By Andre Palma Inquirer MAJOR motor shows are often difficult to initially grasp in their entirety. Merely a single pass of the major manufacturer's displays can send even the most jaded of motoring hacks reeling from all the sights, sounds and sheet metal. You just get numb from the sensory overload. Trying to understand what's going on and what the general flavor of the show is comes only when the shell shock passes. Even then, moments of true insight are rare. Tokyo's place in the international motor show arena is to divine the future. It is through the fantasy world of concept cars that the world's major players try to capture our imagination. For manufacturers, showing up at Tokyo without a jaw-dropping interpretation of the future is like going to a wedding reception in your flip-flops. This year there were quite a few who apparently forgot the dress code. Maybe it was a calculated risk on the part of the manufacturers. In all honesty, trying to steal the limelight from two of the most exciting new releases would be near impossible. Show headliner Headlining the show for all intents was the unveiling of Nissan's GTR. As bold as the concept, technology and execution of this soon-to-be available super car is its rebellious break from the sustainable eco friendly line that most of the mainstream players are towing. It would be hard to find anyone who went to the show this year who did not take home a snapshot of the latest interpretation of the all-conquering Skylines of years past. Off-duty showgirls, clad in trench coats over their scant motor show finery snapped away on their equally tiny and cute mobile phones. Even executives from the European sporting brands jostled with masses to get a closer peek. You get the picture. The excitement about the GTR is deserved. This car revives the Japanese super car genre and is the gauntlet on the table to the other players who traditionally participate in the segment. Significant too is the gossip going around the Nissan GTR. Finally available in left-hand drive for the first time in history, it looks like the Philippines will be getting a few units. Don't hold your breath though, as this information came from the same people who promised us the Teana in 2003. Controversially designed A new release that is sure to hit our shores will be the controversially designed 2008 Subaru Impreza and the generally more impressive STI version. Derogatory remarks about the styling of these WRC-derived everyday tarmac monsters are getting tiresome already. There is really nothing we can do about what this car looks like. And if we can get that out of the way, maybe we can focus on the changes that are going to affect more important things regarding Impreza -- mainly the way it will drive. Pray that function overshadows form in this case. The shift over to the hatchback format is a necessity born of the WRC. Subaru needs a platform that will go toe to toe with the kinds of car that Loeb and the gang are driving. Shorter wheelbases combined with lighter cars will logically be snappier around the corners. Engines remain the same with the beautifully linear power of the EJ25 turbo family of power plants under the brand's signature hood scoops. Seriously folks, these cars are coming and there's an invite in my mailbox to allay any fears that the Philippine market is going to lose out on these models. The mid-level Imprezas are going to break cover soon, likely within the month. The much-awaited, hot and bothered STI version will hit the fast lanes of Philippine roads sometime next year. Cars that are able to steal the limelight from the futuristic prototypes and concepts are rare indeed and in this case, the Nissan GTR and the Subaru Impreza WRX Sti define the 40th Tokyo Motor show. This year has given us two models to that are really worth the wait. Speed is on the Philippine motoring horizon. What a wonderful world indeed!
