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Tata Nano Catches Fire

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Tata Nano in flames
Sure the Tata Nano is puny and would certainly be demolished in a collision with practically any car and cow on the road, but we didn’t know they were catching fire under heavy use. Apparently, two or more Nanos have already caught fire. In the latest incident, Insurance agent Satish Sawant took delivery of his Tata Nano in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. Since he cannot drive, the company organized a chauffeur to deliver the car home.

On his way back, a motorcyclist on the Eastern Express Highway while overtaking signaled something was wrong to the rear of his car. Sawant turned and noticed fire. He and the driver immediately jumped out of the $2,500 car to safety.

According to Sawant:

I have no idea what happened. A motorcycle rider overtook me and told me that the vehicle was on fire. The engine was behind me and I did not realize that the car was on fire.

The guys over at Indian Autos Blog are speculating that the cooling system might be the culprit.

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Australia

Tata Tuff Truck Concept Bows in Australia, Details and Pictures

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Tata Tuff Concept

Tata Motors used the National 4×4 & Outdoors Show in Australia to unveil the Tata Tuff concept. The mid-size pickup truck was jointly-developed with Australian distributor Fusion Automotive and designed by Julian Quincey, chief designer at Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).

Based on the Tata Xenon pickup, the Tuff has a bold look, thanks in large part to pretty good proportions, an aggressive front fascia with LED daytime running lights, a matte gray paint color apparently borrowed from Jaguar and Land Rover (Tata owns both companies), and 20-inch billet aluminum wheels wearing off-road tires. It also features winch and tow hooks.

Performance specification were not released, but the Australian-spec Xenon is powered by a 2.2-liter turbo diesel engine that produces 150 horsepower and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque. It is connected to a five-speed manual transmission and a shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system.

While currently not considered for production, the Tuff concept may one day make it to the assembly line.

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Budget cars

Tata Nano is a Sales Flop, Indians Shun it Like the Plague

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Tata Nano

Ratan Tata had high hopes for the Tata Nano; however, the pint-sized hatchback has failed to live up to expectations, selling just 229,157 units since going on sale in July 2009. That’s a far cry from the 250,000 units its factory was designed to build annually.

Designed as an ultra-affordable alternative for India’s not-so-well-off masses, the Nano was expected to set the country’s sales chart on fire [no pun intended]. However, it’s the low price tag that may be its undoing.

As it turns out, most Indians are turned off by the car’s budget image and murky positioning. Scooter drivers, in particular, weren’t attracted because others “don’t think I’m buying a car, they think I’m buying something between a two- wheeler and a car,” Tata Managing Director Karl Slym told . “Anyone who had a car didn’t want to buy it because it was supposed to be a two-wheeler replacement,” he added.

Tata is already working towards addressing the image problem. Slym says the company will update the Nano to attract “a wide variety of buyers and price points,” although he didn’t provide any details. But one thing is for sure — updating the existing Nano will likely not be enough.

A new version of the Nano based on the Pixel concept could be in the works. The concept, which debuted at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, features such upgrades as scissor doors, air conditioning, a diesel engine and an automatic transmission.

While Slym is optimistic about a redesigned Nano, there is no guarantee that the mew model will reverse the Nano’s abysmal sales performance.

Would you buy or even consider the Tata Nano if it was offered in your country? Let us know in the comment section.

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Budget cars

Redesigned Tata Nano Coming to North America

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Tata Nano

Ratan Tata, CEO of the Tata Group, has confirmed that a redesigned Tata Nano — the world’s cheapest car — will be available in the U.S. in three years time.

Bare bone in its native country of India, the Nano will pack more gear to better appease American senses, receiving such features as power steering and traction control. Tata said the car will carry a sub-$10,000 price tag.

“The Smart and the Fiat 500 have high sticker prices, and people buy them because they are small cars,” Tata told Automotive News. “But everyone knows you put a lot of money into it. We hope that the sub-$10,000 car has appeal.”

Despite Tata’s desire to sell the Nano in North America, it lacks the distribution channel to do so, a problem that has yet to be addressed.

“We have to give a lot of thought to how we would distribute the car,” Ratan said.

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