The $2500 Car
For Tata Motors of India, which will introduce its ultra-cheap car on Thursday, the question was, what could it take out?
The company has kept its new vehicle under wraps, but interviews with suppliers and others involved in its construction reveal some of its cost-cutting engineering secrets â€” including a hollowed out steering-wheel shaft, a trunk with space for a briefcase and a rear-mounted engine not much more powerful than a high-end riding mower.
The upside is a car expected to retail for as little as the equivalent of $2,500, or about the price of the optional DVD player on the Lexus LX 470 sport utility vehicle.
The model appearing on Thursday has no radio, no power steering, no power windows, no air-conditioning and one windshield wiper instead of two, according to suppliers and Tataâ€™s own statements. Bucking prevailing habits, the car lacks a tachometer and uses an analog rather than digital speedometer,