Detroit Preview: No Jaguar or Land Rover, But Expect to See a Tata

By Blake Z. Rong | January 06, 2012
In perhaps the starkest sign of our economic troubles next to Ben Bernanke’s bar tab, Jaguar and Land Rover will forego the nation’s largest auto show in Detroit next week—but tiny Tamil transporter Tata will have a display. Specifically, it will show off Tata’s electric mobility concept, or Emo, which sounds like it might sulk in a darkened room while Robert Smith croons about girls. Don’t call it an electric Nano; even though it exhibits the same efficient one-box styling—and my, what a small box it is—it is a study by the Indian conglomerate to see whether they can build an electric car for the teeming American masses. Its purpose is to “validate our own capabilities across the board,” according to chief engineer Nigel Giddons. As such, it packs a 100-mile charge and a maximum top speed of 65 miles per hour, standard fare for today’s electric car targets, but it holds a few tricks up its sleeve, namely, its low, low price. Like the $2,500 Nano, Tata will try to keep it cheap. At twenty grand before a $7,500 federal subsidy, the electric car could roll into driveways at just one easy payment of $12,500, or one-third the cost of the Nissan Leaf. The car would still meet federal safety standards and seat four passengers in theoretical comfort, because “to do anything less would have made it a little too easy for us,” said Giddons. How would Tata expect to manage this? By keeping things ruthlessly Spartan, just like on the Nano. There would be few options like leather seats or automatic climate control, and no rear hatch, but maybe a Dashboard Confessional. Look for Tata’s American debut at the North American International Auto Show next week, with’s feet firmly planted on the show floor. No word on whether My Chemical Romance will play after the unveiling. Source: New York Times