With the first domestic deliveries of its precedent-setting $2,500 Nano still a month off, Indian automaker Tata has announced that it expects to sell its diminutive four-door city car in the United States within 2-3 years. The basis for that vehicle would be the considerably more upscale version of the Indian-spec Nano, which is already slated to go on sale in other select world markets in 2011. This premium "Europa" variant replaces the base Nano's two-cylinder, 623cc (38-cubic inch) engine that makes 33 horsepower and gets 65 mpg in the home market with a cleaner and more-powerful but less-frugal three-cylinder backed by a five-speed automatic transmission. In addition to numerous interior design upgrades and all-metal body panels, the Europa's structure has been redesigned to meet all Euro crash requirements. It also will have features like electric power steering, air conditioning, antilock brakes, stability control and airbags, none of which are part of the base Nano formula or its pricing.
How much additional redesign/repackaging/emissions work even the upline Europa will need to make it suitable for sale in the U.S remains to be seen. No word yet on how Tata plans to market it here, either -- although you can bet it won't be through dealers that sell of either of the two other brands it currently owns: Jaguar and Land Rover. While any Nano variant that eventually does reach our shores is virtually certain to maintain a significant pricing advantage, we strongly suspect that its Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) will end up somewhere between double and triple the base Nano's much-touted $2,500 figure.