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By Tessa R. Salazar Inquirer THE NUMBER of companies that participated in the recently concluded 40th Tokyo Motor Show was 241, two more than the 2005 edition's 239. But if you were to go by the Who's Who of the automotive industry, numbers can't hide the gaping hole left by those who were conspicuously absent this time. Some of the Detroit Motown's top executives were not seen and their absence didn't go unnoticed. Asahi Shimbun wasted no time reporting these truants. A Fortune report at CNNMoney even went so far as writing "RIP" for the Tokyo Motor Show after citing auto launches by US top automakers being done elsewhere. Have these fortune tellers hit the nail on the head, or have they just been too quick to the draw? Journalists who attended the motor show witnessed numerous concept vehicles and environment-friendly hybrid machines, making this writer think that the motor show was undergoing a sea change in its overall vision. Major shift in direction And if, indeed, the 53-year-old motor show was undergoing a "second childhood," a major shift in direction toward being more environmentally conscientious, then it has to contend with two factors: 1) These hybrids and concepts are still a long way off from actual commercial production, especially in minor markets like the Philippines, and this may be a major turnoff for prospective buyers window shopping in Tokyo; and 2) Even the major markets such as the United States and emerging powerhouse China seem not to be biting the "green" carrot dangled before them. Of course, the motor show still had its highlight moments, such as the much-anticipated launch of the Nissan GT-R (which did not disappoint, except for the announcement that there was still no tentative release date yet in the Philippines), the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (tentative RP launch date sometime in April 2008), and the new Subaru WRX STI (tentative RP launch date March 2008). Honda offered its own surprises for the Tokyo delegates (the latter announcing that its sportier Accord 2.4- and 3.5-liter versions would be available here by the second quarter of 2008). But if you hear the talk between the revs, something seems to be really amiss. Weak car market "The Japanese car market is altogether in weak health. Following a decline of two percent to 4.64 million cars already last year, the market shrank further in the first eight months of this year by 6.3 percent to 2.98 million cars," said Matthias Wissmann, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, during a press briefing attended by Inquirer Motoring at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan. In another press briefing, Bernard Bohr, chair of the Bosch Automotive Group, said that automobile production in Japan would remain almost stagnant until 2015, at 11.5 million units. But worldwide, he said that Japanese automakers would increase their production over the same period: from 23 to 29 million vehicles. Fortune's interview with analyst Michel Dunne indicated that Japanese consumers bought 5.7 million vehicles in 2005, but were expected to purchase only 5.2 million units this year. "By comparison, the China market is exploding -- from 5.3 million units two years ago to 8 million units in 2007 -- making it the second largest auto market in the world after the United States." By 2010, Dunne expects Japan to still be "under 6 million units while demand in China is expected to reach 11.5 million." Japan still main route Bohr said during the press conference that for Bosch one of the main routes for automotive growth would still lie in Japan. He said that even if Japanese automakers were going international in their supplier structures, it would still be in Japan where major decisions will be made. Bosch engineers confirm they still collaborate closely with customers in Japan. Their know-how in Japan also serves to support Bosch development teams worldwide. Bosch Group is one of the biggest German employers in Japan with a workforce of more than 7,800. It operates 20 manufacturing plants, five engineering centers and two test courses. "Support like this goes to places as far away as Brazil, where, for a Japanese automaker, we are developing a flex fuel system that improves cold-start capability when the engine is running on ethanol," Bohr said. Favorable signs Bohr also sees favorable signs for diesel-fed automobiles in Japan, with Nissan and Honda announcing they would launch a diesel passenger car for the domestic Japanese market. "This is an opportunity for us, not least in view of fuel prices in Japan, which have risen by a good 10 percent since the beginning of the year," Bohr quipped.
By Charles E. Buban Inquirer TOKYO, Japan--The Tokyo Motor Show has always been about technology and this year's 40th staging of one of the world's leading automobile expos is no exception as green cars featuring advanced propulsion technology share centerstage with some of today's fastest and most powerful production cars. This writer finally got the chance to get up close and personal with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X as well as Fuji Heavy Industries' (maker of Subaru brand of vehicles) new Impreza WRX STI. Of course, this writer also witnessed the much-awaited debut of the all-new Nissan GT-R. "It only shows that while the car industry is continuously developing solutions to increase energy efficiency and reduce a car's environmental impact, carmakers will never stop dishing out passion-inspiring high-performance sports cars," said Raymond Tribdino, Nissan Motor Philippines Inc. senior manager for market and product planning. Paraded Indeed, while Nissan finally rolled out its most anticipated muscle car, it also paraded its latest breakthroughs in gasoline, diesel and electric-powered vehicles. According to Tribdino, Nissan sets a mid-term environmental action plan called Nissan Green Program 2010 that seeks ways to maximize the fuel economy of internal combustion engines. Included in this plan is the development of a clean diesel engine that will soon power the upcoming 2008 X-Trail compact SUV (to be sold in Japan); the development of the Variable Valve Event and Lift system that will be installed in the upcoming gasoline engine of the Skyline Coupe (also to be sold in Japan); the development of the company's own design of a continuously variable transmission that will be paired to several Nissan engines; and the acceleration of the development of the next generation lithium-ion battery for use in various hybrid electric and electric vehicles that Nissan is conceiving. Environmental consideration In fact, even the newly unveiled GT-R super car, which boasts a 475 horsepower, 3.8-liter twin turbo V6 VR38 engine, meets Japan's ultra-low emission vehicle standards as proof of Nissan's seriousness in putting environmental consideration a top priority. Aside from developing cleaner emissions in both of its gasoline and diesel engines, Nissan is also putting a lot of research in battery-powered vehicles, which the company believes holds a lot of promise. "Case in point is Nissan's lithium-ion powered Pivo 2 that was unveiled at the motor show. While it uses the same type of rechargeable battery commonly used in consumer electronics, Pivo 2's powerplant is more advanced," Tribdino said. More compact For the first time, Nissan was able to develop a more compact lithium-ion battery. Like flat metal sheets that can be laid on top of one another (similar to a sans rival cake), they require much less space than today's cylindrical-shaped lithium-ion batteries, thereby freeing up more space to increase cabin dimension as well as saving on total car weight. Though half the size of today's conventional batteries, it's 1.5 times more powerful and twice the capacity. With this battery, Pivo 2 could now travel about 126 km on a single charge and plugs into a regular home electric socket. But despite the advancement, carmakers like Nissan admit that they are still looking for the ultimate environment-friendly vehicle. "The goal is to have a car that could deliver zero impact on the environment. However it must also be cost-efficient to build as well as it should be attractive for the car buyer not only in terms of price but also to its drivability, safety and reliability," Tribdino said.
