The Weekly Driver

Website • Podcast • Newsletter

Established 2004

VW made $600 car for China, but did world’s cheapest car vanish?

This is a prototype of what would have been the world's cheapest car.

A new cheap single-seat car, introduced several years via a prototype, was scheduled for release recently China and would have made the Tata Nano, the not-too-long ago world’s cheapest car, seem expensive.

Made in Hamburg, Germany, and shown only to Volkswagen stockholders in secrecy, the unnamed vehicle was said to 4,000 Yuan or the equivalent of $600. That’s about one-third of the cost of the original Tata Nano, the India-made vehicle that debuted via much publicity in 2009.

(But has anyone heard anything further about arguably one of oddest-looking vehicles in history?)

This is a protoype of a German-built one-seat car made for the Chinese market that would have bee the world's cheapest car.
This is a protoype of a German-built, one-seat car made for the Chinese market that would have been the world’s cheapest car.

The new vehicle, built in Germany, was predicted to travel 100 kilometers (62 miles) on one liter (28 ounces) of fuel, also making it the world’s most economical gas-powered car.

While featuring the VW brand insignia, the new world’s cheapest has tiny dimensions, too. It’s about 11 1/2-feet long and about 3 1/2 feet high.

Conceived about six years ago, the micro car has a fuel tank capacity of 1.7 gallons and maximum range of 404 miles. Its top speed is an estimated 74.6 mph, and the prototype is make of carbon fiber. It’s not painted to further eliminated weight.

The car’s engine is a one-cylinder diesel, positioned ahead of the rear axle and it’s combine with an automatic shift controlled by an interior-located knob.

Subscribe!

To get our weekly newsletter with automotive news and commentary delivered to your email inbox.