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Source of Title Blog

The $2,500 Car
by Robert Franco | 2008/01/11 |

Watch out, Detroit! The country that brought you cheap title searches has announced the world's cheapest car - at $2,500! Of course, the car is plastic and held together with glue.... really! And, though they have been criticized for their environmental impact, the Indian company producing the car, Tata Motors, says that it will meet all of India's emissions standards.

 

Four years ago Tata Motors embarked on an ambitious project to bring millions of people in India and elsewhere into the car-owning class. Today Chairman Ratan Tata (pictured above) unveiled the result: the Nano, a stripped down car with a 624 cc four-stroke engine that can seat four passengers. The car is a feat of engineering-it's made from plastic parts held together with adhesives-and meets all India's environment standards.



Is there anything left that India cannot do for next to nothing? Soon they may be selling tickets to the moon for $99 round-trip.

I don't think that Americans will be too fond of a 624cc motor producing a whopping 33 horsepower. My motorcycle, a Honda VTX 1800, has an engine nearly 3 times that size and produces more than 100 horsepower. I can't imagine trying to drive this thing uphill in a headwind.

But, Americans seem to embrace "all things cheap." They put up with poisons in their toys imported from China, they deal with customer service reps that barely speak English, and they buy "knock-off" purses and clothing. Soon, the "made in the U.S.A." label will become a collector's item - anything domestically produced will probably bring top dollar on Ebay.

I guess we really shouldn't be surprised that we are now importing our country's public records from India. Though it seems absurd, it's really just a reflection of our society - "anything to save a buck."

Though I doubt the Tata Nano will be imported into the United States any time soon, if you see one on the road, try not to run over it in your gas-guzzling SUV.

Robert A. Franco
SOURCE OF TITLE
rfranco@sourceoftitle.com

 

Source of Title Blog ::




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Categories: Innovation, Public Records

503 words | 3236 views | 22 comments | log in or register to post a comment


With everything Congress has done a...
With everything Congress has done as far as sending mixed signals to both consumers and car companies about what to buy and produce, it won't be long before they force Detroit out of business or force them to start making cars like this. 
by David Jenkins | 2008/01/11 | log in or register to post a reply

They've already started forcing the...
They've already started forcing the automakers to produce cars like that, Dave. The president just signed an energy bill passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress that mandates a Corporate Average Fuel Economy of 35 mpg by 2020. Say goodbye to the production of SUVS and high-performance muscle cars.

I think I'm gonna replace my 2000 Saturn with one of those Urkelmobiles. What better way to get used to driving around in lawnmowers with seats?
 
by Scott Perry | 2008/01/11 | log in or register to post a reply

Did I mention that we actually vote...
Did I mention that we actually voted these clowns into office?  
by Scott Perry | 2008/01/11 | log in or register to post a reply

Robert: I own a 1972 Honda 600 Coup...
Robert: I own a 1972 Honda 600 Coupe that delivers a whopping 31 HP from a 600 CC four stroke engine- and I bought one new way back then too- like almost all of Honda products, they were scarce- had a waiting list of about 3-4 months and the total price back then was $1974- delivered- the one I have now(not the same as the one I bought back in 72) will keep up with the traffic, it just is small compared to all of your land yachts on the road now, and it gets about 50mpg too. 
by Steve Meinecke | 2008/01/11 | log in or register to post a reply

I wanna see what's left of one of t...
I wanna see what's left of one of these pregnant roller skates after a head-on into a utility pole @ 50 MPH. 
by Scott Perry | 2008/01/11 | log in or register to post a reply

Scott: The U.S. version will have ...
Scott: The U.S. version will have 50 lbs. of mandated safety features that will prevent it from getting over 30mph. Problem solved! 
by David Jenkins | 2008/01/12 | log in or register to post a reply

Hadn't thought of that, Dave, but y...
Hadn't thought of that, Dave, but you're absolutely right. That's partly what almost killed the US auto industry in the late '70s and early '80s...a bunch of pointy-headed politicians and bureaucrats trying to force the automakers to build vehicles that nobody wanted.

That's why I honestly don't think that a vehicle like that would sell well here in the US, even if it is cheaper. Of course, we all saw what a smashing success the Yugo was. Americans love their land yachts...and will spend top buck for them.
 
by Scott Perry | 2008/01/12 | log in or register to post a reply

i have to disagree on a couple of p...
i have to disagree on a couple of points. first, i dont think americans "embrace" all things cheap. i just think more and more americans have no choice but to buy cheap. our middle class is disappearing. our dollar is sliding fast. i have to watch everything i buy now and save every dollar i can, just to make ends meet.
second, i think it is a combination of people saying "anything to save a buck" (out of necessity) and, more importantly, people saying "anything to MAKE a buck". the problem of outsourcing is more tied to people trying to make more profit then people wanting things cheap. people still bought homes and refinanced before these companies outsourced to companies in india. it was greed that brought this about more than people complaining it cost too much to refinance.
as for cars, i would be interested in one of these cars for a work car possibly. i have to use cheap, "disposable" cars for work because it is simply too expensive to maintain a good car for this pupose. around here, they charge $90 an hour for labor (even tho the mechanic is only getting $15-20). they also charge more for the parts than i can go buy them for myself and over-inflate the actual hours they work on the car. i have no choice but to by a cheap work car that i can do some simple maintenance on myself. if i could buy a cheap new car, get 2 or 3 years out of it and trade it in on another, i would be interested. not out of choice-- but out of necessity.
it is the greed at the top of these corporations that has brought this about. first they outsource many of our good paying jobs, then the people can only afford these cheap things. that leads to-- you guessed it-- more outsourcing. all the while corporate profits skyrocket while our middle-class disapprears.
 
