Mike Stevens | Mar 25, 2009

Tata Motors has only just this week unleashed the revolutionary 2009 Tata Nano upon the sub-continent and now, according to Financial Times, the Indian automaker may be looking at offering the Tata Nano – most likely the Europe-bound Europa version – on the American market as early as 2011.

Founder Ratan Tata said the company is re-evaluating its initial decision to focus on the Indian and European market, with the economic crash giving hope for a low-priced car in the US market.

“In this economic situation, we see perhaps there is a place [for the Nano in the US],” Tata told Financial Times.

A number of hurdles stand between Tata and the US market: as with the European-spec model, the Nano will need to undergo a spot of re-engineering to ensure it meets the strict crash and emissions standards in the US. You would think a more inviting interior would need to be considered as well.

Establishing a dealer network will be a major concern, as will the car’s price point. While it will likely sell for a higher price than its Indian counterpart, it will still need to cost less than any of the current entry-level cars on the US market. The Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa both can both be had for under US$10,000.

“It’s not something that we would take lightly,” Ratan Tata said. “The US is very unforgiving of mistakes.”

If the US Congress passes the recently-submitted bill that would see car owners offered US$4000 (AU$5890) if they trade in their old car, Tata’s plan may be easier to sell.

More to the point, while we're debating the unlikely, if the plan goes ahead and the Nano is a US success, the Tata Prima will form the perfect platform to move the brand further upmarket in America.


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