World’s cheapest car debuts in India

World’s cheapest car debuts in India

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On this day in 2008, at the New Delhi Auto Expo in India, Tata Motors debuts the Nano, billing it as the world’s cheapest car: The anticipated price tag is around $2,500. Tata, India’s largest automaker, called the four-door, bubble-shaped mini-vehicle (it was just 5 feet wide and 10 feet long) the “People’s Car” and declared that it would be a vehicle for families who previously hadn’t been able to afford a car. (At the time, it wasn’t uncommon to see an entire family precariously packed onto a single motorbike.)

The Nano was originally scheduled to go on sale in October 2008; however, production delays arose because of a land dispute in West Bengal, where the car’s production plant was being built. The company opted to move its production facilities to another part of India and the Nano officially went on sale across the country in April 2009. The basic model carried a starting price of approximately $2,000 (not including taxes) and came without a radio, air conditioning, airbags, power steering or power windows. It had a body made of plastic and sheet metal and a 32-horsepower, 624cc two-cylinder rear-mounted engine, and it could reach speeds of 65 miles per hour. In another nod to cost-cutting, the car had just one windshield wiper.

Tata received more than 203,000 pre-orders for the Nano–a strong number, especially considering that at the time there were only about nine cars for every 1,000 people in India. However, because Tata was only able to produce an initial run of 100,000 Nanos, the cars’ first owners were chosen by lottery. The Nano was initially sold only in India, although Tata said it eventually intended to launch the car in other parts of the world.

Tata Motors is part of the Tata Group, one of India’s largest and oldest business conglomerates. And Tata does not just make inexpensive cars: In March 2008, the company purchased the venerable British brands Jaguar and Land Rover from the Ford Motor Company for $2.3 billion.

Cars priced at $15,000 in 1935 &rarr $107,922.86 in 2021

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for new cars were 619.49% higher in 2021 versus 1935 (a $92,922.86 difference in value).

Between 1935 and 2021: Cars experienced an average inflation rate of 2.32% per year . This rate of change indicates significant inflation. In other words, cars costing $15,000 in the year 1935 would cost $107,922.86 in 2021 for an equivalent purchase. Compared to the overall inflation rate of 3.50% during this same period, inflation for cars was lower.

Price Inflation for New cars since 1935

Consumer Price Index, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Raw Consumer Price Index data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for New cars:

Year 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
CPI 20.300 20.400 20.800 21.800 21.300 21.300 23.000 23.000 23.000 23.000 23.000 23.000 34.450 37.540 40.900 41.120 43.320 46.900 47.192 46.454 44.823 46.062 48.469 50.031 52.192 51.508 51.500 51.308 50.985 50.877 49.723 48.808 49.262 50.654 51.469 53.031 55.208 54.731 54.762 57.931 62.900 66.885 70.423 75.808 81.823 88.369 93.754 97.362 99.877 102.754 106.046 110.615 114.577 116.854 119.238 120.969 125.323 128.362 131.492 135.985 139.015 141.431 141.677 140.700 139.554 139.554 138.923 137.285 134.685 133.938 135.223 136.423 135.865 135.401 136.685 138.094 142.226 144.178 144.923 144.469 144.396 143.690 142.659 141.968 142.800 143.955 146.056

  • Petrol:
  • 1.2 L KappaI4
  • 1.25 L Kappa I4
  • 1.4 L Gamma I4
  • 1.6 L Gamma I4
  • Diesel:
  • 1.1 L U-LineCRDiI3
  • 1.4 L U-LineCRDi I4
  • 1.6 L U-LineCRDi I4

The Hyundai i20 uses a completely new platform that was created at Hyundai's European technical centre in Rüsselsheim to allow Hyundai to move into Europe's highly competitive subcompact B segment. A 2,525 mm (99.4 in) wheelbase helps endow the i20 with a generous passenger cabin. Suspension follows the supermini norm of MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam rear end, with rack and pinion steering.

A slightly upgraded version of the i20, called the iGen i20, went on sale in India in March 2012 onward with tweaked headlamps, new front grille, tail lamps, and fog lamps. It follows the "Fluidic Sculpture" design philosophy with slightly re tuned engines. A new next generation model, known as Elite i20 in India, was launched in India on 11 August 2014, and was launched in Europe in the 2014 Paris Motor Show. [4] [5]

The i20 was not sold in South Korea, North America, and the Philippines as those markets have the Accent. The i20 was discontinued in the Indonesian market in 2012 due to the introduction of the Accent hatchback, which is known there as the Grand Avega. [6]

The i20 was produced in Sriperumbudur (near Chennai), India for sale in Asia [7] and Oceania, [8] and later was also assembled in Turkey (İzmit plant) for the European market by CKD kits from India. [9]

Engines Edit

The i20 has a total of seven four cylinder engine options. Four are petrol, including the 1248 cc dohc 16 valve "Aditeya" engine, [ clarification needed ] while the rest are diesel engines. Two of the diesel engines are 1396 cc units, one with 75 PS (55 kW 74 hp) and 220 N⋅m (160 lb⋅ft) and the other a 90 PS (66 kW 89 hp) and 220 N⋅m (160 lb⋅ft) high power unit.