by patrick | 2008/01/12 | log in or register to post a reply

Patrick, I have to agree with you o...
Patrick, I have to agree with you on one thing: you're absolutely correct, the middle class IS disappearing...and becoming the upper class. According to Stephen Rose at The American Prospect, the share of homes with real incomes above $100.000.00 rose by 13.1% from 1979 to 2004. The share of households making less than $75,000.00 dropped by 14% in that same period.

As to corporate greed, yes, corporate culture has its faults, and part of the problem is that not enough has been done to address them. But consider this. Even the most overpaid CEO on the planet can do nothing to me. The most overpaid CEO cannot take my freedom away. The most overpaid CEO cannot raise my taxes. The most overpaid CEO in the world cannot tell me what I can and cannot drive. The most overpaid CEO in the world cannot tell me what kind of stupid damn bags I have to use in a grocery store. The most overpaid CEO cannot tell me how many gallons my toilet can use. But politicians and lawyers can take away all of those liberties and freedoms and property, and they do so on a regular basis. So any time a politician comes up and says, "Mr. Perry, your enemy is Big Media, your enemy is Big Food, your enemy is Big Oil, your enemy is big this or big that, and I'm going to protect you from them." I say, "I don't need you to protect me from them. They're the ones who make my life better. You're the only one I need protection from, Mr. Politician."
 
by Scott Perry | 2008/01/13 | log in or register to post a reply

Steve: That Honda sounds cool, in a...
Steve: That Honda sounds cool, in a cute VW Bug kinda way. You should e-mail me a picture so I can post it here on the forum. I don't necessarily have a problem with small cars, other than my fear that it would be terribly underpowered and painful to drive. This one however, is glued together - that just seems to scare me a bit.

You should check out the SMART car! It is one I have been considering for a while just for a fun commuter car. Hasn't gone on sale yet though. The major drawback is that it takes premium unleaded - it was designed by Mercedes, what can you say? I don't understand the point of better mileage if the fuel costs 30 cents more per gallon.

Scott: Not all hybrids have to be underpowered, though. Lexis developed the LS 600h L, a hybrid luxury sedan that produces 483hp and can do zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds. Of course, it only gets about 21 mpg, so what's the point??

Patrick: You raise an excellent argument... it is kind of like the "chicken and the egg," we may never know which actually came first. Though I am sure we could debate about it forever.

Thank you all for the comments.
 
by Robert Franco | 2008/01/13 | log in or register to post a reply

Robert: I will send a picture of bo...
Robert: I will send a picture of both my Honda and one of the smart car I took when I was still in Virginia- I have seen them on the road, so they are available, and the picture I have was from a while back too- -What e-mail address should I sent the pictures to?
Steve
 
by Steve Meinecke | 2008/01/13 | log in or register to post a reply

Looks like a Tonka Toy. I wouldn't...
Looks like a Tonka Toy. I wouldn't even drive that on the sidewalk. I'd feel safer on a tricycle.  
by Alex Y | 2008/01/14 | log in or register to post a reply

I doubt these cars will gain any tr...
I doubt these cars will gain any traction in the US market. However, Tata Motors does fill a big void in the global marketplace,

Patrick makes some good points. It very ironic - The corporations that were quick to embrace and tout the benefits of globization and offshoring will ulitmately stand to lose the most from it.
 
by Shane Kane - TitleSuccess.com | 2008/01/14 | log in or register to post a reply

India seems to be challenging the U...
India seems to be challenging the U.S. on all fronts. Just heard today about Americans traveling to India to have dental and medical procedures performed to get around the high cost of medical and dental insurance.  
by Kevin W. Ahern | 2008/01/14 | log in or register to post a reply

Interesting to note that Hartford, ...
Interesting to note that Hartford, Connecticut is the insurance capital of the world. This industry has been implementing mass layoffs for several years because it has outsourced many of its various departments to India. 
by Kevin W. Ahern | 2008/01/14 | log in or register to post a reply

I normally don't post, but I couldn...
I normally don't post, but I couldn't pass this up...

Are we really complaining about a nation where the rickshaw is a major source of transportation and traffic laws read basically "Whoever is larger goes first" developing a small, affordable automobile? If I lived in India and had to compete in the city traffic there I would WANT a car I could glue back together!

