Due to planned numerous mechanical and technical changes, the Tata Nano will see its price tag more than quadruple when it arrives in the US.

What started out as the world's cheapest car might end up being not so cost-effective when it arrives in the US in about 3 years' time. Because of several structural changes that need to be made on the Tata Nano, the sticker price will balloon from a touted US$2,500 a piece to about US$8,000, according to people close to the situation.

The Nano will have to get a longer front end to meet American pedestrian safety standards. Additionally the two-cylinder 623cc engine needs upgrades for better emissions figures, airbags must be added, the roof strengthened, seats changed and the steering wheel improved.

Crash tests conducted on the European-spec Nano passed the little car but US requirements are slightly different.

"The structural changes that would need to be made," said Warren Harris, Tata Technologies president, "the changes that would be required as far as emissions are concerned, and some of the features that would be appropriate to add to the vehicle for the North American market, obviously that would drive up the price point".

Tata Technologies is an arm of the Tata Group of companies which include Tata Motors, Jaguar and Land Rover. The company was responsible for bringing the Nano to the Detroit auto show as a publicity stunt.


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