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In India, the world's cheapest car debuts to fanfare, criticism

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Citing India's economic growth, which has averaged nearly nine percent over the past four years, The Economic Times, India's leading business publication, reports that India's rapidly growing middle-class has proven to be an attractive emerging market for automotive manufacturers, where car penetration is just seven vehicles per 1,000 people. According to The Economic Times:

An Indian government "Automotive Missions Plan" aims for automotive sales to more than quadruple to 145 billion dollars by 2016, and for indirect and direct auto sector employment to grow to 25 million from 13 million today … India's automotive industry, which produces 1.5 million vehicles annually, is worth 34 billion dollars a year and contributes five percent of India's gross domestic product.

Automakers everywhere are keenly watching progress in the Tata project, while some manufacturers are actively vying for an early spot in the low-cost car market, reports The Chicago Sun-Times:

Already, French automaker Renault SA and its Japanese partner, Nissan Motor Co., are trying to determine if they can sell a compact car for less than $3,000. Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. and Chinese automaker Chery also could be looking to make ultra-cheap cars in India, analysts say.
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