Monday, July 18, 2011

$878 for a house ...from the maker of the world's cheapest car

Jul 18, 2011

NEW DELHI: The Indian company that launched the world's cheapest car has unveiled its latest product for the fast-growing country: A flat-pack house that costs about US$720 (S$878) and can be built in a week.

The Tata group, maker of the US$2,500 Nano car, said that the 215 sq ft home comes from a pre-fabricated kit that includes doors, windows and a roof.

[215 sq ft and takes a week to build? shouldn't a flat packed Ikea home take no more than a day to erect? this is smaller than a 3-rm flat and about half the size of a mickey mouse apartment. I'm guess it has no toilet facilities within. That's sold separately.

But what do youi expect for a $878 house? That's cheaper than a topline iPad. This is myPad.]

'We have already prepared two, three different designs based on discussions with users and are gathering more feedback,' Mr Sumitesh Das, the head of the project at Tata, told reporters in Hyderabad.

'Hopefully, in the next six to eight months, we should be able to roll it out in the market nationally.'

The basic model of a so-called Nano house will cost US$720, and will use coconut fibre or jute for wall cladding and interiors. It can last for 20 years.

The house, which is being tested in the state of West Bengal, will also be available in a larger 322 sq ft version, and with additional features such as a solar panel for the roof and a verandah.

[A verandah? Now you can have a barbeque! :-)]

Tata hopes to sell the house to private buyers who have a plot of land available, and also to state governments planning mass residential schemes for India's millions of destitute and homeless.

Mr Das said Tata was using advice from panchayats, or village councils, to fine-tune the design.

The Nano car drew worldwide attention when it was launched in 2009, but sales figures have not met expectations due to production delays and safety issues.


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