This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
week the world's lowest-priced passenger car was launched in Mumbai, India. The Nano, made by Tata Motors, is expected to cause
a transportation revolution for millions of Indian families.
small four-door car is about three meters long. It will cost one hundred
thousand Indian rupees, or two thousand dollars. That is about half the price of similar cars offered
by the nearest competitor. The Nano is
expected to make car ownership possible for more of India's population. So it is being called "The People's Car."
Motors chairman, Ratan Tata, says that was his main goal in building the Nano.
RATAN TATA:"It was never
conceived of as being the cheapest car. It was conceived of as being a car that would give the people of India
an opportunity to own a car that had not been within their reach before. I hope that is what we will achieve."
The Nano is a very simple
car. The lowest-priced version does not
include a radio or air conditioning. It
has a six hundred twenty-four cubic centimeter, thirty-five horsepower,
gas-powered engine. Still, it is a
welcomed vehicle in a country where many families of three or four people ride
Industry observers predict that soon roads
throughout the country could be filled with Nanos. Tata, India's top automaker, has done almost
no traditional advertising of the Nano.
However, early interest in the vehicle has been huge. The company says the Nano's Web site has been
visited thirty million times.
Motors says it will begin taking orders for the car on April ninth both at car
dealerships and on the Internet. However,
the cars will not be ready for purchase until July. Demand is expected to be far greater than
Ratan Tata says the first one
hundred thousand buyers of the car will be chosen by chance.
of the Nano has been delayed for several months. Land protests last year forced the company to
close its factory in the Indian state of West Bengal. A new factory is being built in the state of
The car is expected to be popular
in industrial as well as developing nations. The company says it plans to sell a version of the Nano in Europe in two
thousand eleven. After that, the car
will also be available in the United States.
Experts say demand for low-priced automobiles is likely to increase as
the international economic crisis continues.
the Nano also has its critics. Some say
the new cars will increase India's traffic and pollution problems. However, Tata company officials say the Nano
will produce less pollution than any other car in the country.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. Transcripts, MP3s and
podcasts of our programs are at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.