At Last, a Cheaper Way to Pollute

October 12, 2007

In India, a $2,500 Pace Car

NEW DELHI, Oct. 11 — A revolution is taking place in India that could change what most of the world drives.

Next fall, the Indian automaker Tata Motors is scheduled to introduce its long-awaited People’s Car, with a sticker price of about $2,500. Hot on its tail may be as many as half a dozen new ultra-affordable vehicles — some from the world’s leading carmakers, including Toyota and RenaultNissan.

With a median age of just under 25 and a rapidly expanding middle class, India will overtake China next year as the fastest-growing car market, according to estimates by CSM Worldwide, an auto industry forecasting service.

To tap that emerging market, automakers are starting to respond to Indians’ desire for small and cheap cars. As a result, car companies are coming up with new ways to develop and build automobiles worldwide.

“Ask one billion people, and 99 percent of them are going to say they want a car,” said Jagdish Khattar, managing director of Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s largest car manufacturer. “The problem is, How many can afford it?”



“People’s Car?” That’s what Volkswagen means in German.

Leave it to the auto industry. Billions of potential customers and do they invent a small electric car? Not on your life. It’s gasoline, baby, at under $2,500 a pop.

That news at the end of a day that began with Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming.


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