As to the point that those in the $100,000.00 a year bracket are increasing: My husband and I will gross more income this year than ever before, but we have struggled more than we did when our adjustable gross was less than $20K. Business is ok for me here in S. Virginia, but expenses, just the day to day ones, are more. $100K ain't what it used to be, but I'd still like to make it!
 
by Lynne | 2008/01/14 | log in or register to post a reply

Lynne: You are absolutely right. ...
Lynne: You are absolutely right. If there was ever a need for a cheap car, India would be it. It will do wonders for their economy and change the lives of millions. And, to give credit, it is quite an engineering and economic achievement. Something we might have seen in the US during the industrial revolution.

My only gripe is... well... isn't there anything that can't be done for a tenth the price in that country?? Geeez.

I suppose that is just a sign of where they are in their country's development. What will happen when they progress beyond this stage? When they have unions fighting for workers rights, health care, an 8 hour work day, etc. What will happen when the wage rises to the point where they can no longer be the world's "discount" resource? When it costs just as much to get the work done there that it does here, will the jobs come back, or will they just move to the next developing nation?

Ahhh... so much to ponder.
 
by Robert Franco | 2008/01/14 | log in or register to post a reply

Thank you, Steve Meinecke, for send...
Thank you, Steve Meinecke, for sending in pictures of your 1972 Honda 600. It has a classic look, like the old Mini Coopers.

According to Steve, "it seats for 4 people - although the back seat is rather cramped. And, it is a hatch back and the back seat folds down to provide for a good amount of space back there. The gear shift is in the dash, just like the newer Hondas. This one has a 600 cc engine and gets right along - might take a while to get to 60, but it does go."

I did a little searching to see if I could find any of these cars for sale. I found a few, but they were in pretty rough shape. There were a few people proud enough of their Honda 600 to start owners' groups and create Web sites dedicated to their unique cars.


Thanks again, Steve. I had never seen one of these before. Too bad there aren't more of these available - I think it would make a neat electric car conversion.
 
by Robert Franco | 2008/01/15 | log in or register to post a reply

A better question would be, what wi...
A better question would be, what will happen when India's taxes rise to the point where a citizen has to work the first five months of the year just to meet their obligation to the government?

BTW, Steve, that car reminds me of the car I used to drive right after I got out of high school. Mine was a '75 Datsun 210 coupe. Neat little car.
 
by Scott Perry | 2008/01/15 | log in or register to post a reply

Hi! I'm one of those much "pillori...
Hi! I'm one of those much "pilloried" entrepreneurs running an offshore firm focused on the mortgage and settlement services industry... [grin]...

However, my comment today has nothing to do with my day job, but with my avocation as a (sh)amateur economist.

1) First of all, I have no idea if the Tata's $2,500 car is going to work or if it's going to collapse within the first five miles. My innate skepticism leads me to be circumspect about anything that is overhyped, be it claims of "mission accomplished" or "a car that's too good to be true".

Even IF the car's engineering passes muster, I don't think the Nano is going to have much
traction state-side, except perhaps in the crowded cities like NYC, Boston, DC and such like (perhaps for FlexCar, ZipCar)

In other words, the Nano will sink or swim (to use a somewhat tortured metaphor) on its merits.

However, that's neither here nor there.

I'd like to comment specifically on two items related to India's economy:

2) For instance, Robert asks "Is there anything left that India cannot do for next to nothing? Soon they may be selling tickets to the moon for $99 round-trip."

Alas, wish that this were true. While parts of India are doing well economically, most of it is mired in a quagmire of regulation, taxes and tariffs such that prices for many items are much higher than in America - in absolute terms. For instance, power costs in India are two to four times higher than in the US. Likewise, with gas (petrol).

The most laughable example of this: clothes and apparel that are made in India are often cheaper in the US than in India. And, before conspirators shout that Indian companies are "dumping" their goods, the truth lies elsewhere. See this post of mine and related comments, for instance

http://indianeconomy.org/2007/12/30/indias-retail-revolution-question-2/

3) Scott Perry asks
"A better question would be, what will happen when India's taxes rise to the point where a citizen has to work the first five months of the year just to meet their obligation to the government?"

A little factoid here: Back in the 1970s, the income tax rates on individuals went all the way up to 97% ie, you worked for the government for 11 months and 24 days.
Even today, the tax system remains oppressive. And 90% of the money collected by the government gets wasted -- see this for a stunning indictment of the government.

http://indianeconomy.org/2005/10/29/the-long-and-winding-road/



 
by Prashant | 2008/01/15 | log in or register to post a reply

Hello, Prashant!

Thank...
Hello, Prashant!

Thank you for enlightening me regarding the onerous tax burden that the Indian government imposes upon its citizens. I had no idea that American liberalism was already being outsourced.
 
by Scott Perry | 2008/01/15 | log in or register to post a reply

GIVE ME A 1969 FIRE ORANGE CAMERO M...
GIVE ME A 1969 FIRE ORANGE CAMERO MUSCLE CAR!!!!!

ALTHO, I do miss my Pontiac Fiero. Even tho it was prone to fire....it was one of the best running/mileage cars I have ever had.

Small and compact but great in this crap we call snow!
 
by Clanci Moloney-Nelson, Eagle Land Title Agency, Inc. | 2008/01/21 | log in or register to post a reply
Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco
SOURCE OF TITLE

 

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