They are joined by two 1582 cc engines having the same dohc and 16 valve top end architecture, but delivering either 115 PS (85 kW 113 hp) and 156 N⋅m (115 lb⋅ft) of torque or 128 PS (94 kW 126 hp) and 157 N⋅m (116 lb⋅ft) of torque.

Hyundai claims that 115 PS (85 kW 113 hp) diesel unit can return a class leading 115g/km of CO2 per litre of diesel to go 23.25 km/L (65.7 mpg‑imp 54.7 mpg‑US) (4.3L/100 km) in the European combined driving cycle. [ citation needed ] All diesel engines and 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre petrol engines come mated to five speed manual transmission, there is an option of a four speed automatic for some 1.4-litre petrol engined models, the 1.6-litre is mated to a six speed manual transmission.

In the Indian market, the Hyundai i20 is powered by a 1.2-litre Kappa engine with 80 PS (59 kW 79 hp) power at 5200 rpm and 114 N⋅m (84 lb⋅ft) torque at 4,000 rpm. It also comes with a 1.4-litre gamma gasoline which has 100 PS (74 kW 99 hp) power at 5500 rpm and 139 N⋅m (103 lb⋅ft) torque at 4200 rpm, but is mated only to a four speed automatic transmission. The i20 CRDi diesel has 90 PS (66 kW 89 hp) at 4000 rpm and 224 N⋅m (165 lb⋅ft) torque between 1750 and 2750 rpm, and comes with a six speed manual transmission. [10]

In Australia, the i20 was originally offered as a 1.4 petrol with a $3500 option of the Gamma II G4FC 1.6 petrol engine. The 1.6 makes 91 kW at 6300rpm and 157Nm at 4200rpm. However, with the arrival of the new 1.6 powered Accent in the end of 2011, the 1.6L option on the i20 has been dropped.

In South Africa, the i20 was originally offered in 2009 with either 1.4 (G4FA) or 1.6 (G4FC) engines, with the 1.4 having an optional 4 speed automatic transmission. The facelift model was introduced in the second half of 2012 [11] with only the 1.4 gamma engine initially being offered (the 1.6 engine was discontinued), after which a 1.2 kappa engine, a 1.4 CRDi engine as well as a new 6 speed manual transmission for some 1.4 models was added to the range. [12]

Safety Edit

Euro NCAP test results
Hyundai i20 (2009) [13]
Test Points %
Adult occupant: 32 88%
Child occupant: 41 83%
Pedestrian: 23 64%
Safety assist: 6 86%

The Hyundai i20 earned a maximum five star safety rating from Euro NCAP [14] and scored six out of a maximum of seven points in the "safety assist" category, receiving top marks for its belt reminder and electronic stability programme which minimises the risk of skidding by braking individual wheels. [15] The i20 was named one of Euro NCAP's "top five safest cars for 2009", which was based on Euro NCAP's maximum five star awards and their overall score. [16]

The Hyundai i20 features starts with six airbags—for driver and passenger in the front along with side and curtain airbags for rear passengers, whilst the Antilock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) which helps to control in slippery surfaces.

Hyundai i20 has new additions in its safety features like rain sensing wipers and automatic darkness sensing headlamps, central locking, impact sensing auto door unlock, keyless entry along with front and rear fog lamps and advanced engine immobilizer.

10 Cheapest New Cars for 2021

The cheapest car on this list is under $15,000 and doesn't come standard with cruise control.

Were you looking for the intersection of excitement and horsepower? Sorry, that's the next town over. Welcome instead to the carpool lane of affordability. These models are zero-frill commuters that typically have cloth interior, smaller infotainment screens, and, in some cases, steel wheels. It's not all bad news. Despite their business casual look, they shine brighter than others in areas that matter for long-term use, like fuel efficiency, cargo room, or warranty offerings.

Compact sedans will make up the bulk of the cheapest vehicles in 2021, but, recently, compact-crossovers have started to trickle into the realm of sub-$330-a-month finance payment. Four of last year's cheapest cars&ndashthe Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, and Chevrolet Sonic&ndashhave ended production, opening space on this list for a new group of affordable cars, but that's also pushed the prices up. At $17,120, the Fit was last year's most expensive cheapest car. This year, the most expensive car here is $19,925 and the cheapest is more expensive than last year by $300. Even the Nissan Versa, which held the title for least expensive car sold in America for two years in a row has fallen to third after a heavy redesign for 2020. Although these rides might not have everything you want, they've all got what you need, and for a price many people can afford. Check out our list of the cheapest new trucks too.

