Thursday, July 20, 2006

Inspiration: series 1

This is the first of a line of inspiration series that would focus on cars that share the same spirit as the NaijaCar. This series would shed light on a car that's almost totally forgotten, the Chrysler Composite Vehicle (CCV) concept shown to the world in 1997. The objective was to design a car for China that would be cheap to build, easy to maintain and cope with rough roads. The striking thing about this car is an entire chasis made of plastic as indicated in the concept's name. The benefits of this is a car that weighs just 545kg. The manufacturing costs are also drastically reduced. The car is composed of 1100 components compared to 4000 for a regular steel car and assembly time of 6.5hrs vs 19hrs. Chrysler estimated the car to cost $6000. I like the car's simplistic design. Looks like a modern day Citroen 2CV. The engine was an air-cooled 2 cylinder 800cc. It saved weight by using a rollup fabric roof as well. There are clever touches all around the car's design. Spartan it may be, but it looked good being a basic transportation. It's just sad to see the car not make production as the idea was scrapped after DaimlerBenz took over Chrysler in 1998.
No company has followed Chrysler's footsteps since then, nonetheless analyzing the cars specifications opened my mind on the possibilities of affordable mobility without relying on outdated production assembly like PAN( Peugeot Association of Nigeria) is doing with the Peugeot 504.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TATA's $2200 car moving ahead

Mid last year, Tata's CEO ratan Tata announced that they are developing a people's car for India and it would sell for aorund $2200. Now they seem to be moving ahead with production starting in 2008. This is very exciting because Tata is abandoning any western preconcieved notions and taking a radical approah. Using an onsite dealership assembly. Many of it's competitors especially maruti say the feat is impossible. I thoght the same myself, until closer examination revealed that this does not only make sense, it would be the next manufacturing revolution since the Flexible factory assembly pioneered by the Japanese that allows different cars to be built on the same assembly line. Some in india are wondering if people will buy. I personally think such a strategy is excellent for naijacar to emulate.