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Israel to Produce Low-priced Small Automobile for Mass Market

The prototype of a small, Israeli-made automobile that will sell at low price for the mass market will be ready for road tests in two months, Michael Tzur, director-general of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, announced here today.

Designed by a European auto-making firm, the car will be “a simple vehicle,” without frills, inexpensive to operate, and featuring stability of construction rather than appearance, Mr. Tzur declared. Ease of maintenance will be stressed, he said.

Declining at this time to estimate the purchase cost of the new car, Mr. Tzur stated the price will be low enough for the popular trade, permitting wider sections of Israel’s population to own and operate individual means of transportation at a cost many people can afford.

It is assumed here that the body of the new automobile, and most of the engine’s parts, will be made in this country. The engine block and other parts will be imported. But the outlay in foreign currency for the new automobile, it was said here, will be only about 20 percent of the foreign currency needed for the average automobile on Israel’s roads now.

The ideas of building a new small car here developed last year when Regie Renault, of France, discontinued assembly of its Dauphine car in Israel, bowing to Arab boycott pressures. The new auto will combine, it was said, various features of several small cars made now in Europe.

Meanwhile, it was learned here today, the Kaiser-Frazer assembly plant in Haifa is ready to begin soon to assemble the Studebaker Lark model for the local market as well as for export.

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