By Andre Palma Inquirer TOKYO, Japan--Since Kiichiro Toyoda got it into his head to shift from textile looms to manufacturing automobiles, the Toyota Motor Corp. has come a long way. In a short 70 years from the first Model AA rolling off the Koromo plant assembly line, the Japanese manufacturer now has its sights set on the No. 1 spot in the global automotive scheme of things. Great really if you are one to speculate on the worldwide stock markets but honestly the impact on the Filipino motorist is anything but a forgone conclusion. One key phrase frames Toyota's future strategy for world domination. "Sustainable mobility" seems like words plucked out of just any public relations handbook but the way these two words will color and flavor the way we will drive in the very near future is undeniable, scary even. By addressing environmental, safety and congestion issues, the way we drive and what we drive will change dramatically. In a world obsessed with carbon footprints, protecting biodiversity and the search for renewable sources of energy, the automobile is often painted as public enemy No. 1. While the Battle for Mother Earth seems lost and the human race is doomed to a carbon-choked future care of the evil automobile, small inroads have been made that responsibly look toward tomorrow. Targets Since 1997, over a million Toyota branded, gasoline electric hybrids have been sold. Sales volumes point to a peak in 2017 where these fuel-efficient, low-impact vehicles will reach over a million units a year. Yet the push for sustainability does not end with the current generation of hybrids. In the search for the ultimate eco-car, diverse sources of energy with low carbon impact from production to consumption are the targets. The days of the fossil fuel dependence are numbered but the complete change over to cleaner, greener sources of energy may take a while. In the interim, current power train innovation is channeled toward environmental performance as well as the driving dynamics that are the basis for any fundamentally sound automobile. Toyota gasoline engines will shift from VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) to D-4S (Direct Injection 4 Stroke) systems with continuous intake valve lift volume controls. Diesel powerplants will incorporate Piezo injectors, lower compression ratios and stricter catalytic converters with common-rail direct-injection systems. Finally transmissions move into 8-speed automatics and CVT systems with total vehicle management suites matching engine load more precisely with speed and emissions. Image leader At the forefront is Toyota's image leader in the hybrid segment, the second generation Prius. The handful on Philippine roads can be seen as a sign of things to come, the tip of leading edge of the world wide hybrid model explosion that includes luxury models such as the Lexus GS450h and the LS600h. Even the locally popular Camry now comes in a hybrid model targeted at the North American market. Seat time in these cars at Toyota's Mobilitas driving facility at Fuji Speedway, including the Alphard hybrid mini van and the Harrier and Highlander hybrid SUVs confirm unexpected performance with attention-grabbing fuel efficiency. Driving clean and green hybrids can apparently be fun but apparently not even a fraction of the fun the future holds. The jewel in Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive crown must be the FT-HS sports concept. Rear-wheel drive with a 2+2 coupe layout, this sleek exercise in automotive design boasts a 3.5-liter V6 hybrid motor with over 400 bhp and four second times to 100 kph. Touted as the spiritual successor to the Supra, pictures do not do the FT-HS justice. Unfounded rumors point to a 2009 production date, just in time for the 41st Tokyo Motor Show. More than just a technology demonstrator, this single car shows that the tide is turning in favor of "sustainable mobility" indeed, and Toyota is leading the charge.
