Tata Motors is launching its ultra-cheap Nano car in Mumbai, India on Monday - a vehicle meant to herald a revolution by making it possible for the world's poor to purchase their first car. (Read about it here). Quite democratic, eh.
The Nano, which is priced starting at about $2,050, is a stripped-down car for stripped-down times: It is 10.2 feet (3.1 meters) long, has one windshield wiper, a 623cc rear engine, and a diminutive trunk.
The rollout of this little, populist car has created quite a stir. With 100,000 expected to eventually hit the streets, people are debating the impact this number of new vehicles will have on the environment let alone the economy.
My question, however, is what about the aesthetics of this jellybean of a car? If there are going to be tens of thousands of these pocket vehicles hitting the streets, will we find them repulsive or pleasing to the eye?
Personally, I find the far forward and rear placed wheels a bit disturbing, unbalanced and cartoonish. I also struggle with the proportional relationship it has to human beings - Picturing a person (or two... or four) inside already makes me snicker. It looks silly. Doesn’t work. I also fear how the Nano will age. Maybe a new shiny one can be considered visually "interesting," but a dirty, beaten up old model will look terrible in four or five years. Skillfully designed for the eye it is not.