India's VW, the Nano, is like a Yugo
India's homegrown, Nano, is a product from one of India's newest auto makers, Tata Motors. The car is the world's cheapest, hovering around $2700. Its closest challenger for the very bottom market is the Suzuki 800 and Alto.
The Nano is trying hard not to fall to a similar fate as the Yugo did- cheap, initially well received only to collapse under poor QA issues that had bumpers fall off, tranny's jamming in brand new cars. The car itself is a two cylinder wonder with 12-inch wheels. It has some quirky concepts like a trunk that only can be accessed from the inside. The engine is German, a Bosch, with fuel injection that develops 35 hp over acceleration. The car is 59-inches wide and has only one windshield wiper. Most of the parts are either German, Italian or Japanese. Its wheelbase is 87-inches, height is 65-inches and weighs 1300 lbs.
When released in 2009, sales skyrocketed as the car is affordable for most. Production costs also spiraled, now the car sells for $2900. Workmanship, or lack of, as well as unexpected production issues now plaque the car. When released, orders of 200,000 were received but getting the cars to the dealers is a major problem. In July, 9000, were made, yet a paltry 504 in November. Compare this to the Suzuki Maruti Alto, selling for $6,200 in Mumbai, which sold 30,000. Nearly half of all cars in India are Suzuki models from $6-12,000.
As the Nano gets out and about, consumers are also experiencing unexpected fires. In one case, a brand new car left the lot when smoke began to billow out. The driver got out and within seconds, the whole car went up in flames. Others have reported mechanical issues within weeks of buying it. Tata Motors extended its warranty to four years-seems like they needed to.