By Tessa R. Salazar Inquirer TOKYO, Japan--If it moves, we'll build a better one. That, in a nutshell, seems to be what Honda is keen on doing in the near (and not-so-near) future. Takeo Fukui, president and CEO of Honda, in a 15-minute interview with members of the Philippine motoring media, revealed the carmaker's plans on not limiting itself to two- and four-wheeled contraptions. After coming out with such environmental vehicles such as the Civic 2.0GL, Stream, Partner 4WD, the CR-V, Elysion Prestige and Crossroad models in 2007, which Honda claims have all attained fuel-efficiency ratings mandated in its 2011 standards, Fukui says Honda is now developing a jet engine, and more Asimo-like household robots. Q: After cars and motorbikes, what's next with Honda? A: The first delivery of the jets will be on 2010. Unlike automobiles and motorcycles, we have to have a longer perspective and outlook when it comes to the airplane business. First we work on the jets, and then would be Asimo. We are to supply Asimo to ordinary households. Q: So, will Honda go seriously into the aviation industry? A: When it comes to our jet business, we have to think of this long term, so we have to put in place a long-term strategy and make it a good business for us. Only after that will the next step be on making Asimo as a business. Q: Can you genuinely reconcile F1 motorsports with environmentalism, considering that motorsports require large amounts of fuel and tires? A: I think we might save some fuel if we're going to stop formula racing, but people don't live thinking about the environment only. You need to enjoy your life. That's what we're here for, and therefore we think that we need to have motorsports for the sake of enjoyment. That's the reason we need to have Formula 1 racing. Comparatively, the amount of gasoline consumed in by all 22 teams on Formula 1 races over one year is half the amount of gasoline that a single trip from Tokyo to Frankfurt would require on a plane. Thanks to Formula 1, billions of people around the world are enjoying themselves. Q: After a quite disappointing season in Formula 1, what are your plans for next year? A: I think because of my age, my memory is starting to fail, I've forgotten everything about this season (laughter). But for some strange reason my memory is very clear about the year before that. I remember especially very well the Hungarian Grand Prix (laughter). I think this season we have come to understand what we need to work on technically and also we have reinforced the engineering team. We're thinking most likely next season you'll start to see the results and we'll be on the top positions where Honda is supposed to be. Q: You have any plans of changing your driver lineup, include a Japanese driver? A: Next season we're planning to stick to the current driver lineup. Q: What's your timetable for commercial production of diesel-fed Hondas and what Honda models will first run on clean diesels? A: The definition of clean diesel is very difficult because diesel on sale in Europe now is already clean. But then in the United States and Japan the regulations that are being said to be put in place and the NOx level that is required there is extremely stringent, meaning we cannot just bring the European cars into these markets. Therefore, we need to overcome these technical challenges so that we can clear the requirements in both the United States and Japan. We're hoping to be able to launch diesel engines within two years (in these markets). Q: At the other end of the spectrum is the Asian market, where diesel fuel quality is low. How will you approach this? A: As you say, for clean diesel, sulfur content needs to be reduced. Unless you can do so, we cannot serve clean diesel in these markets. Japan has already complied, Europe also. The United States has come close to meeting these requirements but it requires a lot of money. You need to invest, and eventually there will come a time the Philippines has to make that investment. Q: Do you see Honda participating in the F1 and the 24-hour Le Mans using diesel engines? A: For the Formula 1 races they have their own unique standards and I donít think that we will be able to use diesels for the time being. For Le Mans it's not time for us yet to seriously be a challenger there. We think Formula 1 is the pinnacle, the most difficult race of all. Q: When do you expect us to see fuel cell cars on the streets? A: At the motor show, we have on display the concept model, and based on that model next year we will be launching fuel cell vehicles, but it will be just in Japan and the United States. We could be selling some tens of thousands of these within maybe 10 years.
