Indian Car Maker Tata Unveils $4.6 Million Gold-plated Nano [Video]

A Tata Nano, which usually sells for $3,000 has been converted into one of the most expensive cars in the world, after it’s been plastered with $4.6 million worth of gold and jewelry.

The ‘world’s cheapest car’ may now well be the world’s most expensive. But it’s not the Indian car itself that’s the costly part – just what is pasted on it.

To celebrate 5000 years in the jewellery industry, titan Industries-owned Goldplus has launched the world’s first ever pure gold jewellery car – GoldPlus-Tata Nano!

The one-off version was unveiled in a publicity stunt at the Tata Theater in Mumbai yesterday by Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata, who recently bought Jaguar Land Rover to add to his collection of car companies.

Nearly 80 kilograms of gold (22 karat, of course), 15 kilograms of silver and 10,000 semi-precious and precious stones – including rubies, pearls, emeralds, and the black beads worn by Hindu brides in a necklace – were used in the making of this special version of the Tata Nano – pretty crazy, right?!

“As many as 14 techniques of jewellery making have gone behind the effort — from the intricate filigree work to the delicate and colorful meenakari work, the stunning kundan to the traditional naqashi, marking the convergence of diverse and culturally distinct jewellery making techniques from around India,” the official told.

The original Nano – hailed as the world’s cheapest car at around $3000 – was launched three years by the huge Indian industrial group, Titan, and its chairman Ratan Tata.

Aimed at emerging middle class, the original Nano that launched with a 100,000-long customer waiting list in 2008 has seen sales plummet. In August the Mumbai-based group shipped just 1,202 units, down 88 per cent from April’s 10,012 units.

Analysts blame the Nano’s poor safety record as several incidents of the cars spontaneously bursting into flames were widely reported. Its existing Nano customers were offered a safety upgrade to its electrical and exhaust systems.

When it comes to over-the-top marketing efforts, this is not a first for Goldplus. A few years ago, it made the world’s largest bangle. That was a little over 6 feet in diameter and used up 25 kg of gold. It was displayed in Goldplus stores and brought in 300,000 customers to gawk, according to the company.

The jewelry car will be on the road (not literally) for the next six months as the company displays it in the towns where it operates. A few lucky (or shameless) customers will get to sit in it for photo ops. Look up close and there’s no denying the workmanship and beauty of the individual pieces. But take it altogether and you really need dark sunglasses.

Titan Industries managing director Bhaskar Bhat said that since eternity, jewellery made with gold and precious stones has been an integral part of the Indian woman’s life.

C.K. Venkataraman, the chief operating officer of the jewelry division of Titan Industries, hopes someone will buy the unique car: “500 years from now that would be quite a family heirloom, wouldn’t it?”

“Indian jewellery has been an epitome of innovation and creativity, and carved a niche worldwide for itself for the intricacy of the designs crafted out of the precious metals and stones,” he added. [via Wall Street Journal]

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