Environmentalists fear impact of world’s cheapest car

The world's cheapest car, designed and manufactured by Indian firm Tata, will be unveiled this week, but green campaigners, already concerned by rising pollution levels in India's cities, have expressed alarm.

A report in the UK Observer newspaper cited Tata as saying the "People’s Car" will create a "new market for cars which does not exist", making them accessible to India’s booming middle classes.

But environmentalists are concerned by the drive to make car ownership soar to previously unimaginable levels. "There is this mad rush towards lowering the prices to achieve mass affordability," Anumita Roychoudhury, of the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi, was quoted as saying.

"If vehicle ownership increases very rapidly, we’ll have a time bomb ticking away. When you lower the price that drastically, how will you be able to meet the safety and emissions standards? There are no clear answers yet."

See full story