The second-cheapest subcompact crossover in the United States is the Hyundai Venue. Its quirky looks make it standout in a segment full of clones. Powered by a 121-hp inline-four, the Venue is front-wheel-drive only, and only offered with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Despite being low on power, the Venue is 1.1 second quicker than the pricier Nissan Kicks and 2.4 seconds quicker than the Toyota C-HR. The infotainment and climate controls are simple and easy to use. Max cargo area with both rear seats folded is 32 cu ft, and 17 cu ft with the rear seats in use. During our highway fuel economy test we averaged 31 mpg, which is only slightly under what we were able to achieve in the smaller Hyundai Accent sedan.

  • Base price: $19,925
  • Fuel Economy EPA combined/city/highway: 31/30/33 mpg
  • Warranty: 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain, 5-year/60,000-mile limited, 3-year/36,000-mile complimentary maintenance

The cheapest Hyundai Veloster is a taste of what makes driving hatchbacks fun. Even though the base engine is a 147-hp inline-four, a big leap from the sportier Veloster N's 275-horsepower turbocharged inline-four, it's still an affordable three-door compact with sharp looks and nimble handling. The Veloster is front-wheel drive only, and the cheapest model comes with a six-speed manual. The inside of the Veloster is snug and its 20 cu ft of cargo space under the hatch isn't as spacious as the Volkswagen Golf, but it's roughly the same as what's available in the more expensive Mazda 3 hatchback. Its less powerful engine gets average fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined. Even though it has a meh interior and lacks scoot juice, the base Veloster is a bargain for those who enjoy driving.

These Are the 10 Cheapest Cars You Can Buy in 2021

If affordability is your priority in a new vehicle, cars—as opposed to trucks or SUVs—are your best option. The popularity of trucks, SUVs, and crossovers have tied their prices to their heights—meaning even the least expensive SUVs are pricier than equivalent entry-level cars. Yet while shoppers eyeing the cheap end of the car market may miss out on SUVs' adventurous image, these days, they'll miss out on little else save for ultimate size. That's because inexpensive modern cars are still modern cars, equipped in many cases with the latest safety gear and comfort and entertainment features. While some cheap cars are tiny subcompacts, others are usefully sized compacts—see Volkswagen's Jetta sedan or the new Nissan Sentra, the latter a finalist for MotorTrend's 2021 Car of the Year award.

So read on for the 10 cheapest cars you can buy in 2021, listed here in descending order to least expensive. Once you're done, be sure to check out our Ultimate Car Rankings covering the subcompact and compact-car segments represented here.

These Are The Cheapest And Costliest Vehicles To Keep Running For A Decade

You won't believe what it costs, on average, to maintain and keep a Porsche 911 in repair over a . [+] 10-year period.

Smart car buyers know that there’s a lot more to getting a great deal on a car, truck, or sport-utility vehicle than simply negotiating a lower transaction price. That can help temper monthly payments, but choosing a vehicle that suffers a higher than average rate of depreciation, requires costly insurance premiums, and demands too-frequent visits to the gas pump can cost a motorist plenty over the course of an extended ownership period.

While projected resale values, car insurance costs, and fuel economy ratings can be easily researched on the Internet, the cost of maintaining a given vehicle according to the automaker’s recommendations and keeping up with repairs once the warranty has expired can be a major question mark. Buying a vehicle that won’t pick your pocket on an ongoing basis at the repair shop is crucial if you’re shopping for an older used car or intend on keeping a vehicle for a decade or more, as these expenses tend to become greater as a model ages. According to the auto repair website annual maintenance costs increase only slightly from years one through 10 and then take a big jump in years 11 and 12.

We’re featuring lists of the 15 most and least-expensive vehicles to maintain and repair over a 10-year period, based on data provided to us by The rankings are based upon information that was culled from the records of 120,000 vehicles from one to 12 years old that were serviced during 2018. Most of these models remain current, though some have since been discontinued or replaced in their respective lines by newer vehicles. Keep in mind that these are national averages what you will pay will vary according to local wage rates and other factors.

The website found that compact or subcompact cars coming from Asian automakers are generally the least expensive to maintain and repair the course of 10 years. The most-affordable-to-keep cars come from Toyota/Lexus, Honda and Mitsubishi. They also tend to garner high marks for reliability, and it makes sense that a vehicle that spends less time in the repair shop will automatically cost less to keep running than one that’s more problematic. The cheapest models in this regard will cost an owner from around $3,000 to just over $4,000 to keep running for a decade.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, pricey luxury cars and finely engineered sports cars tend to be among the costliest rides to maintain and repair over the long term. Making regular visits to an upscale dealership’s service department can be truly expensive, whether for regular maintenance or unexpected component failures. After all, the cash to cover the costs of the espresso bar in a customer waiting room and free brand-new loaner cars has to come from somewhere. The highest-cost model here is indeed a red-hot sports car that’s estimated cost an owner nearly $20,000 to keep in top shape over a 10-year period. At that, some rather common cars that may not be especially expensive to fix can still drain one’s budget over the course of ownership if they make all-too-frequent visits to a mechanic.

