Tata has let slip some details of its '1-lakh' small car as a company executive disclosed that the vehicle will get 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) per litre of fuel and match the peformance of the ancient (1980s Suzuki Alto-based) Maruti 800, one of the most popular cars in the budget segment of the Indian market.

"It's an eco-car with a 25km-per-litre mileage on petrol, meets every international standard and specification, including Euro-4 [emissions] norms. Acceleration wise, it's the same as a Maruti 800," RA Mashelkar, a nonexecutive director on Tata Motors' board, told the Associated Press (AP) in Calcutta.

One lakh is INR100,000 or about $US2,500 and Mashelkar said he'd recently tried a prototype of what would be the cheapest car in its class at Tata Motors' plant in the western city of Pune.

According to AP, Mashelkar also said there was ample space in both the front and the rear to fit his six-foot frame. "In a bid to reduce weight of the car, Tata Motors' engineers have used more plastics. The car does not use too many bolts which also helps in reducing weight. Instead, it's all a new kind of welding," he was quoted as saying.

Tata reportedly developed the car after its chairman saw a family getting soaked in one of India's notorious rain storms.

Although the one-lakh car has great potential to get more Indian families off their feet or overloaded motorcycles, outside India, the conglomerate, for which cars is just one business, is being closely watched as it is expected to be named this week as preferred bidder for Ford's Jaguar and Land Rover units.