India Offers World's Cheapest Car

By Dave

Over on the International Herald Tribune, there is an article that talks about our ever cheapening society, when it comes to technology, and it seems cars will no longer be excluded from that list, as a manufacturer in India is creating a car that will be sold for a fraction of today’s automobiles. Calling itself the car of the people, the vehicle is set to retail at around $2,500.

From the article:

But the still-untold story of how the Tata car was built is less about big-bang innovations than about a long string of $20 trims: a steering-wheel shaft rendered hollow here, a small headlight leveler removed there, the use of an analog speedometer less accurate than its digital equivalent.

The car is thus a triumph, not of one great invention but of a new engineering philosophy rising out of the developing world, with potential to change how cars everywhere are made, industry experts say. Just as Japan popularized kanban (just in time) and kaizen (continuous improvement), so Tata may export to the world what can perhaps be called “Gandhi engineering” – a mantra that combines irreverence toward established ways with a scarcity mentality that spurns superfluities.

I don’t know how I feel about a car that throws out many of the conventions that current car makers use, but I am a fan of an affordable automobile. Would you buy a $2500 car if it didn’t have any bells and whistles?

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