A pocket-sized car for pocket change?
It could soon be a reality for American drivers, but they’ll still need pretty big pockets.
The chairman of Indian automaker Tata has announced that he plans to bring the $3,000 Nano micro car to the United States within three years, according to Automotive News.
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.
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 here.
“The Smart and the Fiat 500 have high sticker prices, and people buy them because they are small cars,” Tata told Automotive News. “But everyone knows you put a lot of money into it. We hope that the sub-$10,000 car has appeal.”
The much larger Mexican-made Nissan Versa is currently the cheapest car on sale in the U.S., with a starting price $12,770.
The Nano launched in 2009, but quality issues and its still relatively high price compared to two-wheel vehicles have kept it from becoming the runaway hit originally envisioned. As of April of this year, just 175,000 Nanos had been sold in India, which has a population of 1.2 billion people.