While not included here, the costliest pickup truck to keep running for a decade is the Ram 1500 at $10,500, according to’s data.

And be aware that we’re not considering exotic sports cars and luxury models, where the sky can literally be the limit in terms of ongoing expenses. Of course, if one can afford the $3 million price tag for, say, a low-slung Bugatti Chiron sports car, it’s probably not much of a financial stretch to pay $20,000-$25,000 for an oil change, as has been reported, or $38,000 for a new set of tires.

Range Rover

What about the iconic Range Rover? As these legendary off-road kings aren't exactly cheap to fill in the first place. In the UK to fill the 104-litre tank would cost around £124.80. Whereas in Venezuela you'd still be able to fill one up for less than a £2 coin!

Or how about filling the Range Rover in the USA - where they love their trucks and SUVs. It's no wonder when this 4x4 beast would only cost £55.22, meaning it's almost the same as a Fiesta in the UK! In Hong Kong however, it would cost a wallet-emptying £179.30 to fill your Range Rover.

In some European countries, a Range Rover is like filling up a small supermini, with Russia seeing change out of £50, whilst Poland will see change out of £100.

Renault Cars

Renault car price starts at Rs 3.31 Lakh for the cheapest model which is Kwid and the price of most expensive model, which is Duster starts at Rs 9.84 Lakh. Renault offers 4 car models in India, including 1 car in SUV category, 1 car in Hatchback category, 1 car in MUV category, 1 car in Compact SUV category. Renault has 1 upcoming car in India, City K-ZE.

French automobile manufacturer Renault made their debut in the country as Renault India back in 2005. The company has its head office and factory based in Oragadam, Chennai. Renault was also the first foreign automobile manufacturer to set up a vehicle design studio in 2008 at Mumbai.

Currently, Renault India has a product portfolio that includes the Kwid, Duster, Lodgy and the Captur. The Fluence (now discontinued) was Renault’s first product to be launched in India. The brand is also working on a new product known as the Triber, which is a sub-four metre SUV offered in a 7 seat layout.

Renault’s manufacturing facility in Chennai can produce 4.80 lakh units per year. The company has more than 280 dealerships located across the country. Renault is said to be working on an electric variant of the Kwid, which was showcased as the City K-ZE at the 2019 Shanghai Motor Show held in April.

History of Hot Wheels

Elliot Handler, co-founder of Mattel, decided to produce a line of die-cast toy cars for boys. His idea was to capture a portion of the huge market for small car models dominated at that time by the British company Lesney Products with their Matchbox cars. Although his executives thought it was a bad idea, the cars were a big success. There were sixteen castings released in 1968, eleven of them designed by Harry Bentley Bradley, with the first one produced being a dark blue Custom Camaro. Although Bradley was from the car industry, he had not designed the full-functioning versions of the real cars, except the Dodge Deora concept car, which had been built by Mike and Larry Alexander. Another of his notable designs was the Custom Fleetside, which was based on his own heavily-customized '64 El Camino.

All sixteen of the cars featured 'Spectraflame' paintwork, bearings, redline wheels, and working suspension. Because 'Hot Pink' was considered a "girls color", it was not used very much on Hot Wheels cars. For most castings, it is the hardest color to find, and today can command prices ten times as high as more common colors.

In order for the cars to go fast on the plastic track, Mattel chose a cheap, durable, low-friction plastic called Delrin to use as a bushing between the axle and wheel. The result was cars that could go up to scale 200 mph. The bushings were phased out in 1970. The early years of Hot Wheels are known as the Redline Era as until 1977 the wheels had a red line etched around the tire rim.

The "Torsion Bar" suspension was simple, but flawed. Inside the car, the axles followed a "C"-like shape that was connected to the chassis. When pushed down, the axles would bend like a real car. However the axles were hard to install on the chassis while being assembled and would become detached from the lugs on the baseplate if very hard pressure was applied. The suspension was redesigned in 1970. Packaged along with the cars were metal badges showing an image of the car so fellow collectors could identify each other and compare collections.

It was the combination of all of these ingredients — speed via the low-friction wheel/axle assembly and racing tires, looks due to Spectraflame paint and mag wheels, plus the inclusion of very American themes such as hot-rod designs based on true American prototypes not seen in great numbers in the competition's product lines — that laid the groundwork for the incredible success story Hot Wheels were to become.

