Lower cost cars are to finally hit the Chinese market. In a strategy previously followed by India’s Tata Motors, Zotye Auto based in Yongkang, Zhejiang Province, launched its basic model called Jiangnan Alto on November 9, with a retail price of 18,800 yuan ($2,838).

The company plans to focus sales of the Jiangnan Alto in China’s inland regions, including Hunan, Hebei, Shanxi, Sichuan, Shandong, Jilin, Shanxi, Henan provinces, and in rural areas. It is the first domestically made car sold below 20,000 yuan in China, costing only 2,000 yuan more than the world’s cheapest car, Tata Motor’s Nano, referred to as “The People’s Car.” An average mid-range family car costs around 150,000 yuan in Beijing Friday.

Equipped with a 0.8-liter engine, the Jiangnan Alto’s basic model has a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour. The whole body measures 3.3 meters long, 1.465 meters wide, and 1.41 meters high. The wheelbase of the vehicle is 2.175 meters.

Though the present basic model does not yet meet Beijing’s vehicle discharge standards, Zotye Auto is in the process of upgrading the vehicle to meet the capital’s emission regulations. The whole series of Alto vehicles will be made available in the Beijing market at the same price as elsewhere.

An insider at Zotye Auto said the vehicle is selling at a loss at present. The Alto series was previously produced by joint-venture enterprise Changan Suzuki, but Zotye has bought the whole vehicle intellectual property rights and it is now manufactured in Changsha, Hunan Province.

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