Tata plans to sell its "affordable" four-door vehicle at a sticker price of $2,500, or half the cost of the cheapest new car available in India today. As disposable incomes rise nationwide, the vehicle may lead India's 1.1 billion people closer to Western patterns of car consumption--and bring similar environmental and traffic problems, according to critics. In 2004, India had 145.9 persons per passenger car, and the United States had 2.2 persons per car.
"Can you imagine if even half of the 1.1 billion Indians owned a car?" Mahesh Mehta, an environmental lawyer based in New Delhi, noted in a recent Washington Post article. "We should not be following the Western model of car ownership. I think this will be disastrous in India." As an alternative to more cars, Mehta supports better public transportation to improve the Indian quality of life.
Read more in - More Cars or More Transportation Alternatives: What Will the World Choose?