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Don't look at the picture of the car on this webpage and think it is about cash for clunkers. I heard this on marketplace today and thought Art would especially like to hear it.

audio and article
What a $3,000 car looks, feels and drives like
http://www.marketplace.org/topics/wealth-poverty/what-3000-c...
But to get a car’s price tag down to $3,000 or even $5,000, auto designers have to toss out features most American drivers take for granted. Bernard Swiecki, senior project manager for Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies at the Center for Automotive Research, says start with airbags, then move on to anti-lock brakes, electronics, stability control and strong emissions control and other environmentally-friendly features.

Two-cylinder engines, manual transmission, cheap interior fabrics and trim are also ways to get a car’s sticker price below $10,000.

Gary Vasilash, editor-in-chief of Automotive Design and Production, says automakers are testing smaller, no-frills cars for the American market (like the Toyota Scion IQ) but it’s a luxury vehicle compared to something like the no-frills Tata Nano in India.

Still, he says the Scion IQ feels tiny, especially the backseat. “I guess if you were driving with the Keebler elves you could put three of them in the back,” he jokes.
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"Still, he says the Scion IQ feels tiny, especially the backseat. “I guess if you were driving with the Keebler elves you could put three of them in the back,” he jokes."


When I'm out driving around 90% of the cars I see driving around town have one person sitting in them. Great big giant SUV's and 4 wheel drive trucks with one person using them as transportation to go to Kroger's or the post office or running other errands. It's absolutely insane.

It's fine if you need a big SUV to haul your kids or haul cement or whatever but people like that need a second small car to run errands. It's about saving gas which is a limited commodity. Like my momma used to say "when it's gone, it's gone!"

Artie
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"But to get a car’s price tag down to $3,000 or even $5,000, auto designers have to toss out features most American drivers take for granted. Bernard Swiecki, senior project manager for Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies at the Center for Automotive Research, says start with airbags, then move on to anti-lock brakes, electronics, stability control and strong emissions control and other environmentally-friendly features."


The Tata Nano and the cheap Datsuns will never be sold in the United States. They want to gouge us for as much as they can. Why sell us a $3,000 car when they can force us to buy cars for 5 times as much?

Artie
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I had the cheapest Nissan in 1983...but had it 'loaded' with a/c and auto transmission....... it was the cheapest thing around and the interior was cheap...it had manual windows...

but I only drove it on weekends since I took the Metro subway to work.....

when I moved to TX, I sold it and bought a car that would do 70 mph with ease...

the Sentra would barely get up to 65 or 70 and you didn't feel great driving it that fast.

Sure, strip out the a/c, the auto trans..... and put in a new 2 cylinder engine - likely now about the same HP.....and it will do fine.....

HEck, my VW bug was manual, with manual windows, and not much else. 36 hp engine......real cheap insides....no gas gauge even....just a speedometer....that was it.... and maybe an idiot light for alternator and oil pressure.....

only 2 headlights....

teeny tail lights and a double back window.....

back windows barely went 1/2 way down.....

but I did have a sun roof!......heh heh








t.
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"I had the cheapest Nissan in 1983...but had it 'loaded' with a/c and auto transmission....... it was the cheapest thing around and the interior was cheap...it had manual windows..." tele


It seems rather hypocritical to me that "they" allow motorcycles on the road but they won't allow these cheap little cars to be imported into the United States. It smells of collusion with big car makers to me. There are little cheap cars in the rest of the World that get over 50+ miles to the gallon that would be perfect for running errands and things - but they aren't allowed into the United States even though motorcycles are 10X more dangerous to ride.

Artie
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The key phrase is:

Automakers designing for emerging markets don’t have to design to the same regulatory specifications as in the U.S.

Current vehicles in the US have to meet crash standards, emission standards and many more.

fwiw, the Tata Nano has some drawbacks in this country. Acceleration: 0- 37 mph in 8 seconds, w/ a max speed of 65 mph. Not a long-distance drive!

It could be pretty good for a run to the grocery store vehicle, except there's no back hatch to open for the grocery bags. You get to open the door and place the bags in the back seat, for the most convenience, rather than taking advantage of the 5.3 cu. ft. of "trunk space".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tata_Nano
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This is my second day in New Delhi and I've been looking for the little Tata whenever I'm out on the streets. I haven't seen one yet. I expected to see a lot of them here.

It would be easy to make small US cars a lot cheaper if you eliminated requirements like shatter-proof glass, air-bags, seat belts, crash test compliance, etc. A lot of people would be happy enough to trade those regulations for a cheap car, but all of us would end up paying higher insurance rates.
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“I guess if you were driving with the Keebler elves you could put three of them in the back,” he jokes.

That sounds like our kids! I used to tease them that they would have to be in a car seat (required in our state until you weight 60 pounds) when they took their driver's license tests.

Vickifool
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