As it turned out, the Hot Wheels brand was a staggering success. (This accomplishment must be put in its historical perspective: Basically, the series "re-wrote the book" for small die-cast car models from 1968 onwards, forcing the competition at Matchbox and elsewhere to completely rethink their concepts, and to scamper to try to recover lost ground.) Harry Bentley Bradley did not think that would be the case and had quit Mattel to go back to the car industry. When the company asked him back, he recommended a good friend, Ira Gilford. Gilford, who had just left Chrysler, quickly accepted the job of designing the next Hot Wheels models. Some of Hot Wheels' greatest cars, such as the Twin Mill and Splittin' Image, came from Ira Gilford's drawing board. Larry Wood also joined the Hot Wheels team in 1969 to help with the increased demand. He'd left Ford and longed to return to southern California.

The success of the 1968 line was solidified and consolidated with the 1969 releases, with which Hot Wheels effectively established itself as the most important brand of small toy car models in the USA.

The Splittin' Image, Torero, Turbofire, and Twin Mill were part of the "Show & Go" series and are the very first original in-house designs by Hot Wheels. Altogether, 24 new vehicles were released.

The initial prototypes of the Beach Bomb were faithful to a real VW Bus's shape, and had two surfboards sticking out the back window. During the fledgling Hot Wheels era, Mattel wanted to make sure that each of the cars could be used with any of the play sets and stunt track sets. Unfortunately, testing showed that this early version (now known as Rear-Loader Beach Bomb, or RLBB) was too narrow to roll effectively on Hot Wheels track or be powered by the Super Charger, and was too top-heavy to negotiate high-speed corners.

Hot Wheels Designers Howard Rees and Larry Wood modified the casting, extending the side fenders to accommodate the track width, as well as providing a new place on the vehicle to store each of the plastic surfboards. The roof was also cut away and replaced by a full-length sunroof, to lower the center of gravity. Nicknamed "Side-loader" by collectors, this was the production version of the Beach Bomb.

The Rear-Loader Beach Bomb is widely considered the Holy Grail of any Hot Wheels collection. An unknown number were made as test subjects and given to Mattel employees, and today there are only about 25 known to exist. A regular production Beach Bomb may be worth up to $600, depending on condition. Market prices on RLBBs however, have easily reached the five-figure plateau. Within the last decade, one of two existing hot pink RLBBs sold for reportedly above $70,000 to a well-respected and widely known Hot Wheels collector. The Hot Wheels Collectors Club released a new, updated version of the rear loading Beach Bomb in 2002 as a limited edition. There was some reproduction RLBB made by brightvision not by Mattel and there was even another cheap knock of the brightvision casting.


1970 was another great year for Hot Wheels. This was also the year that Sizzlers appeared. Howard Rees, who worked with Ira Gilford, had grown tired of designing cars in late 1969. He wanted to work on the Major Matt Mason action figure toy line-up. Rees had a good friend by the name of Larry Wood. They had worked together at Ford designing cars. When Wood found out about Hot Wheels at a party Rees was holding, Rees offered Wood the job of designing Hot Wheels. Wood agreed, and by the end of the week, Larry Wood was working at Mattel. His first design would be the Tri-Baby.

Another designer, Paul Tam, joined Larry and Ira. Paul's first design for Hot Wheels was the Whip Creamer. Tam continued to work for Mattel until 1973. Among the many futuristic designs Tam thought up for Hot Wheels, some of the collector's favorites include Evil Weevil (a Volkswagen with two engines), Open Fire (an AMC Gremlin with six wheels), Six Shooter (another six wheeled car), and the rare Double Header (co-designed with Larry Wood).

1972 and 1973 marked a slump for Hot Wheels few new castings were produced, and in 1973 most cars changed from Mattel's in house "Spectraflame™" colors to less-shiny solid enamel colors, which mainline Hot Wheels cars still use today. Due to low sales, and the fact that many of the castings were not re-used in later years, the 1972-3 models are known to be very collectible.

In 1974, Hot Wheels began using the slogan "Flying Colors", and added flashy decals and tampo-printed paint designs, which helped revitalize sales. As with the low-friction wheels in 1968, this innovation was revolutionary in the industry, and — although far less effective in terms of sales impact than in 1968 — was copied by the competition, who did not want to be outmaneuvered again by Mattel product strategists. In 1975, Hot Wheels introduced its first motorcycles.

In 1977, the Redline Wheel was phased out, with the red lines being erased from the wheels. This cut costs, but also reflected that the red lines popularized during the era of muscle cars and Polyglas tires were no longer current.


What happened in the 1980s for Hot Wheels sent them in the path of what they are today. In 1981, Hot Ones wheels were introduced, which had gold-painted hubs and thinner axles for speed. In 1983 McDonald's first released Hot Wheels in their Happy Meals and the same year the Hot Wheels production plant was moved to Malaysia. In 1983, A new style of wheel called Real Riders were introduced, which had real rubber tires. Despite the fact that they were very popular, the Real Riders line was short-lived, because of high production costs. Mexico and France begin production of Hot Wheels. Ultra Hots wheels, which looked like the wheels found on a Renault Fuego or a Mazda 626, were introduced in 1984 and had other speed improvements. Hot Wheels started offering models based off of 80's economy cars, like the Pontiac Fiero or Dodge Omni 024. In 1985, Hot Wheels first appeared in Kellogg's cereal boxes. In the late 80s, the Blue Card was introduced, which would become the basis of Hot Wheels cars still used today. Also, the first Hot wheels collector's convention was held in Toledo, Ohio.


