BusinessWeek profiles world's cheapest cars

What a difference a day makes, or a few years at least. While many automakers were rushing to add premium models to their lineups just a few years ago, today the buzzword is affordability. Perhaps a ripple effect of high gas prices, or the green movement, or even the emerging third-world automotive markets, everybody seems to be thinking cheap. In response, BusinessWeek has compiled a list of super affordable vehicles that will be available over the next couple of years. The common factor here is that all will have an MSRP of less than $10,000. Some as low as $3,000!

Don't expect supercars or luxury rides at these bargain basement prices, but you might actually get more than you realize for your money. These are reasonable alternatives to eight-year-old Civics and Corollas, rather than the equivalent of modern-day Yugos. And the list isn't filled with just microcars, either. Sure, there are small cars aplenty, but the list includes sedans, SUVs and even a minivan.

credits Renault with launching this new wave of cheap cars with its Logan sedan back in 2004. That initial sedan has proven popular and spawned a range of six different models. The cheap-car list includes names like GM, Hyundai, Chery, Dacia, Suzuki, Geely, Fiat and Tata. But new entries from Nissan, Fiat, VW, and Toyota are in the works, showing the increasing importance of this segment. Renault-Nissan has even announced it is planning to build a car for under $3,000, perhaps as low as $2,500 according to Chief Executive, Carlos Ghosn. He made the announcement at a plant-opening ceremony on April 4.

A brief description of each car follows the jump, but click the Read link to see a slideshow of the world's cheapest cars at BusinessWeek.

[Source: BusinessWeek]

Business Week list of world's cheapest cars:
  • GM Daewoo Matiz Mini/Chevrolet Spark: A five-seat, five-door hatchback that underpins the Chevy Trax concept.
  • Chevrolet Aveo/Kalos: Slightly over 10 grand, but 400,000 owners can't all be wrong.
  • Hyundai Atos: 1.3 million sold, mostly in India as the Santro. $6,350 for the base model or $9,920, fully loaded.
  • Hyundai Getz: At 4.9 ft. tall, lower than the Atos, but the Getz is longer at 12.5 ft. overall. $9,400 to start.
  • Suzuki Maruti M-800: Four-door, 10.9-ft. long, 1,444-lb. 800cc Suzuki starting at $4,400.
  • Suzuki Maruti Alto: Probably going to replace the M-800, it offers 47-bhp for a starting price of $6,000.
  • Suzuki Maruti Swift: This Versa-like model is Maruti's first global car, with a base price of $8,800.
  • Tata Indica: This all-Indian model offers lots of room for its low price and its success has spawned a $2,200 sibling.
  • Chery QQ3: For $3,900 to $5,200 it competes directly with the Chevrolet Spark.
  • Chery Flagcloud: Well-equipped mid-size sedan with sticker prices ranging from $7,300 to $12,500.
  • Geely HQ S-RV: Mini SUV based on the Daihatsu Charade platform. $4,400 to $6,200.
  • Geely Merrie Star: Four-door sedan and hatch for $4,200 to $6,500.
  • Fiat Palio: One of the older cars in the group, it's based on the old Fiat Uno and sells for around $5,000.
  • Fiat Uno: A new replacement for the hugely popular Uno of the '80s and '90s.
  • Dacia Logan Sedan: Spacious, no-frills 75-hp sedan starting at $6,600.
  • Dacia Logan MPV: Low-cost, seven-seat minivan for $10,900 to $15,500.

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