By Aida Sevilla-Mendoza Inquirer TOKYO, Japan--At a glittering international event like the 40th Tokyo Motor Show displaying 520 new vehicles of 30 carmakers at a venue spread over 440,000 square meters, it is difficult to hold the attention of the 1.5 million visitors expected, including thousands from overseas, during its 16-day run. On Press Preview day, several manufacturers caught the eye by exhibiting outrageously styled concept cars. While the designs of the three concept cars presented by Mitsubishi Motors Corp. were not as edgily in-your-face futuristic as the Toyota HI-CT, Honda Puyo or Nissan Pivo2, they looked more user-friendly, more practical and more ready to leap from the drawing board into commercial production in the near future. And for visitors already in the market for a new car, Mitsubishi unveiled the latest iteration of the Lancer Evolution, which is one of the fastest high-performance mass production cars in the world yet is affordably priced. The more sedate version of the Evo X, the 2008 Lancer sedan (named as the Galant Fortis in Japan) was also on view. A closer look People kept flocking back to the Mitsubishi pavilion to take a closer look at the i MiEV Sport electric minicar, the Concept-CX compact SUV and the Concept-ZT clean diesel 2.2-liter premium sedan, all three of which represent Mitsubishi's key auto-manufacturing values of Driving Pleasure, Safety and Environmental Responsibility. Here's a photo of the i MIEV Sport. Here's the Concept-CX. And the Concept-ZT. Mitsubishi's focus on Environmental Performance evolved from these three key values with the electric i MiEV sports coupe as the environmental flagship. The culmination of 35 years of EV (electric vehicle) R&D, the i MiEV experimental car was finalized in 2006 and has undergone public road testing. At present, Mitsubishi is working with several power companies with the end in view of launching the i MiEV on the market. Why the fuss over the i MiEV? It produces little noise and zero on-road carbon dioxide emissions, costs less to run and its lithium-ion batteries can be quick-charged in 30 minutes using a 3-phase 200V supply system. Using a regular 200-volt household domestic outlet, it takes seven hours to fully recharge the i MiEV for a cruising range of 160 km. When driving downhill, slowing down or braking, the i MiEV recovers inertial energy, employing the motor as a generator. 3 motors The i MiEV Sport weighs only 970 kg, is shod with 175/46R17 tires, has a max speed of 180 km per hour and can run a distance of 200 km on a single charge. Two in-wheel motors drive the front wheels of the i MiEV Sport while a single motor powers the rear wheels, with electric-powered 4WD (E-4WD) optimizing the power generated by each motor. Sporty performance and excellent stability, demolishing preconceptions about the drivability of EVs, result from the S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) system that integrates management of the E-4WD, E-AYC (Electric Active Yaw Control), ABS and Active Stability Control. It has a microwave wireless charging system to make recharging more convenient. Moreover, aside from the energy recycling system of the basic i MiEV, the Sport draws energy from natural sources via auxiliary solar glass panels and wind turbine fans (used during deceleration only). To further save energy, the taillights and other lights use low-energy, highly luminous LEDs. The location of the 330-volt battery under the floor and the motor, inverter and charger under the cargo area lowers the i MiEV's center of gravity while enhancing front/rear weight distribution. This characteristic of the rear midship layout frees up space for occupants and luggage and contributes to vehicle stability. The body and suspension use strong, lightweight and highly rigid extruded and die-cast aluminum, improving fuel efficiency and performance. Crashworthy As for safety, the i MiEV Sport is multidirectional crashworthy due to Mitsubishi's RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body protecting occupants in a collision. Again, the rear midship layout benefits occupants as the way the front side members, cross members and other structural parts are located more efficiently absorbs the impact in frontal and side crashes. In case of a rear-ender, the major EV components under the cargo area engage with the floor to form a protective barrier. Fast-forwarding toward the future, Mitsubishi is developing a MiEV communication system with high-speed PLC (Power Line Communications) that allows the user to connect his home computer and the i MiEV Sport. The user can control recharging, in-car audio and air conditioning from inside the home, update the navigation system via the Internet, send or receive e-mail and also collect vehicle maintenance info to keep the car in top shape. Summing up, Mitsubishi's high-tech concept cars, especially the i MiEV Sport, gave a glimpse of the motoring world's future in environmental performance. Photos courtesy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
By Agence France-Presse CHIBA, Japan--Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. has unveiled a prototype motorbike with a zero-emission fuel cell that is cooled by air. The "Crosscage" motorbike has a fuel cell set in a simple chassis and a hydrogen tank protected by an X-shaped metal frame cage. The fuel cell was developed by Intelligent Energy of Britain. The motorbike, which is on display at the Tokyo Motor Show, is said to be free of noise and vibration, and has a lithium-ion battery below the tank for extra power. "Fuel cell motorbikes tend to have podgy scooter-like bodies given the large size of the system. But this compact system enabled us to propose a sporty, slim design," said Suzuki motorcycle marketing official Kenji Mori.
