India shines, but in the shadow of China. Even its feat of building the world’s cheapest car dims as China’s Zotye Auto released the ultra-cheap Jiangnan Alto earlier this month.
Priced at 18,800 yuan, or $2,830, the base model of Jiangnan Alto directly takes on the $2,700 entry-level Tata Nano. As the latter does not have enough safety features to access highways in many countries (it has only one external mirror), Zotye says its Alto is "truly the cheapest car in the world."
Pound for pound, we do think Jiangnan Alto offers better value. Both having no air conditioner or power steering, the former is bigger (3300 vs 3100), heavier (640kg vs 600), better equipped, and has a steel rather than plastic body.
The Alto has a bigger engine too, and can run faster. The 0.8L three-cylinder develops 26.5kW/5500rpm and 60Nm/300-4000rmp, compared with Nano’s 0.6L 2-cylinder rated at 26kW/5250rpm and 48Nm/2500-3500rpm. Maximum speed: 120 vs. 105 km/h.
Jiangnan Alto, based on the second-generation Suzuki Alto, is built in Xiangtan, Hunan. Its manufacturer, Jiangnan Auto, was bought by Zotye in 2007.
For more photos and details of all three trims of Jiangnan Alto, please click here.