I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's admirable that Tata has decided to come out with a vehicle that the average middle-class family can realistically afford, particularly since the default mode of transport for the average family of four in India is a two-wheeler of some kind, which, given the terrible state of traffic in most Indian urban areas, is incredibly risky. A car would undoubtedly be safer. However, I have to wonder if it really is a smart idea given that pollution in Indian cities is, well, pretty bad. In addition to that, adding even more cars to already strained infrastructure in cities like Bangalore is only going to cause problems down the run. If you thought the roads were bad now, try increasing the number of cars that roll over them every day. Given the penchant for lousy maintenance of public infrastructure in India, I can imagine that its state will only deteriorate further.
As for the car itself, well, I'm not really a fan of the bug-eyed flat-faced look, but that might just be a matter of personal taste. I suppose the low horsepower makes sense for a car meant for city driving at a relatively low speed limit, but since Tata is touting the safety of this new car, the omission of airbags seems like a rather glaring one. In addition, given the rather compact profile of the vehicle and the materials used in its construction, I have to wonder how the vehicle would fare in a head-on collision, perhaps with one of India's notorious Ambassadors (picture an average sedan, only built like a Panzer minus the gun barrel). I can only assume that Tata has done the necessary testing.
In other India-related news, I'm 99% sure that this is going to cause some fireworks, and as usual, I have no bloody idea why.