Is the people's car a good idea?

The Indian Tata corporation have presented their new car the Tata Nano at a car show in New Delhi. The car is being described as as a people’s car due to it’s low price (100,000 rupees or $2,500). It will go on sale later this year. The main market for the car is to provide cheap motor transportation to developing countries. The Nano is a four-door five-seater car with no extras (no air conditioning, electric windows or power steering) and has a 33bhp, 624cc, engine at the rear.

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Simply looking at the specs above make me concerned. I would not like to be among the five people in this car when it gets hit by a truck.

Is producing a cheap people’s car really a good idea? While I am pretty sure that Tata Motors will sell lots of cars I did not mean this question as a risk analysis in a business venture.

Considering the experiences of all highly motorized countries the car has caused plenty of trouble. The implementation of a personalised transport technology means that it will become a natural part of the infrastructure. It will be used and the costs to the environment in the forms of pollution and overcrowding will be felt.

In addition to this the personal car has also changed the way in which we organize ourselves socially. Were we choose to work, live and socialize depends very much upon the transportation possibilities around us.
But is it fair for someone living in a motorized community to preach the environment and social change? Sure these are the downsides to adding to the amount of cars on the roads. But what about the needs of the people to travel in countries where cars are today an un-affordable luxury? Should the motorized societies be allowed to preach to the non-motorized from the driver seats of our SUV’s?

(via BBC online)

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