Tata eyes city car release at Geneva Motor Show
Tuesday 01 March 2011
Indian automaker Tata is to test the European waters for the potential of launching one of its tiny vehicles.
The firm, which famously produces the Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car, is reportedly set to unveil a three-door, four-seat vehicle at this week's Geneva Motor Show, to see how European audiences react to a small Indian-built city car.
According to reports in the Financial Times, the new model would be about the same size as the Nano but would be engineered to provide "maximum interior space."
It would likely compete with other miniature city cars such as the Smart Fortwo, Toyota iQ and Hyundai i10, a segment which is predicted to boom in the coming years.
No decisions have been made on the car, although Tata's boss Carl-Peter Forster told the newspaper that if it did launch, it wouldn't be on the roads before 2013.
Tata has repeatedly said that it is considering bringing the Nano to western markets but has been faced with a slew of problems with the vehicle, along with the task of completing the considerable modifications necessary to bring the safety standards up to European or North American standards while maintaining the low cost.
Last year, it was forced to defend the Nano's safety after a series of fires affecting the vehicles, offering free upgrades to win back the affection of the Indian market.
Last week, the Nano finished bottom of a customer satisfactions survey from global market research firm TNS Global, with the company saying that "the owners of Tata Nano expect more in terms of design."
The Geneva Motor Show is open to the public March 3-13 in Geneva, Switzerland.
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