Photo: TaTa Motors

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The world’s cheapest car was unveiled in India today by Tata Motors, which hopes that its new $2,500 subcompact will help make car ownership a reality for tens of millions of people. The Tata Nano gets respectable gas mileage, up to 58.8 miles per gallon, and meets India’s emissions standards, but its introduction was met by protests from greens fearful that more-accessible autos will have a negative effect on the country’s pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions. The auto industry, however, lauds the small five-seater — which has one windshield wiper and no radio, passenger-side mirror, central locking, power steering, or air conditioning — as a huge advance in mobility for the people of India, where two-wheeled transportation is common but only seven in every 1,000 people own a car.

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