Special Van de Kamp's promo from 1997.

In 1990, Hot Wheels first introduced helicopters. Later in the decade, in 1995, a major change was brought to the Hot Wheels line, where the cars were split up into series. One was the 1995 Model Series, which included all of that year's new castings, 12 Models in the Model Series. 4-car series were introduced also. In 1996, the Model Series was renamed to First Editions. 1995 also saw the introduction of the Treasure Hunt series. The rest of the series included four cars with paint schemes that followed a theme. For example, the Pearl Driver cars all had pearlescent paint. Sales for the series models soared, causing stores across the nation to have shortages. Several new wheel designs were also introduced. 1995, 1996 and 1997 featured 12 new releases each year, while 1998 released 40 and 1999 relaesed 26.

In 1996 Hot Wheels released one of the hottest surprise castings to ever come out of Mattel's factory. The Volkswagen Drag Bus designed by Phil Riehlman. if you look on the bottom, at the rear differential, you'll see see his initials P R. This casting is the heaviest casting made to date.

In 1999 Hot Wheels Racing signed a licensing deal with five Formula 1 teams to manufacture scale model Formula 1 cars. Ώ]

A new generation of Hot Wheels Designers came in. Eric Tscherne and Fraser Campbell along with former designer Paul Tam's son, Alec Tam, joined the design team. Many still work for Mattel today. Tscherne's Seared Tuner (formerly Sho-Stopper) graced the mainline packaging from 2000 to 2003. The Deora II, designed by Nathan Proch was released and remains one of only two Hot Wheels concept cars ever made into full-size, functional cars. The Virtual Collection was introduced the same year.

During this year Mattel issued 240 mainline releases consisting of 12 Treasure Hunts, 36 First Editions, 12 Segment Series with 4 cars each, and 144 open stock cars. Popular models that debuted include the Hyper Mite and Fright Bike.

For 2002, the mainline the consisted of 12 Treasure Hunts, 42 First Editions, 15 segment series of 4 cars each, and 126 open stock cars. Popular new models included the `68 Cougar and the Nissan Skyline.

Hot Wheels celebrated its 35th anniversary with a full-length computer animated Hot Wheels movie called Hot Wheels Highway 35 World Race. A collector program was also developed.

The movie tied into the Highway 35 line of cars that featured 30 classic Hot Wheels cars. 5 new models joined the lineup, Switchback, Zotic, Wild Thing, 1/4 Mile Coupe and 24/7 The special Highway 35 cars were grouped into 5 teams with special graphics and co-molded wheels. The animation was shown briefly on Cartoon Network in the US and was available in some products.

Another celebrating moment was the creation on the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California. Debuting at this event was the full size running, one of a kind, Deora II. It was built by Chip Foose and Mothers Polishes and Waxes to celebrate Hot Wheels and was also show at SEMA that year. The making of this car was featured on the TLC show RIDES.

Also in commemoration of Hot Wheels' 35th anniversary, recording artist and Hot Wheels supporter Rick Tippe was commissioned by Mattel to write a song about Hot Wheels. CD singles featuring the song were given out in grab bags at the 35th Anniversary Convention in California.

42 new vehicles were released this year.

In 2004, Hot Wheels unveiled their "Hot 100" line, comprised of 100 new models. These new models included cartoonish vehicles such as the 'Tooned (vehicles based on the larger Hot Tunerz line of Hot Wheels created by Eric Tscherne), Blings (boxy bodies and big wheels), Hardnoze (enlarged fronts), Crooze (stretched out bodies), and Fatbax (super-wide back tires and short bodies). These vehicles did not sell as well as Mattel expected, and many could still be found in stores throughout 2005.

Mattel also released 2004 First Editions cars with unpainted Zamac bodies. These "chase" pieces were sold exclusively through Toys 'R' Us and were made in limited numbers.

A 101st vehicle, the Customized VW Drag Truck marked as #000 was offered, via, to entice collectors to get all of the new models.

In 2005, Hot Wheels continued with new "extreme" castings for the 2nd year, debuting 40 distorted cars, in addition to 20 "Realistix" models. The distorted cars included Drop Tops (the top of the vehicle is flattened), Blings (Returned for second year), Torpedoes (Thin-shaped "torpedo" vehicles), and X-Raycers (See-through vehicles). The rest of the line included the standard 12 Treasure Hunts, 10 Track Aces, 50 Segment Series Cars, and 50 Open Stock Models. Four Volkswagen "Mystery Cars" were offered as a special mail-in promo. Each Mystery Car came with a special voucher. Upon collection of all 4 vouchers, one was able to send away for a special 13th Treasure Hunt, a VW Drag Bus.

