The road to heaven or hell?

Good morning, the top stories on the BBC web site today are the suicide bomb in Pakistan, President Bush’s meeting with Palestinian President Abbas and the launch of Tata Motors’ “1 Lakh Car”.

The cheapest car is the most-read and most-emailed story on the site right now, and we’ve got comments coming in, so we’ll stick with our hunch yesterday that Martin’s idea from Monday would be the way to go today. So kudos to Martin – much better at predictions than pollsters in New Hampshire.

To get your juices flowing here are a few blogs commenting on the Tata Nano: Marc Sez “Every bugger will buy one and we’ll have a nice traffic jam covering the entire city” but Vinayak, the Cricket Guru calls today a “Red Letter Day for India” and says the car “could change the face of auto industry for ever”.

“Where are all the roads?” asks Sushubh at the top of a list of questions on Insanity Rediscovered while 2point6billion.com says the car is sure to be a hit in a country that buys 1 million new cars every year. What do you think about the Nano – would you like to buy one?

11 Responses to “The road to heaven or hell?”

  1. January 10, 2008 at 10:59

    Marc is right about that. If the car is a big hit which am sure it will be, then there will be congestion in all the major cities in India. The state of traffic is already horrible and only going to get worse.

  2. 2 Brett
    January 10, 2008 at 12:57

    I find it quite interesting that developed nations are now interested in debating Indias access to automobiles. Of course everyone that can afford an automobile has the right to buy one. Why disadvantage others because you want to save the environment while you, yourselves, living in nations like the US which have households that own 2, 3 and 4 cars; Often times more than one per person, many of which are enormous gas guzzling SUVs, certainly not small, light, 33hp cars.
    It could be argued that if this car caught on, the sheer size of Indias population would surpass the damage done and dependance on resources from the westerners ‘personal busses’
    Just as the VW Beetle did to europe and the US after the WWII era, so may Tata do to India and Asia.
    In my opinion, anyone scared of a cheap, efficient car needs to turn around and look into the inefficiencies of western civilization before placing judgement. India may very well be going in the right direction. With their expanding economy, its likely that more cars will be purchased regardless of the price, however, they have the cheapest as an efficient, light, and not overpowered car. Making fuel efficiency and multiple person commuting widely available (keep in mind, you cannot fit four people on a motorbike) so you have one vehicle doing what 2-4 motorbikes would be doing otherwise.

    Lets cut India a break, we (the US among others) are already using them and China as a crutch or excuse as to why we won’t get onboard with an International Climate Change Agreement.

    I still believe that the ball needs to get rolling on solar and electric powered cars. But with that not seeming to be much of an option right now because of cost and development, Id say India is doing well with what they have.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va

  3. 3 Brett
    January 10, 2008 at 13:00

    PS. And yes, to answer the question, for $2,500 I would LOVE to buy one!

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  4. 4 Brett
    January 10, 2008 at 13:24

    From an internal standpoint on how India should handle this increase in traffic, perhaps they should spend more money on public transportation infrastructure. If this is not an option, perhaps put a higher tax on fuel to not only possibly deter so much travel, but also to be able to allocate that tax increase to spending on transportation infrastructure to india.
    Tax may be one way for India to be able to cope with this massive influx of automobiles onto its roads.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va

  5. January 10, 2008 at 14:18

    I agree that the state of traffic is terrible. We have the same problem in Miami Florida.

  6. 6 Devadas
    January 10, 2008 at 14:18

    The discussion must also include not only threat to environment of too much cars but also discuss whether this tata car must be banned by customers like BLOOD DIAMONDS in europe. As this Tata car plant was set up by ousting farmers from their farmland in Singur Bengal, even firing and killing farmers when they protested. It’s the same like civil wars in diamond rich African countries scenario.


  7. 7 John Poteet
    January 10, 2008 at 14:19

    I think that the Indians are crazy for subsidising more cars when their existing traffic problems are legendary. More people with more cars are not going to somehow occupy less space. All industrial nations are going to have to take a very serious look at reducing traffic to that which can be handled by public transit, bicycles and taxis. The Danes have done it and their cities are pleasant and unpolluted.

    Here in California we have traffic jams that can be over 40 miles long and with India’s population density I’m sure they can beat that. But traffic jams full of Tatas serve no-one better than traffic jams full of Toyotas and can pollute just as much. People here are increasingly parking our cars and taking to bicycles to get around our cities.

    Good luck with your traffic and pollution problems.

    John Poteet
    Chico CA.

  8. 8 George
    January 10, 2008 at 15:27

    Cheap transportation that gets 50 MPG vs SUV insanity the price of a home that gets 6 MPG?


    Ten people can drive using the same fuel as one and own a home too.

    Where is the down side other than profits for GM, Ford, etc IF they do not adapt,

    to return to their roots of mass produced transportation all can afford?

  9. 9 Kat
    January 10, 2008 at 15:38

    Unfortunately, the Indian’s and Chinese do not have the luxuery of going through the same old industrial revolution Western Europe and America did.
    It seems unfair but the enviroment cannot handle the Indians and Chinese owning and driving cars like Americans. They need to set an example for the rest of the world and invest in a clean mass transit system that works for everyone.
    The word is LEAP FROG!

  10. 10 Chernor Jalloh
    January 10, 2008 at 18:16

    I would frankly love to have one only if they cannot help pollute our already threatened environment.

  11. 11 George
    January 11, 2008 at 05:37


    Of course you are correct.

    Besides I want to drive the Ford Excursion, the biggest SUV on earth.

    Let those folk in the east ride mass transit or bicycles.

    If we let them eat cake they will be happy enough.

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