The return of the peoples car from an unlikely source…

 $3,000. That’s not alot of money these days as far as car prices go. It’s not even a decent down payment anymore. Yet, in a bid to bring back mobility to the masses, that is exactly what Carlos Ghosn is planning. Ghosn, who is head of the motor company that makes up the Nissan-Renault alliance, is planning a new small people’s car that would be made in India with partner Bajaj Auto Ltd. The second largest motorcycle manufacture in India, Bajaj Auto Ltd. is in talks with the French-Japanese auto giant. “I’ve already seen the drawings. We know the kind of engine, transmission, and materials it will use, these things have already been established,” Ghosn said. No prototype has yet been built. Bajaj’s main goal is to produce an affordale car for the Indian market but Ghosn has other ideas. He’s thinking big, and his intrest in involving his company is engineering a car that later on in the future could be good enough for export sales to other markets in the world by as soon as 2010. His vision of a car anyone could afford is a big undertaking. Ghosn said the most important requirement for the car was its “robustness” of quality, so as not to disappoint first-time customers. Even if the car ended up in the export markets at around $4-5,000 brand new it would still be a considerable achievement. I hope it happens for those who need it but it raises other questions like “Is more cars what we really need right now?” If Ghosn is succesful it could mean, all of a sudden, hundreds of thousands of new cars instantly on the roads. Do we have the infrustructures to handle it? What about the incresed pollution from thousands of new cars instatly on the road? It would not be a big hurdle to sell a $5,000 car that was actually really good. No, they would fly off dealer lots. As noble as it sounds to mobilize the people, maybe the question should be, not wether the people who need it can afford it but rather can we all?