Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tata Nano online bookings from September

Tata Motors will start online bookings for Nano from September as the Nano Car comes out in the market early October. The company has no plans as of now to issue new Nano dealerships and has asked its existing dealerships to upgrade their stores for the Nano. Market sources say that the company would accept online bookings through is part of the mjunction Services which is a collaboration between SAIL and Tata Steel.
autojunction currently sells Reva, an electric car online.

Tata Nano launch in October in time for Durga Puja

Tata Nano will be out in the market from Tata Motors Singur facility in West Bengal by October this year in spite of the project facing cost overrun. Tata Motors ambitious Nano project has been facing cost overrun but the company is still trying to maintain the Rs one lakh car tag.

Company Managing Director Ravi Kant told“We have already sunk in Rs 2000 crore”. Kant added that earlier the project cost was pegged at Rs 1700 crore.

Stating that Tata Motors was fully committed to the Singur project, Kant said if everything went well as planned, then the Nano car would be rolled out from the plant during Durga Puja.“We hope to start trial production during July or August” he said. Asked whether there was a possibility of Nano being rolled out from any other plant of Tata Motors, Kant said, “Nano will be produced out of West Bengal”.

Mr. Kant had earlier stated that while the company’s focus would remain the domestic market for the first couple of years, Tata Motors was keen to take the car to Africa and Latin America as the global interest for the small car is increased meanwhile.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Competition to nano? Toyota IQ : Small Car

While not a threat to Tata Nano in terms of price, Toyota's new mini-car concept, the IQ, was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The IQ is only 2.98 m long which makes it about a foot longer than the Smart For Two. While the Smart is strictly a two seater, the Japanese mini is advertised as a 3+1 seater. That means there are two seats that can be inhabited by adults in the front.

The asymmetrical dashboard design allows the front passenger seat to be pulled forward, allowing another adult and potentially a child to sit in the back hence the + 1. No information is available about what kind of drivetrain the car might include other than it's location at the front of the car. The IQ may go on sale in Europe as early as 2009 and would likely have an engine in the 1.0L range.

Tata Nano ready to explore licensed manufacturing route to meet demand

Speaking to a few Indian journalists here at the ongoing 78th Geneva Motor Show, on the sidelines of the unveiling function for the Tata Nano, Mr Ratan Tata said, “Every decision must be based on the demand for the car. If we cannot meet it, we will look at licensed manufacturing.”

In addition to compressing the gestation time for the launch of the Nano in overseas markets, licence manufacturing the car in important geographies will also go on to reduce costs involved in sourcing and logistics.

Speaking about the Nano’s plans for the domestic market, Mr Tata said that the company was considering the idea of distributed manufacturing for the Nano, where ‘easy-to-assemble kits’ can be sold to local entrepreneurs who can then assemble and sell the car at their end in pre-defined locations.

Tata Nano packs in crowds at Geneva Motor Show

Although the car will never be offered for sale in the Europe, the Tata Nano has proved to be among the biggest draw at the Geneva Motor Show.
Just minutes after the unveiling of the Nano at the Geneva Motor Show, Prodrive boss and now CEO of Aston Martin David Richards pumped Tata Motors MD Ravi Kant’s hand warmly saying, “there are so many beautiful cars around but you guys have stolen the show.” A visibly thrilled Kant replied, “Coming from you that’s a huge compliment.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Renault-Nissan to Proceed With Rival to Tata's Nano

bajaj small car ( a potential partner for Renault)

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Renault SA and Japanese affiliate Nissan Motor Co. will proceed with building an ultra low-cost car to rival the Nano unveiled by India's Tata Motors Ltd., Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said.

``We'll go ahead with it,'' said Ghosn, who heads the second-largest French carmaker and Tokyo-based Nissan, in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Renault and Nissan are looking for sales growth in emerging markets to make up for stagnating demand in their home countries and the dollar's declines against the yen, which undermines the value of Nissan's North American earnings. The Nano, which Tata plans to price at about $2,500, may upstage Renault's no-frills Logan, which costs buyers about four times as much.

Tata's Nano capacity may be increased to 500,000 vehicles

The production capacity of the Rs 1 lakh car Nano by Tata Motors at Singur may be ramped up to five lakhs per annum in three years, if vendors planning to supply components, are to be believed.

"Tatas plan to increase production capacity of Nano at Singur to five lakh vehicles in three years and we are ready to cope with demand for components," claimed Sandipan Chakravorrty, Managing Director of Tata Ryerson, which is one of the key component suppliers for the Nano.

Tata Motors has announced a first phase production capacity at 250,000 per annum for Nano, which could be expanded further. The small car is to roll out in the third quarter of the next fiscal.

