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German Manufacturers Disdain Cheap Cars

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German Manufacturers Disdain Cheap Cars
German Manufacturers Disdain Cheap Cars

Video: German Manufacturers Disdain Cheap Cars

Video: German Manufacturers Disdain Cheap Cars
Video: BMW Dealer in Germany quality cars for sales to Maximum 3.500-15.000€ 2023, June

The German manufacturers see no chances for the introduction of a cheap car in Western Europe. They criticize the lack of minimum requirements and profitability.

By Axel Höpner and Can Merey

Even after the spectacular presentation of the Indian 1700 euro car Tata Nano, the German manufacturers prefer to keep their hands off the booming market for the cheapest cars. "You shouldn't water down a brand," said a VW spokesman on Friday. Where it says Volkswagen, it must also be Volkswagen. The quality manufacturers have certain minimum requirements in terms of safety, quality and technology. In addition, many in the industry doubt that a car can really be built profitably at this price.

Fast growing segment

In the auto industry, the cards are currently being reshuffled. For some years now, there has been a particularly strong demand for premium luxury cars and cheap to cheapest small cars. “In the next few years, the cheap car market will be the fastest growing market segment in the world car business,” says automotive economics professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer from the Gelsenkirchen University of Applied Sciences.

The industry is growing especially in future markets such as Eastern Europe, China and India, and inexpensive entry-level models are in demand here. According to very conservative forecasts, at least ten million cheap cars would be sold worldwide for less than $ 10,000 in 2015, says Dudenhöffer. Last year it was just 1.5 million.

No air conditioning or heating

After the enthusiasm for the low price of the Nano, a European car buyer should, however, soberly discover what the Indian “people's car” lacks in the usual equipment: The basic version has neither air conditioning nor heating. Under the enormous cost pressure, Tata did without power steering and electric windows.

Anyone who wanted to travel with the Nano - which would be tedious on a motorway at a top speed of a little over 100 kilometers per hour - has to do without heavy luggage: the storage space at the front of the Nano, as it was in the VW Beetle, fits a maximum of one suitcase.

Logan is a benchmark in Western Europe


Some manufacturers such as VW are tinkering with the Up and an economy version of the Polo on models that are less than 10,000 euros, but well above the price level of the Tata Nano. The situation is similar for other industry giants such as Ford, General Motors and Honda. Renault, among others, is active in the segment under $ 7,000, and the Dacia Logan is a successful model - also in Europe. In addition, Chinese suppliers, Fiat and Toyota are competing in the cheap segment.

Many manufacturers are calm about the development. A few years ago everyone was afraid of cheap Chinese suppliers, according to one company. Then a model failed in the ADAC crash test and it was pretty quiet around the Chinese. So you have to wait and see. Although the Nano meets the Indian safety regulations, it is questionable whether it could win the trust of customers in Europe.

The passenger's outside mirror is missing


The standard version, which will cost around 1700 euros in India excluding VAT and transport costs, has no airbags. You will also look in vain for an exterior mirror on the passenger side. The numerous potential buyers in India shouldn't be frightened by any of this: Many of them have been riding motorcycles so far, for them switching to the Nano would in any case mean a gigantic increase in comfort and safety.

Tata Motors emphasizes that the Nano is designed in such a way that it can be retrofitted to meet the needs of other markets. "If we should send the car to Europe or to any country other than India tomorrow, everything that would be required in this country would be included," says Tata spokesman Dabasis Ray. Whether you will ever see the Nano, which at first glance is reminiscent of the Smart, on German streets is an open question. With the Nano, the group wants to concentrate on India in the next few years.

Less steel

Tata emphasizes that there is money to be made with the car. Competitors doubt that. "There has to be massive cross-subsidization," says an industry expert. The Indians, on the other hand, state that the low price is mainly possible through the use of less steel. Group boss Ratan Tata says that the PR effective price of 10,000 rupees for the basic nano version is not a short-lived introductory offer. "We will try our best to keep the price." (dpa)

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