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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Despite being hailed as the vehicle that would motorize a billion-strong economic powerhouse, the Tata Nano has turned out to be a spectacular flop, with November sales totalling just 509 units, from a peak of 9,000 units in July. For comparison, Mercedes-Benz cars, far beyond the reach of a majority of India’s population, regularly sells over 500 cars a month.
Quality problems have dogged the Nano, and are blamed for the disastrous sales decline. Numerous Nanos have gone up in flames, prompting Indian consumers to stay away for the $2,257 car. Despite the Nano’s troubles, parent company Tata motors has had a phenomenal financial year, with a 100-fold increase in profit and a share price increase of 78%.
[Source: Economic Times]
Aston Martin‘s Cygnet minicar will come to the United States sometime in 2012 according to Automotive News. The Cygnet will reportedly cost $35,000 despite minimal changes from the Toyota iQ it’s based on.
The Cygnet is a risky move for Aston Martin; a product like this is conceivably a good idea in places like London, where a congestion charge applies to most vehicles driving in the downtown core, or in traffic-ridden locales like Manhattan, Miami or Los Angeles. Outside of these small niches, it’s hard to imagine who would buy a Cygnet for any reason at all.
[Source: Automotive News]
There is a definite possibility that Ford’s European Ka microcar could make its way to dealerships in North American in the next few years.
A new second-generation Ka was just launched in Europe in 2009, using either a 68hp 1.2-liter gasoline engine or a 74hp 1.3-liter diesel engine. At just 142.5-inches long, the Ka is roughly the size of a SMART fortwo.
While Ford has never been interested in bringing over the Ka before, the Fiat/Chrysler merger may change all that as the automotive partners plan on bringing a Chrysler-branded version of the Fiat 500 microcar to the U.S. – a move that could happen in as little as 18 months.
Not only would Ford want a piece of the microcar segment, but its Ka is actually based on the Fiat 500 chassis as well.
A big issue in bringing the car over would be pricing and while a Fiat 500 might be able to fetch a price roughly equivalent to a SMART, a Chrysler or Ford vehicle would have to be much closer (if not under) the $10,000 mark.
There is also a possibility, suggests an article in the Detroit Free Press, that both Chrysler and Ford could team up on the manufacturing of both vehicles, having them built in the same assembly plant in order to minimize costs. If that were to happen, the car would most likely be built in Mexico, where both Ford and Chrysler already have plants.
The whole idea does seem far-fetched, especially in a country that loves big cars, but times are changing and Chrysler has made it clear that a version of the Fiat 500 is slated for U.S. roads.
Ford already has plans to bring the European Fiesta to North America, where it will compete in the ever-increasing sub-compact segment.
[Source: The Detroit Free Press]