Protests Threaten World's Cheapest Car

Tata, having promised Oct. launch for $2,500 Nano, considers costly factory move
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Aug 26, 2008 3:51 PM CDT
30,000 people protested Sunday in West Bengal against what they claim was illegal government acquisition of land to build the Tata factory.   (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
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(Newser) – The promised October launch of a $2,500 car by India’s Tata Motors is in jeopardy after massive protests at its West Bengal factory, Der Spiegel reports. Led by the state's opposition leader, 30,000 demonstrators promised a "fight to the finish" for land they say the government acquired illegally. Tata insists its Nano will be delivered on time even if the factory must move.

The protests are just the latest setback to Tata's "People's Car," whose production is continuing despite rising prices for steel and raw materials. Tata has already spent $350 million on the factory and faced delays from monsoon floods. But the company is set on meeting its October deadline, in time for the Diwali festival and India’s busiest car-buying season.