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Nano Likely To Be Assembled In Indonesia, E. Europe: Tata

PTI 12 Aug 2011, 20:01:56 IST
PTI

Mumbai, Aug 12: Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata today the country's largest automaker is looking at assembling facilities in Indonesia and in Eastern Europe for rolling out its small car Nano.

“We are already selling the Nano in Sri Lanka and Nepal. We are also looking at assembling facilities for this, possibly in Indonesia and in some parts of Eastern Europe,” Tata told the company AGM here. However, he did not specify which European country would be his choice. By and large Tata Motors is also looking at assembly of some of its vehicles in Latin America, Brazil, Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, and in some other countries, Tata said, adding, “our plan is in fact to grow both in the neighbourhood and in some specific countries.”

On the company's JV with the Italian company Fiat, which is still making losses, Tata said, “Yes, the Fiat JV is showing losses. Assumptions (made while starting the JV) in terms of volumes didn't work out, more so for Fiat than for us because there was a downturn and they made an assumption on off-take which did not materialise.

“Well, as we are 50 percent owners, we have had to share in losses of the company. Both Fiat and we are having a re-look at the whole contractual undertaking to see whether we can make it more realistic. So, I hope we will be able to resolve that in course of time,” he said.

Tata also said the company is planning to introduce its electric cars in Britain and Norway shortly. He further said that the auto major is planning to sew together a joint venture in China for assembling the Range Rovers besides exploring the possibility of setting up a joint engine project with Jaguar.

The Tata Group bought the British marquees Jaguar Land Rover brands from Ford Motor a few years back and had successfully revived the company and today almost 60 percent of Tata Motors' sales come from this business.

Yesterday, Tata Motors reported a flat 1.4 percent rise in standalone profit in the June quarter as the company was impacted by the rise in raw material costs and a drop in domestic sales coupled with shrinking margins even as its sales rose 14 percent to Rs 11,833.19 crore and had warned of more margin pressures in the coming quarters.

On the coming quarters, Tata said the coming years pose considerable challenge and demand for cars may be dampened due to the global economic happenings. Similarly, if infrastructure spends go down, commercial vehicle sales can be affected, he said.

On the ongoing macroeconomic crisis in the West, Tata said the country will have to use this downturn as an opportunity to leverage our low-cost capabilities, right from design to manufacturing.

“We should tailor ourselves to become an auto hub,” he said, adding Tata Motors India will explore the possibility of having a joint engine development project with its British arm Jaguar.

Stating that the days of relative complacency is behind the company, he said Tata Motors will have to protect its market share in the country. Currently, it enjoys only third slot in the car market after Maruti and Hyundai, while in the bus and truck spaces, it is the market leader.

On expanding into overseas market, he said the company is exploring the possibility of expanding into South Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia where Tata products may have an acceptance. But he said, for this, the company needs to see where it can complement with JLR, which has a presence in 116 countries. PTI