By Tessa R. Salazar Inquirer TOKYO, Japan--It's ogling time again. For 17 days, Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan will be home to motoring journalists and car enthusiasts from all over this third planet from the Sun for the 40th Tokyo Motor Show. Among the thousands will be Inquirer Motoring, which will also get a closer look at the leading auto research campaign of Honda in Tochigi, where the innovative manufacturer keeps a full-scale wind tunnel, safety crash-test facility and the Tochigi proving ground. There would also be a meeting of motoring journalists at the Twin Ring Motegi. Honda's battle cry Aside from Honda's always breathtaking concept cars, spectators are eagerly awaiting the first look at the next-generation Honda Accord, and even an Accord diesel. Honda will present a total of 18 vehicles representing 11 different models, comprising vehicles already in the market, those soon to be introduced and concept models. Honda's battle cry for this motor show is "For the endless joy of mobility on our earth," the focus of which are technologies that address environmental issues such as a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. 2 concept models To make their world premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show are Honda's two concept models: The CR-Z, a next-generation lightweight sports car equipped with Honda's original gas-electric hybrid system that achieves both clean performance and a high level of torque; and the Puyo, a fuel cell vehicle, the design of which was based on an out-of-box thinking to provide fun for both the vehicle owner and for, well, oglers. Here's a photo of the CR-Z. And here's a photo of the Puyo. The diesel-i-DTEC next-generation engine will also be on display. Its existence was first announced in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This engine promises superior performance in both emissions and power. The all-new Fit (Jazz in the Philippines), which will go on sale in Japan late this month, will be on display. First introduced in 2001. Fit is known for its funky style, function and relative fuel economy-characteristics that have led it to reach the two-million unit sale worldwide. Honda's "Next Energy" display will reveal new energy developments, including technologies for producing bio-ethanol from rice straws and the environmentally responsible next-generation thin-film solar cells, which will soon go on sale nationwide in Japan. Honda's F1 and other racing machines will also be on display. Photos courtesy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
By Agence France-Presse CHIBA, Japan--Japanese electronics giant Hitachi has developed a steering wheel that enables the driver to use his or her fingers as switches for the engine, car stereo and navigation system. The steering wheel is equipped with a tiny device that reads the driver's finger veins. "If I place my index finger on this reader, it recognizes it's me. If I put the finger again, it starts the engine," Masahide Hayashi of Hitachi's sensor design department explained at the Tokyo Motor Show near the capital. "When the middle finger is on the device, it sends a command to play music I registered in accordance to my taste. The ring finger can start the navigation system," he said. "You can use your fingers just like switches," without taking your eyes off the road, he said. Hitachi said it was still uncertain when the system might be put in practical use although it hopes to launch it within three or four years.
By Agence France-Presse CHIBA, Japan--Nissan and Renault hope to start selling a car for about $2,500 in India in around 2010 along with their local partner there, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said Wednesday. "We have already practically decided all the attributes of the car," Ghosn told reporters at the Tokyo Motor Show. "We have the full intention to do it -- if it's feasible. Hopefully this is going to be 2010 in India," he said. Ghosn, who heads both Japan's Nissan Motor Co. and its French partner Renault, said he would visit Indian partner Bajaj Auto next week for talks on the car. He said that it appeared possible to make a $2,500-car for India, but the big question was whether it could be exported to other markets such as Europe, China, Brazil, Mexico or even the United States. "But the first step is to make it for India and to make it competitive," he added. The car will be mostly produced by Indian partner Bajaj with the support of the Nissan-Renault alliance, Ghosn added. The world's automakers are increasingly setting their sights on India, which is one of the world's fastest growing automobile markets. Indian automaker Tata Motors plans to introduce its own $3,000-car in its home market next year. Ghosn also said Nissan hoped to start mass marketing electric cars by 2012 in response to growing worries about global warming. "We see already in some large cities people are turning against cars," said Ghosn, adding that simply cutting emissions by 20 or 30 percent was not enough as people would switch to alternative forms of transportation.