Tata Nano - with Porsche price
It was touted as the world's cheapest car at 2 000-dollars apiece, but a new version of the snub-nosed Tata Nano will be available soon at a price closer to that of a top-end Ferrari or Porsche.
Mumbai-based firm D.C. Design says it is refitting the 3.1-metre five-seater hatchback, doing away with its plastic seat coverings, small wheels and single-dial dashboard.
The car's basic silhouette will be retained, but everything else will go in the 220 000-dollar bespoke models. A first prototype is expected in two months.
"Our hallmark is high-technology products," Dilip Chhabaria, head of D.C. Design, a specialist car refitting group, told AFP.
"We would like to keep the cost low but with the technology and the amount of work we will be putting into the car, the 10 million rupee (220 000 dollars) price tag will be justified," Chhabaria added.
"We will retain the chassis and the floor plan, other than that everything will be different. There will be a lot of tech wizardry in it, plenty of IT-enabled equipment," he said.
The standard two-cylinder 624cc engine will be replaced by a 1600cc engine and it will sport 20-inch wheels. The body will be made of carbon to keep the weight low.
"We will be reworking the brakes and suspension systems to take on the load off the engine. The idea is to give the world a feel of what India's IT and automotive industries are capable when working in synergy."
Given the prohibitive price tag, D.C Design intends to work on only two to five cars a year ordered by the wealthiest resident and overseas Indians capable of paying more than 100 times the price tag for the basic car.
The New Delhi auto show is underway this week where international auto majors are unveiling a slew of affordable cars designed to lure customers in Asia's third-largest car market.
The Nano, so christened to connote the combination of small size and low cost, is the showcase product of India's diversified Tata group, which bought Jaguar and Land Rover from US Ford Motor for 2.3 billion dollars two years ago.
Sapa - AFP