

 
Yes, very impressive of them to make a cheap car for the people, but has anyone seen the background to this company?
posted by opsin at 5:43 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Very logical. Reminds me of the Bubble cars that were popular in Europe when Europe was poor after the war.
posted by jouke at 5:45 AM on February 3, 2008


Interesting connections, guys. Thanks, you've helped me to expand my tag-hoard.
posted by XMLicious at 6:01 AM on February 3, 2008


The Tata is supercool, but for sheer style I much prefer the Ambassador.

Great link re Tata, opsin - i always wondered how they seemed to be in control of every aspect of the indian economy.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:11 AM on February 3, 2008


Aren't second-hand cars still much, much cheaper?
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 6:56 AM on February 3, 2008


Where the hell did you go on your road trip, and why did you drive an RV?
posted by odinsdream at 7:05 AM on February 3, 2008


Unfortunately, throwing tags at this post doesn't make it any more interesting.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:06 AM on February 3, 2008


Is'nt that basically just another Smart Car?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:10 AM on February 3, 2008


Don't you think you've gone a bit too far with the tags? How useful is your "heh, lookit the li'l cars them furriners drive" post going to be to someone searching on the tags "bhopal" and "corporatecrime"?
posted by pracowity at 7:12 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


2nd hand Indian microcars are probably cheaper, but compared to any U.S. second-hand car you might find for under $2500, since the Nano supposedly gets 50mpg any price difference might be made up in gas savings rather quickly.

I went from New England to Seattle to San Diego and back to New England. With detours along the way, obviously.

The tags aren't to make it more interesting; tags are the neurons of the hive mind.

Read opsin's link for the relation to Bhopal.
posted by XMLicious at 7:15 AM on February 3, 2008


Arrgh, sorry for the double comment, the back button got me.

Is'nt that basically just another Smart Car?

your "heh, lookit the li'l cars them furriners drive" post

They might market it as a Smart Car, I don't know.

The thing that I find interesting is that this appears to cut in half the price of the cheapest car in the world, which I assume will greatly increase the number of people in the world who could afford a new car. I'm not pointing that out as some great humanitarian thing, it just seems a notable global standard-of-living change to me.
posted by XMLicious at 7:28 AM on February 3, 2008


Is'nt that basically just another Smart Car?

Not really... at all. It seats four, and it costs nothing. It's more like a cheap Kia, but without pesky US emissions or safety features. And it doesn't go fast.
posted by smackfu at 7:41 AM on February 3, 2008


XMLicious, that's basically how most Indians, if not the entire car industry is looking at it. (Traditionally, lower-middle class families who couldn't afford a four-wheeler would opt for a two-wheeler like a motor-cycle, or even better--a scooter, on which they could carry a heavier load, but this would change the entire dynamics of the market here.) And it already has; people who previously wouldn't have dared to dream of owning a car--are proudly saying that they would buy one of Tata's Nanos as soon as they start rolling off the assembly lines. Kind of reminds me of the Model T. And Ratan Tata, who was all self-congratulatory at the unveiling of the car, couldn't help boast that he had accomplished such a feat ("I'd promised the people that I'd deliver them a car for 100,000 Rupees, and I think one ought to keep his promises). Fuck you Mr. Tata. As opsin's link points out, there's a lot more to this conglomerate than meets the eye. Shame really that us Indians can't help falling over each other to congratulate these murderers.
posted by hadjiboy at 7:47 AM on February 3, 2008


The specs in the press release are interesting too. Two cylinder aluminum engine, same length as a U.S. Mini Cooper Clubman, seems to claim that it emits less pollutants than some Indian motorbikes. It does have some safety features; seat belts, and I assume "crumple zones" includes a collapsible steering column, and other things Ralph Nader would like. And the Forbes article says it "meets Euro IV emission norms."

