I can't imagine what an enormously basic, crude, and probably not particularly safe, car could be built for $3,000. It would appear, reading the article, that they basically did some surveying and discovered "hey these people don't care about air bags or safety, we can just toss that stuff out and save some money that way."
However, my mind is blown that Mr K. is still alive, and 103 years old. And lucid! Wow!
The washer fluid is NOT fine!