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Tata's Nano: A Small Car With A Big "Buzz"

Thursday, 10 Jan 2008 | 10:15 AM ET
Tata Nano
Source: autoblog.com
Tata Nano

We won't see it here in the states anytime soon and there are still plenty of questions about how much of a market there is for this pint size car. Still, the new Nano by Tata is getting big buzz.

The company unveiled the car yesterday in India, and since its reveal I've been inundated with questions from other bloggers, and requests for us to include the Nano in our All Access Detroit Auto Show Special Monday night (9 PM Eastern).

First, you have to take your hats off to the people at Tata. They have built a basic car that will sell for $2,500. There will be upgraded models that offer air conditioning, and all come with the assurances that they will meet safety standards. At 625 cc, the Nano's engine is small, but that's not the selling point of this car.

The Nano is geared for the masses in developing markets, and I think it will be a big seller. There are millions in India, the Middle East, and Africa who will now be able to buy a car because of the Nano's low price. This is the big race in the auto industry. To come up with a cheap car that can be sold at a profit in these developing markets. Renault's Logan has been a hit in Eastern Europe and the Nano could be just as successful in India.

This does not mean we will see this car in the U.S. anytime soon. First of all, Tata does not have a distribution network in the states. It may soon when it completes its purchase of Land Rover and Jaguar, but those dealerships would never cheapen those luxury brands by also offering a pint-sized car for $2,500. So for those of you who are waiting for this car, don't hold your breath.

This also brings up the e-mails I've received in the last two days from people requesting specific models they want us to focus on during our prime time special. Several have said, "please focus on the Tata car". That will not be happening. The special Monday night is all about the newest models rolling out at the Detroit Auto Show. So, if you want to see the new Cadillac CTS-V, Mercedes Vision GLK, or Ford F-150, let me hear it: behindthewheel@cnbc.com.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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