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Tata Motors' Rs 1 lakh car a trendsetter: Mashelkar

BS Reporter  |  Kolkata 

Tata Motors' Rs 1 lakh car would represent a paradigm shift in the low-cost transport segment, not only in India, but across the whole world, said R A Mashelkar, the former chief of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The eminent scientist is an independent director of Tata Motors.
Mashelkar's comments come soon after R K Pachauri, the head of The Energy Research Institute (Teri), said the thought of Rs 1 lakh cars gave him "nightmares" on environmental grounds.
"A month ago, I had a privilege to sit in the small car being built by Tata Motors. Ratan Tata talked about the car about 7-8 years ago. Now the whole world is looking at it. The car can be a global eco-car," he said, adding, "The vehicle has a mileage of 25 km to a litre."
Mashelkar spoke about his ride in the "people's car" (his fellow passenger was Ratan Tata) in Kolkata today after delivering a lecture on 'Resurgence of Innovative India: The phenomenon and The consequence' at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.
The car was acceptably rapid ("It is like the Maruti 800"), powered by petrol, had a sloping front end that was pleasing to the eye and was capable of carrying four at a time, said Mashelkar.
"A person like me, a six-footer, can easily fit in the car. It is very well built with a specially designed engine," he said.
Mashelkar recalled, "I remember 7-8 years ago, Ratan Tata saw a family of four on the road riding a scooter in the rain and getting drenched. Tata said, 'We should do something for them', or in other words, put them in a car with four wheels. That was how the Rs 1 lakh car concept was born."
An instance of "innovation-led inclusive growth", the car symbolised the penetration of the fruits of economic development to the bottom of the pyramid, he added.
"I am concerned about the bottom of the pyramid. The Rs 1 lakh car is like a dream. We should be proud that the car is manufactured here (West Bengal)," said the former CSIR chief.
He is convinced that Tata Motors will be able to sell the car at Rs 1 lakh once it starts full-scale marketing.
"This is a product of an ethical company and it has just created an ethical capital. I am sure it will stick to the price of Rs 1 lakh," he said.

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First Published: Wed, December 19 2007. 00:00 IST