In North America, many people worry about China, India and Malaysia being the mostly like sources for a new invasion of cheap cars.
Sooner or later, most or all of those nations will begin exporting low-cost vehicles to the land of the free and the home of the brave.
But as far as the rest of the world is concerned, the developing economies of eastern Europe have become a spawning ground for basic passenger cars, such as the Logan sedan, which is built by Dacia and sold by Renault in countries with developing economies.
The competition is so hot that even staid, old Toyota plans to get back to building cheaper models, according to Automotive News Europe, which like Automotive News, is published by Crain Communications Inc.
And get this: Toyota likely will establish a brand for the cheapie models and build a separate channel with separate facilities to sell them.
It's not exactly like Toyota is rushing into the market; that's not the Toyota way. It will be 2010 before the new models hit the market.
Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat already have cheapie sedans, wagons and minivans that in some cases sell for the equivalent of $8,000 or less, many of them built in eastern Europe or Turkey.
And just because were talking cheap doesn't mean we're talking small because families in developing economies need space, too.
Toyota's new models are expected to be bigger than some of the current small-car models it sells in western Europe, Japan and the United States.
It's not likely that any of these new Toyota models -- or any of the other cheapies -- will end up in western Europe or North America because they wouldn't really fit either the Toyota or Scion brand.
But developing countries outside Europe such as India, China and Brazil are viewed as prime markets.
Think of the irony: Just as Chinese automakers are getting ready to invade North America and western Europe, a whole new crop of cheapies with European and Japanese brand names lands in China.
Isn't the global economy great?
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]