Hot Wheels also unveiled its new "Faster than Ever" line of cars. These had special nickel-plated axles along with bronze-colored Open-Hole 5 Spoke wheels. The axles especially, reduced friction resulting in cars that are "Faster than Ever." The first run of these cars were available for a limited time only, from the beginning of October towards the end of November 2005.

Also in 2005 Hot Wheels launched a second animated feature, Hot Wheels AcceleRacers. It began two years after Vert Wheeler won the World Race. It was featured in four movies that again ran at key points in the year on Cartoon Network. Many short segments were created and shown on the web with the drivers (grouped into teams: Teku, Metal Maniacs, the evil Racing Drones, and the stealthy Silencerz) handling many different racing conditions in "realms". All of the shorts and previews of the movies were placed on a temporary website that was deleted shortly after the last movie. All Acceleracers cars were developed with optimized track performance as a key feature. This lead to plastic bodies with Zamac chassis throughout the AcceleRacers lineup.

The 2006 releases consisted of 38 First Editions (all realistically proportioned), 12 Treasure Hunts, 12 Track Aces, 60 Segment Series, 96 Open Stock Models and 5 Mystery Cars. At this point Mattel shelved most of the odd cartooned tooling and it rarely is used since.

Some limited editions produced in 2006 include a Honda Civic Si sporting a Dropstars logo that was only available at the 2005 SEMA convention and the CUL8R with Faster Than Ever (FTE) wheels which was only available by mail. 2006 is also the year that Sizzlers were re-released as Target Exclusives.

Mattel released 36 New Models (formerly First Editions), 12 Treasure Hunts (with a hard-to-find regular version and even rarer "super" version of each), ΐ] 12 Teams of 4 cars each (formerly Segment Series), 24 Code Cars (codes imprinted on underside of the car that can be used to unlock web content), 12 Track Stars (formerly Track Aces), 24 Mystery Cars (packaged on a card with a blacked-out blister, so the buyer cannot see which car is inside without opening it), and 24 All Stars (formerly Open Stock).

In late 2006, a new package design for 2007 was released. Some 2006 cars and all 2007 cars released were packaged on a blister card with the new design.

In 2008, Hot Wheels released 40 New Models. 12 Treasure Hunts, with Super Hunt variants and an assortment of Team Cars and other mainline releases.

2008 was Hot Wheels 40th anniversary and to celebrate a number of promotions and products came to be. To start it off, SEMA 2007 (Nov.) Design Director,Alec Tam debuted the Designers Challenge vehicles featuring designs from real automotive studios like Mitsubishi, Ford, Chevrolet, Lotus and Honda. 3 current or former HW designers had models represented. Steve Gilmore (Ford) and Gary Ragle (Mitsubishi) had formerly interned with the Hot Wheels Design Team and their submissions made the cut. Jun Imai's HW40 was kept under warps until the show.

Also in 2008, Hot Wheels featured a cross country tour with Larry Wood as the prime face of the event. Other HW pesonalities joined Larry at stops in Bonneville, Watkins Glen, Detroit, Indianapolis and Speed, Kansas.

42 New Models were announced and it is expected that 12 Treasure Hunts will again be slated for launch. A number of mainline repaints and Team Cars will join them.

2009 Also saw the end of an era. Chief Designer Larry Wood retired after 40 years, effective January 2nd. It was largely ceremonial to have him reach the number 40 but Larry continues to be involved in the hobby and consult with the Designers. 40 years seemed fitting coinciding with the brand celebrating the same milestone the year previous.

Mattel released its first everكD CGI animated episodic television series called Hot Wheels Battle Force 5. The US-version of the series was debut on Cartoon Network on August 29, 2009.

Hot Wheels introduces its first line of Character Cars with the launch of Toy Story Character Cars that year.  Since the launch, Hot Wheels has created tons iconic entertainment characters.

As part of the Hot Wheels Fearless at the 500 event, Rallycross driver Tanner Foust (shown right) successfully lands a ramp-to-ramp distance jump of 332 feet. Foust smashes the previous world record by an impressive 31 feet at the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.

Top 5 picks for online car buying sites

To determine our top picks, we started by comparing 17 popular online car buying sites and narrowing the list down to only the sites that offer a wide selection of vehicles at different price points. We also considered average reviews and ratings from verified consumers on ConsumerAffairs, only including car buying sites that had at least 14 5-star reviews in the past 12 months. Finally, we excluded any companies that don’t provide financing and customer service that’s available at least five days a week.

  • 100-day/4,189-mile limited warranty
  • 7-day return policy
  • Fixed prices
  • No minimum credit score for financing
Read reviews

We like that Carvana performs a 150-point inspection to make sure each vehicle is fit for purchase. The company has a policy against selling cars that have been in an accident, and it runs a CARFAX report on each vehicle to confirm this. You don’t get a traditional test drive, but you do get a week to return the car for any reason.

