Tata Motors, India's largest automaker, unveiled today what could become the Ford Model T for the 21st century, the $2,550 car.
Marketed in India as the â€œone-lakhâ€ (100,000 Rupee = $2,550) car, with a two-cylinder 623 cc gasoline engine, the world is reacting to what has been touted as a â€œpeople's carâ€ for the developing world.
The announcement is making waves in India with the country's Commerce Minister calling it â€œa proud moment for India.â€ But not everyone is so enthused with the idea of hundreds of thousands of inexpensive vehicles flooding the market.
â€œThe ultra-cheap small cars in the pipeline will tilt the skewed balance against public transport and two-wheelers irretrievably,â€ argues Anumita Roychowdhury of the Centre of Science and Environment, an environmental advocacy group in New Delhi. â€œThe result will be an urban congestion nightmare and an unsustainable fuel load.â€
Be that as it may, at only 10 feet long, a maximum speed of about 60 miles per hour and getting about 50 miles per gallon, the Tata may have some appeal outside its home country. Especially considering SmartCars have achieved a modicum of success in Europe and United States, despite the most basic model costing nearly five times as much as the Tata Nano.