10 Things You Should Know About the Tata Nano

Here are the facts about the world's cheapest car.

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The Tata Nano (Tata Motors)

The tiny Tata Nano is an Indian car that's been getting huge buzz. But what do consumers need to know about this new four-passenger car - and is it green?

  1. At about $2,000, the Tata Nano is the world's cheapest car.
  2. Naturally, it's a tiny car. The dimensions are nine feet long, five feet wide and about five feet tall, "smaller than a Toyota Yaris," says Wired. It's powered by a 623 cc engine, and is designed to compete with scooters. The top speed the Nano can reach is 65 mph.
  3. The Nano is pretty bare-bones: It has a manual transmission, and no air conditioning, stereo or air bags (they can be purchased as add-ons). It only has a single windshield wiper: "Kind of skimpy for a country with a monsoon season," notes Emily Wax of the Washington Post.
  4. The sale of accessories will make Tata steep profits: According to the Economic Times, the accessories will command a 15-20 percent margin, almost thrice the 5-7 percent margin that is usual in the small-car segment.
  5. Tata hopes to make the car available in the U.S. by 2011 or 2012. However, because of higher emissions and safety standards here, the cars would cost around $4,000.
  6. The Nano is pretty green when it comes to fuel consumption.  The car is certified by the Automotive Research Association of India as getting 56 miles to the gallon. That gives it not only the highest fuel rating of any other Indian petrol-powered car but also the lowest CO2 at 101 gm/km.
  7. This doesn't mean the arrival of the Nano is green, though. Because it is so affordable, many environmentalists fear that it could double the amount of cars on already-crowded indian roads. According to the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, studies already show one person dies every hour in New Delhi from air pollution-related diseases.
  8. However, if people give up their polluting scooters - currently a popular method of transportation in India - for a cleaner Nano, it might not be so bad after all. According to Tata, the Nano pollutes 12 percent less than a typical scooter.
  9. Tata will not be able to keep up with the demand for the Nano. Auto analysts say that production will be limited to just 30,000 to 50,000 cars in the first year because of limited production capacity -- a fraction of the original target of 250,000.The first 100,000 Nanos will be sold at random to anyone who has applied early and put down a deposit.
  10. Tata hopes to eventually release diesel, electric and compressed air-powered versions of the Nano.