Generally, positive Carvana reviews mention how easy it is to buy and register a vehicle through the site. Some Carvana complaints mention changes to delivery date scheduling.

The prices on Carvana are fixed, so there’s no haggling. As you browse, listings have 360-degree photos to simulate the experience of seeing the car in person. Cars are sourced from auctions, trade-ins, dealerships and private sellers.

If you're near a Carvana vending machine, you can pick up your car for free. Alternatively, you can have your car shipped to you, though free shipping isn’t available for every vehicle. Shipping and delivery typically take less than 48 hours.

  • 90-day/4,000-mile limited warranty
  • 7-day return policy
  • Fixed prices
  • Financing available for most credit profiles

Like Carvana, CarMax offers a wide selection of new and used vehicles at fixed, no-haggle prices. The company has both curbside pickup and home delivery services in many locations. The site makes it simple to find different autos by make, model, features, mileage and number of previous owners. Vehicle history reports are provided through AutoCheck.

CarMax offers an easy preapproval process for those who want to finance their purchase. It takes about 20 minutes, and the loan offer is good for three days. Most credit profiles can qualify. If needed, a co-borrower can sign on the finance application.

Shipping fees vary by location. Local shipping is free and takes about three days if you live near a CarMax location. It takes longer if the car must be delivered from another store. You can find information about shipping fees to your location on each car’s detail page.

Positive CarMax reviews describe good deals and helpful customer service. People seem to like the user-friendly site and the helpful sales staff. However, CarMax complaints sometimes describe long wait times to receive cars after purchase. For more, check out how CarMax stacks up to Vroom and Carvana.

  • Warranties vary by car
  • No return policy
  • Negotiable pricing
  • Financing available through LendingTree
Read reviews

You may be familiar with Autotrader as a popular print magazine. More recently, Autotrader has been expanding its digital presence in the online car market. Like the magazine, the website doesn’t facilitate the sale of cars but connects buyers with a range of options.

The website offers an intuitive search engine that lets you filter cars through dozens of criteria to pinpoint the exact vehicle you’re looking for in your budget. Autotrader also offers an app for Apple and Android phones that lets you search for cars, save cars to your favorites and connect with sellers.

Overall, Autotrader makes it easy to browse new and used cars that are available from dealerships and private sellers. Positive Autotrader reviews frequently mention finding a good price. Some customers have been using Autotrader to buy cars for decades, long before it launched as an online marketplace.

  • Offers add-on warranties
  • No return policy
  • Verifies vehicle histories
  • Offers financing for most cars on its site

TRED is a person-to-person used car marketplace. Its website helps you search for used vehicles, compare prices, communicate with sellers, schedule test-drives, apply for financing and set up delivery. You can also sell your current car on TRED.

While buying directly from another person can seem intimidating, TRED verifies the vehicles sold on its site by conducting identity checks on buyers and sellers and confirming the car’s ownership and accident history. All payments are made through TRED, so you can rest assured that your money ends up in the right hands.

  • No warranties
  • 7-day, 250-mile return policy
  • Nonnegotiable pricing
  • Offers Financing through OpenRoad Lending

TrueCar offers new and used cars online. With TrueCar’s new-car shopping program, you choose the vehicle make and model that you want and, optionally, filter for specific details. TrueCar then outputs a market average price estimate, the MRSP, your estimated savings and any vehicles for sale in your area that match your description. TrueCar’s used-car shopping program is similar, allowing you to choose the car make and model that you’re interested in before showing you local results.

TrueCar also offers a trade-in program. You can enter details about your car on its website to receive an instant trade-in estimate. TrueCar then helps you find local dealers that may be interested in your vehicle.

The future of electric cars

It’s hard to tell where the future will take electric vehicles, but it’s clear they hold a lot of potential for creating a more sustainable future. If we transitioned all the light-duty vehicles in the U.S. to hybrids or plug-in electric vehicles using our current technology mix, we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 30-60 percent, while lowering the carbon pollution from the transportation sector by as much as 20 percent.

To help reach these emissions savings, in 2012 President Obama launched the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge -- an Energy Department initiative that brings together America’s best and brightest scientists, engineers and businesses to make plug-in electric vehicles more as affordable as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022. On the battery front, the Department’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory is working to overcome the biggest scientific and technical barriers that prevent large-scale improvements of batteries.

And the Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is advancing game-changing technologies that could alter how we think of electric vehicles. From investing in new types of batteries that could go further on a single charge to cost-effective alternatives to materials critical to electric motors, ARPA-E’s projects could transform electric vehicles.

In the end, only time will tell what road electric vehicles will take in the future.

Watch the video: Nano, worlds cheapest car, gets final tune-up


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