Saturday, May 20, 2006
Indian motor maker gives the go-ahead for £1,200 'people's car'
Randeep Ramesh in New DelhiSaturday May 20, 2006 The Guardian
One of India's biggest motor manufacturers announced ambitious plans yesterday to launch a cheap, small "people's car" in 2008 for about £1,200.
Tata Motors, a subsidiary of one of the country's largest conglomerates, said it would invest 10 billion rupees (£120m) in the plant near Kolkata in West Bengal. Initially the plant will employ 2,000 people.
The "people's car" has been a dream of the company's chairman, Ratan Tata, for many years. In the past, Mr Tata has talked about a vehicle that would "bridge the gap between cars and scooters" for 3 million people a year in India.
The cost of the car, a four-door, small-capacity engine vehicle, will be around 100,000 rupees (£1,200). This is less than half the price of the next cheapest car on the road in India, making it affordable for those who at present buy motorbikes.
"Families who presently all ride through the heat and dust on a two-wheeler will have an alternative in the form of a car for the first time," said Ravi Kant, managing director of Tata Motors.
There has been recent speculation that Tata is considering buying DaimlerChrysler's four-seater Smart car. Executives at Tata refused to comment on the reports.