The cheapest car of the 21st century (so far) was trotted out on January 10, 2008, by its manufacturers, Tata Motors of India. The Nano, as it’s na-known, was a four-door metal bubble about ten feet long with a price tag of $2,500. Its makers called it the People’s Car, a vehicle for families who previously hadn’t been able to afford a car (yes, Volkswagen has been there, done that).
The basic model cost even less — a mere $2,000, but came without a radio, air conditioning, airbags, steering, or windows (make that power steering or windows).
The Nano was made primarily of recycled computer printers. It had a 32-horsepower, rear-mounted engine, and could reach speeds of 65 miles per hour and 18 copies per minute. It had just one windshield wiper.
Tata received more than 203,000 pre-orders for the Nano, but because Tata was only able to produce an initial 100,000 Nanos, the cars’ lucky first owners were chosen by lottery. The Nano was initially sold only in India, although Tata said it eventually intended to spread it throughout the world.
Lest you think Tata Motors is a questionable business concern, it is part of one of India’s largest and oldest business conglomerates. And Tata, in addition to those Nano Nanos, manufactures Jaguars and Land Rovers.