Tony O'Kane | Nov 11, 2008

Toyota is reportedly in the midst of developing a USD$5000 small car to tackle emerging markets like India and Brazil.

Toyota's small-car subsidiary Daihatsu will share its extensive knowledge of building cheap, cheerful and amazingly-tiny vehicles with the Japanese auto-making powerhouse, and production is expected to begin by 2015 in Bangalore, India.

The new brand, and the sub-$10k cars that will be sold under it, will also enable Toyota to compete directly with similar products in these markets from Tata Motors and Renault's budget Dacia brand.

With the emergence of a booming middle-class and an increase in personal wealth in countries like India and China, an inexpensive and frugal small car could potentially be a big money-spinner for Toyota. According to reports in the Japanese media, such a car won't wear the Toyota badge, instead being assigned its own brand to suit its more downmarket 'commoner' image.

Technical details are still a mystery and Toyota has politely declined to comment on the topic, however we'll be keeping a close eye on this one. With more and more players gearing up to sell cars in some of the world's most impoverished markets, the small-car sales battle is bound to get interesting.

[Automotive News - Subscription required]

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