Ultra-Low-Cost Cars Set for World Domination
Speaking to Automobilwoche, consultants A.T. Kearney predict that Ultra-Low-Cost cars (ULCC) will be the industry's next Next Big Thing. We're talking simple, robust, safe, easy to repair vehicles costing between $2500 and $5k. Kearney reckons the cars will find favor with millions of middle class buyers. In 2005, Indian had about 391m inhabitants who could afford a ULCC. The number will grow to 628 million by 2020. Companies such as Tata, Mahindra & Mahindra or Maruti are chasing the dream of 24 percent yearly growth rates. Meanwhile, the LCC (Low Cost Car) market is already booming. Production of the Renault/Nissan/Dacia's €8k Logan is expanding to South Africa. And just in case you take a dim not-to-say Freidman-esque view of third world auto emissions, a tuned version of the Logan won second place at the yearly Challenge Bibendum. A diesel Logan bettered 72 other entrants by logging a parsimonious 2.72L/100km (86.5 mpg).
I really think that the ULCC is a great idea. The idea of selling new cars to people of limited means has worked almost every time it has been tried.
Are you saying that diesel Logan would pass U.S. emission standards? I'm joking, of course, but isn't the air quality already terrible in India's large cities?
rpn453: the diesel Logan they sell in Europe is OK with Euro4 emission standards. It's not exactly a picknick to meet those. I cannot tell you how bad the particulate emissions of the Challenge Bibendum Logan are but if it is important for you, I'll research it... But your real concern is valid -- when you address the terrible air quality in India's large cities. But what's better: two-stroke motorcycles or (relatively) modern four-stroke engined car? I'd think the latter. From what I have heard, the Indian and Chinese car makers are pretty serious about emmission controls.
$6000 in 1986 would be $11,500 now. Edmunds lists 34 cars for sale under $15,000 MSRP. I don't think it is a real issue in the US.