Thanks for some Indian perspective, hadjiboy.
posted by XMLicious at 8:05 AM on February 3, 2008


Heh, crash test of the Cherry Amulet. Mmm, folds like paper. The Cherry QQ seems to hold up a bit better at least.
posted by pyrex at 8:06 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


tag-hoard .. great - some "web 2.0" companies (like LibraryThing) are selling their tag-hoards for real money, there is a tag-hoard economy. One day, "the leader of Metafilter will unlock the tag-hoard".
posted by stbalbach at 8:09 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


For me, Pyrex hit the nail on the head. I saw a few crash test videos of these small chineese cars before. Even if they do have "crumple zones", I have a feeling I'm about considerabily safter in my Mazda Protege, which gets 3xmpg. A cheap pricetag isn't everything.
posted by mikeo2 at 8:11 AM on February 3, 2008


Yeah, Mr. Tata might offset some of his karma if he could deliver a $2500 solar car that would only emit water. And if it were made out of superstrong recycled plastic, and a convertible.
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:30 AM on February 3, 2008


has a 33 brake horsepower, 624 cubic centimeter, two-cylinder gasoline engine in the rear.

so it's basically a four-seater lawnmower. i had a 1990 dodge prism very similar.

Heh, crash test of the Cherry Amulet. Mmm, folds like paper

time to take the train, then.
posted by mr_book at 8:30 AM on February 3, 2008


There is a certain elegance to the idea that a car that will only be used in crippling traffic has no need for an excessive top speed.
posted by smackfu at 8:35 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have a feeling I'm about considerabily safter in my Mazda Protege, which gets 3xmpg. A cheap pricetag isn't everything.

Or as Marie Antoinette put it, "Let them eat cake." ;^)
posted by XMLicious at 8:41 AM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


pyrex: The Cherry QQ seems to hold up a bit better at least.

No surprise, since the QQ isn't Chery's own design, but a blatant copy of the GM/Daewoo Matiz (this particular tidbit always cracks me up: "Chery even used a camouflaged Matiz car to pass auto tests to acquire authorization from the government over production and sales of QQ.")
posted by Skeptic at 8:48 AM on February 3, 2008


India and China. More wealth. More cars. more worldwide pollution. Less gas worldwide.
No stopping progress.
posted by Postroad at 9:03 AM on February 3, 2008


Oh, I now found out that the Chery Amulet is also a (bad) copy, namely of the old SEAT Toledo. (SEAT, a VW subsidiary, sold its tooling to a Mexican scrapyard, which then sold it on to those nice guys from Chery...who of course didn't bother with anything as mundane as asking VW for the IP rights or technical support which could have avoided their turning a technically ancient, but decent car into a deathtrap.)
posted by Skeptic at 9:09 AM on February 3, 2008


If Mr. Tata's car works as well as the outsourced database work his mega-corp. did for my state government, then I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy

'tis a cute little bugger, though...
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:33 AM on February 3, 2008


First Audi produced the "TT", and now India gives us the "Tata". Personally I'm holding out for the large and luxurious vehicle called the "Bazoom".
posted by Tube at 10:43 AM on February 3, 2008


There's a company in Europe that's planning on giving out free cars and charging for gas.
posted by delmoi at 10:53 AM on February 3, 2008


This is definitely not a "smart car replacement". Compare the above crash tests with this one.

I wish the started selling them sooner, or my sister would have picked one up as it would have been perfect for her to and from college drive she has to do right now.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:16 PM on February 3, 2008


mrzarquon: This is definitely not a "smart car replacement". Compare the above crash tests with this one.

Wow, no kidding. I wouldn't have wanted to be in the smart car, but it's definitely not the guaranteed closed casket funeral that the knock-off appeared to be.

Still, I worry about larger vehicles clipping them off right at the windshield level, and visibility issues with them being too close to the ground.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:34 PM on February 3, 2008


Well, the high hit protection and road visibility is a war of escalation, because as soon as you have your high road view and protection against other people's trailer hitches, you are now the threat to everyone else who doesn't have a tree fucker 4000. You are still aren't protected from getting hit by a semi.

Also, it looks like the sight lines and body height of the car is equal to that of my jetta. And only the occasional jacked up 4x4 f250 causes me to worry (btw, who the hell drives such a vehicle in downtown seattle?).

