New cheapest car in the world is the new (old) Jiagnan TT?

Mitchell Jones

When Tata introduced the Nano in 2008, it was intended to be the world’s cheapest car, with a starting price of 100,000 (1 lakh) rupees (about AU$2000) targeted during development. It turns out the market was more aspirational than the Indian giant had anticipated, and as such it has since had to add features to the two-cylinder microcar, blowing its starting price out to 1.99lakh, or about AU$4000.

Jiagnan TT

A franken-car in China, based on a 1980s Suzuki, has beaten it as the world’s cheapest car. The new Jiagnan TT lists for 15,800 yuan (around AU$3336). For that, you get an 800cc three-cylinder engine, with 26kW and 60Nm, good for a 120km/h top speed. Compare that with the Nano’s superior 28kW and 51Nm 600cc twin-banger which ‘propels’ it to 105km/h. The Jiangnan TT features a four-speed manual and returns 5.2L/100km.

Two vastly different approaches for two of the world’s most populous countries. One is a rear-engine, rear-drive blank sheet design, while the other is a front-wheel drive legacy from a bygone era.

What a peculiar phenomenon to be able to buy a car identical to a 1980s Alto, with a new car smell. What we must remember, though, is that China has a population of 1.35 billion, which is extremely stratified so a huge number of people live below the poverty line; there is quite a sizeable demographic for this little number.

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