Tata Nano on display in Chicago area

January 11, 2010 4:37:24 PM PST
One of the world's smallest cars was on display in suburban Elgin Monday night.The Nano is made by the Tata car company of India. It's the world's lowest priced passenger car.

It's the first time the car has been shown in North America. It's on display at Judson University in Elgin, Ill. It's on its way to the Detroit auto show where it will be shown for the fisrt time at a North American trade show.

It retails in India for $2,500 and was made to fit a family of four comfortably and economically.

"This car gets 50 miles per gallon in the city and approaches about 70 miles per gallon on the highway. This vehicle is 10 feet long, 5 feet wide," said Kevin Noe, Tata Technologies.

"Even though the car costs $2,500, it has a steel frame, it has sheet metal body. So if it has all the things, it has the safety glass that every other car has on the road," said David Fedler, Tata Technologies.

There are a number of features that make the Nano unique and affordable. It has a 624 CC rear mounted engine and the emissions exceed regulatory requirements.

"It looks small on the outside but once you sit inside you go, wow," said Noe.

"You sit up high in the seats. You have good visibility out the front of the car. So even though it's very small, you can see what's going on around you," said Fedler.

Cars are made differently for the Indian, Asian and European markets. If it's brought to the United States there are safety features that will have to be revamped which means it could double the price of the car.

"There's two critical issues. Number one, it has to meet the safety standards of the United States. The second thing that it needs to do is be able to pass the emissions standards in order for it to be on the highways and byways of America, it's going tol have to pass a series of safety standards and I would assume air bags would be one of them," said Noe.

The car has four windows, heating and air conditioning. It should be in the U.S. In a few years.