How Does India’s Latest $2,000 Car Stack Up Against the Tata Nano?

Another Indian company is launching a $2,000 car, hoping to leverage India’s deep pool of engineers and cheap labor to target emerging market consumers

Bajaj Auto Ltd.–famous for its three-wheeled auto-rickshaws used as inexpensive taxis on the roads from Jakarta to Mumbai—has recently announced global plans for its microcar.

Last week Bajaj announced that its little “quadricycle,” would be called Qute. It had beencalling it the RE60 as it was being developed over the past three years. The company also unveiled plans to sell the cute Qute for a cute price: around $2,000.

So how does the latest world car stack up against Tata Motors Ltd.’s Nano, India’s first big attempt to build a passenger vehicle at an unprecedented price point?

While the Nano was originally launched at close to $2,000 as well, it has not sold as well as expected, despite being the cheapest mass-produced car in the world. Tata has since upgraded its darling little car so the least expensive ones are now closer to $3,000.

The Nano now comes with options of manual and automatic transmissions, and features such as an entertainment system, fog lamps and central locking. It has been trying to attract buyers from India’s budding middle class families.

Next to the Qute, the Nano looks like a luxury car. The Bajaj car has a tiny engine – only 200-cubic centimeters, the company sells motorcyles that are more powerful. The car will have a top speed of 70 kilometers an hour.

The Qute was designed to offer India’s millions of auto-rickshaw drivers an extra wheel for more stability. But India isn’t quite sure how to classify the vehicle so it is not allowed on Indian roads until courts rule on its safety standards and respond to complaints that it could hurt the livelihoods of auto-rickshaw drivers.

Bajaj Auto is therefore going to start exporting the Qute to 16 countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, Bajaj says.

If you are interested in getting four wheels for a few thousand dollars, use this chart to size up the two tiny cars.