First Tata Nano rolls out of new Sanand factory on June 2, 2010, with founder Ratan Tata at leftEnlarge Photo
The Tata Nano was created by Tata Motors to provide inexpensive and reliable transportation for India’s growing middle class. One problem, though: the Indian middle class wants to buy aspirational cars that say, “we’ve made it,” not inexpensive cars that say “we’re too frugal to buy a Suzuki Alto or a Hyundai i10.”
By being cheap and practical, the Tata Nano ceases to be desirable. The Wall Street Journal reports that one enterprising Indian jewelry store chain has found a way around that: by covering a Tata Nano with 176 pounds of gold, 33 pounds of silver plus assorted gemstones, Goldplus has created the world’s most expensive Tata Nano.
The value of the bling-bedecked Nano? A cool 225.17 million Indian rupees, or the equivalent of $4.7 million, based on the current exchange rate. That kind of money buys you a Bugatti Veyron, a loaded Chevy Volt to balance out your carbon credit deficit, and a really, really nice house to store them in.
In fact, we can’t envision a single instance where buying a gold-laden Nano makes sense, fiscal or otherwise. You wouldn’t want to drive it, since adding over 200 pounds of precious metal isn’t going to help with the Nano’s already sloth-like acceleration, or it’s unsafe-at-any-speed handling and braking ability.
You certainly can’t park it anywhere, since even a thirty second trip to the 7-11 would likely devalue the car by a few hundred thousand dollars, as curious onlookers help you reduce the car’s curb weight by taking souvenirs.
While other creations from Goldplus (like the six-foot-diameter gold bangle cast to be the world’s largest) have been melted for scrap, the company hopes someone will buy the golden Nano as a family heirloom. While it does avoid the stigma of being just another cheap Nano, we hope that Goldplus reconsiders smelting the car (which has a reputation for doing this on its own); just because you can cover something with gold and jewels doesn’t mean you should.