Monday, February 23, 2009

India's Model T

Tata Motors' 33 horsepower Nano hits the road in April. Billed as the world's most economical car, the Nano will cost only $2,500. For that, there are no airbags, no Ipod docks, no shoulder belts in the back seat, no passenger-side mirrors. Hand crank windows, plastic bumpers, glued-together seams in places that on other cars are welded.

But, it's safer than a scooter. It'll get you to work on Monday and across town on Sunday to visit Grandma. And it's green, boasting a 50 mpg rating.

No wait a minute, the Greenies are complaining. In fact, "having nightmares". This means more cars on the road. So many that the Nanos will counteract any improvements made by industrial nations to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Too bad for the Greenies. A billion-with-a-"b" members in the new middle classes of India and China will likely not be denied the freedom and economic opportuny afforded car owners. After all:
Rich Westerners, says Tata Motors boss Ravi Kant, “ask about congestion and pollution and global warming. I ask them, ‘Sir, will you stop using your car and take the bus?’”

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