Nano's hope—and it is a hope that abounds abroad as much as in India—is the unformed international driving club that does not mind if a car gets from zero to 60 only eventually. And barring big-car America, a lot of the world moves, and likes to, in small cars. Europe has always had a thriving tradition of small cars like the Mini Cooper and the Fiat Cinquecento.
Some motoring experts think the Nano can only have a small market in Europe. "I think there is always room for cheap cars in Europe and cheap cars anywhere," says Dan Strong, motoring editor of Auto Express magazine in London. "Whether or not this specific car can succeed is another question. I think the UK market is very demanding and very sophisticated. We already have cheap cars in the form of used cars." The big promising markets could be China and Russia, he adds. While Tata Motors says exports of the Nano are two-three years away, there's already talk of jumping into the Chinese market.