Sure, there was the occasional wisecrack. "Its 623cc engine whines like a little blender when pushed to its top speed of 65 mph," said a British reviewer in The Guardian. But when Tata Motors rolled out its tiny Nano last week in India, most reviewers cheered.
"It's a credible car that does the job brilliantly for its target customers and in the process trounces much more expensive cars in areas like passenger space," said Autocar India, a trade publication.
The Indian public, which won't see the cars in significant numbers until summer, mobbed journalist test drivers. The Nano has a "superstar prominence in India matched only by cricketeers and Bollywood stars," wrote the Forbes test driver. "The car was mobbed wherever I parked. People wanted to touch it, jump into it; they pressed their faces to the glass."
Under a plan worked out with the State Bank of India, a motorbike driver can move up to the 100,000-rupee (about $2,000) Nano with a down payment of only about $60.