Another issue I have with the $2500 car is now everyone will be driving gasoline burning cars, granted it may be more efficient than a 2 stroke motorcycle engine, but hopefully it doesn't come at the cost of public transportation and more efficient transportation systems.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:46 PM on February 3, 2008


mrzarquon: Well, the high hit protection and road visibility is a war of escalation, because as soon as you have your high road view and protection against other people's trailer hitches, you are now the threat to everyone else who doesn't have a tree fucker 4000. You are still aren't protected from getting hit by a semi.

Yeah, I know it's a war of escalation, and I hate it, but it still would suck to die because someone else was playing it and I wasn't. Kind of makes me wish I could outfit my car with lances at SUV-driver eye level. Hey, the deterrent effect makes me safer - if you get one through the face, well, you should have been driving a little Toyota with eye-lances like I was.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:52 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a lifelong pedestrian, I fully support the idea of a car against which I'd stand a sporting chance in a fight.
posted by enn at 12:52 PM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


First Audi produced the "TT", and now India gives us the "Tata". Personally I'm holding out for the large and luxurious vehicle called the "Bazoom".

You'll need to buy one of these.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:02 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like tata grandes myself, but that's a personal preference.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:43 PM on February 3, 2008


At the Auto Expo in New Delhi, Ratan Tata drove the Nano, which the company calls the People’s Car

You know who else created a people's car?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:47 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even if they do have "crumple zones", I have a feeling I'm about considerabily safter in my Mazda Protege

No crumple zone could ever be designed to protect against the homicidal maniacs behind the wheels of India's ubiquitous Tata trucks, the juggernauts of the Kaliyuga.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:55 PM on February 3, 2008


Speaking of Indian drivers (YT, previously)
posted by XMLicious at 3:14 PM on February 3, 2008


yeah, tata and chery 'aint no Benz Smart car.
You can expect garbage for your money and you'd spend it more wisely on a 2nd hand car. It took Kia over 10 years to produce a worthy product, don't even start about Chinese and Indian made 'cars', puh-fucking-lease.

Too bad the Smart Roadster isn't going to be seen anymore. Scroll down, RHS photos of the Smart Coupe and Smart Coupe Brabus. Friends of mine sent me photos of the Brabus on the streets in Zurich on their ski trip. dang, that's sweet looking.
The smart.de [Germany] site is more interesting.
posted by alicesshoe at 3:18 PM on February 3, 2008


To clarify, Tata & Chery=garbage.
posted by alicesshoe at 3:23 PM on February 3, 2008


Anyone who compares this to the Smart car doesn't know what they're talking about, frankly. The Tata Nano cuts corners in every possible way to save money. To take just one example, it has a top speed is 75mph, but its wheel bearings are only rated for 45mph. The Smart car has a cage of ultra-high strength steel to keep its passengers safe in a crash, and is backed by German engineering and construction. Which would you feel safer driving in?
posted by Dasein at 6:11 PM on February 3, 2008


India and China. More wealth. More cars. more worldwide pollution. Less gas worldwide.
No stopping progress.
posted by Postroad at 9:03 AM on February 3
Yeah, those uppity brown and yellow people who want the same things that we have, they're going to ruin it for us. Fuck them, we got ours! What's next? Gas too expensive and we'll have to trash our SUVs? No way, this means WAR! Oh, wait..
posted by vivelame at 1:52 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


smackfu writes "It seats four, and it costs nothing. It's more like a cheap Kia, but without pesky US emissions or safety features."

The article claims "it meets Euro IV emission norms and stringent safety standards".

UbuRoivas writes "At the Auto Expo in New Delhi, Ratan Tata drove the Nano, which the company calls the People’s Car

"You know who else created a people's car?"


The similarities are interesting. 33hp to the Type 1's 34. Both rear engined and four passenger. Both have solid steel bodies as a selling point. The original Beetle was larger I think. Both cost about the same as a motorcycle when introduced.

If the safety and emmision claims were true I'd buy one at twice the price.
posted by Mitheral at 11:08 AM on February 4, 2008


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