Last year, I applauded Tata’s efforts to make a sub-$2,500 car. Fellow blogger and designer Rohan at Rainscape informs me from his base in India that that is going to happen. A 1,000-acre greenﬁeld site is being built near Calcutta, and even Renault’s Carlos Ghosn has said that he would like to get in on the act, too, with another Indian company, Bajaj Auto.
As I said in 2006, it could revolutionize Asian transportation—and one hopes that it might have something other than an internal combustion engine choking up more of the atmosphere. It seems wise for Tata to try to revolutionize transportation with something more rugged than a Sinclair C5, and I believe it’s in Renault’s best interests to examine the case, too, eventually growing consumers toward Dacia Logans and more expensive models. It might even have export potential.
The latest reports are that Volkswagen is going to show a cheap rear-engined car (sounds familiar) at the IAA in Frankfurt am Main this year called the City Expert, slotting in below the Fox in Brazil and effectively replacing the old Fusca, and even BMW is thinking of a microcar, going back to its Isetta times.
The Japanese aren’t considering this. Honda and Suzuki believe they would sacriﬁce their brands’ quality to enter the ﬁeld—quite a reversal considering their roots in 360 cm³ vehicles many years ago. General Motors is not thinking about it, either, instead introducing the Daewoo Tosca to the Indian market as a Chevrolet. That is well and good, but Indian and Chinese consumers who may buy the Tata could well stay brand-loyal. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:14
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