I was surprised to see the negative, pessimistic comment about the Russian-built Oka car in your Jan. 27 Letters section.
The Oka has been produced since 1987, and more than 225,000 Okas have been built in the plant that will supply the U.S. version.
Currently 40,000 are produced annually. Because of domestic demand, the factory can spare only 500 per month for export to the United States. Capacity in 2006 will be 100,000 units, mostly for export.
In Russia the Oka never has sold at below $2,000, unless it was a used car. Optioned Okas sell for up to $4,250 - no airbags at that price. There is a need for a $7,300 city car. Only our company cares and dares to offer it to U.S. consumers.
It gets 55 mpg at 55 mph and 73 mpg at a steady 35 mph. Top speed is 80 mph, and it has no weird, unproven $30,000 technology or $4,500 in batteries.
Oka technology is old, but it also is proven and bulletproof.
It has 150,000-mile/10-year free maintenance; no 0 percent interest; no discounts; no zero down.