The topic of cheap cars has come up on our pages before, and John McElroy has shared his thoughts on the topic over at Autoblog. It looks like John will be contributing over at our sister site on a somewhat regular basis, this is his first posting. McElroy is the host of Autoline Detroit which you may have seen on Speed TV or public television (make sure to watch it tomorrow). On the topic of inexpensive cars, John brings up the Dacia Logan, which is now part of Renault's stable. This car is just about the cheapest set of (four) wheels you can get in Europe, and McElroy highlights the fact that the car is selling rather well. This is causing the other manufacturers to look into offering similar vehicles in their own lineups.
The next point brought up is the possibility of even cheaper cars from companies like Tata from India. As McElroy points out, this type of vehicle is unlikely in the U.S. due to the fact that the emissions equipment alone on cars sold here might cost as much as the vehicles themselves in other area. Additionally, safety standards would likely impede inexpensive cars from making inroads on American roads.
Although the idea of an inexpensive new car that even low-income households could afford is certainly one with merit, if the vehicle is not capable of being safe and clean, it probably should not be sold. The argument could be made though that if the new car, even if not up to snuff with other new cars were cleaner than a five-year-old used car it could still be an eco-benefit. Sounds like a very fine line that would need to be walked, but if companies like Continental or Borg-Warner help with cheaper emissions and safety equipment, who knows what may come of it.
[Source: John McElroy / Autoblog]