Tata Ryerson, a 50:50 JV between Tata Steel and Ryerson Inc, will supply the load bearing member (chassis for the car) and 16 non-load bearing components.

Chakravorrty said the components, which would use a technology which would be the first in Asia, were tested in international laboratories.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tata Nano - OEM, Supplier Relationship

(source newsletter, 14th January)
Tata divided the components into two types – proprietary designs and Tata Motors design. For proprietary design components, Tata went with established suppliers such as Bosch (which supplies the engine management system and has significantly contributed to the future diesel engine). Bosch split the development between its design centres in Bangalore and Germany. Using local design capabilities was a crucial decision, as most global design centres were accustomed to designing high-end systems, employing development staff at a significantly higher wage levels.

For components and systems designed in-house, Tata Motors chose suppliers with strong process capabilities who could give valuable suggestions and improve on the designs. Nearly everything has been sourced locally and the Nano will have 97% local content from day one. Tata’s supplierswere an integral part of not only the design and development process, but also purchasing.

While Tata started work with 600 suppliers and a total of 1,800 supplier-part combinations, these were eventually narrowed down to 100 suppliers for the platform.

Hydro-forming is used for all the Nano’s tubular structures, resulting in weight reductions and simple production processes and stamping has been replaced by roll-forming process. Roll forming allows a common tooling for a number of parts, fewer operations and better productivity. Tata not only worked on its own processes but also helped its vendors innovate.

Cost saving was also achieved by using thinner materials wherever the design allowed, so the bumpers are only 2.5mm thick, against 3mm on the Tata Indica super mini.

Half of the 100 vendors for the project are co-locating with Tata in a 350-acre vendor park in SIngur next to the new Tata plant. Instead of annual contracts, Tata went with long term volume contracts with its suppliers, driving down the costs even further. The suppliers received significant volume commitments from Tata Motors, with about 75% of the components being single-source and about 90% of the total car being outsourced.

A three-shift operation and consolidated purchasing with suppliers allowed for a further reduction in costs.

While the first plant at Singur will eventually have a capacity of 350,000 units, Tata wants to set up three other plants in different parts of India to sell a million units per year eventually. With four plants in various locations, the company aims to save significantly on logistics and inter-state taxation.

Tata’s current challenge is to have all the suppliers in the vendor park up and running by the start-of-production of the plant. With the Nano, Tata is aiming for a less than 100 ppm rejection rate (better than existing Tata plants) and a ten-fold improvement in warranty costs.

CNG Nano?

What better way to get the biggest bang for your buck than a CNG Nano (the petrol Nano promises 20 km per litre).

Though Tatas are not telling whether they are on the road to a CNG Nano, a top Tata official said: "We will first roll out the petrol Nano. We will work on other fuel options as well."

With CNG kit makers like Shrimankar Fuel Technologies Ltd promising to run bikes and scooters on small CNG tanks which can accommodate 1kg of gas, why can't the Nano?

Currently, M-800 fits in a 60-litre water capacity tank that packs in 10-11 kg of CNG.

"Though we have not figured the space Nano has, we can design a special kit," says Shrimankar who feels CNG will make the Nano sweeter by slashing running costs by over half to around 0.85 paise per km as against Rs 2.38 per km on petrol (Ahmedabad's fuel rates).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Some TATA nano jokes

I must apologize to our non-hindi reading audience. But then, a picture's worth a thousand words!

Friday, January 11, 2008

India Domestic Market Share for Vehicles

India Vehicle Manufacturing Capacity

Installed Capacities in the Indian Automobile Industry 2003-04
2003-2004 2004-2005
Installed Capacity (In Million) Installed Capacity (In Million)
a) Four Wheelers
a) Four Wheelers
b) Two &Three Wheelers
b) Two &Three Wheelers
c) Engines
c) Engines

Primary focus - two wheelers

The family two-wheeler, which is in the range of 75-125cc, costs Rs 35,000-50,000. This segment accounts for 92% of the two-wheeler market in India in terms of sales. With the launch of Nano (supposed to cost Rs 100,000 + taxes), the spillover will happen from this two-wheeler market to Nano.

Delphi Experience on Tata Nano - Keeping instrumentation simple

Speaking about the company’s experience with cost control for the Rs 1-lakh car, Mr Ashok B. Ramaswamy, President and Managing Director, Delphi India, said that there was a considerable amount of lateral thinking that the Indian development team had to do to come up with ideas for crashing the cost structure.

So, the instrument cluster was kept basic with just a speedometer, odometer and turn indicator signals being featured. The other ways by which Delphi cut costs for the component supplied was by eliminating screws and replacing them simply with panels and parts that just snap on firmly.

Also the clear plastic panel that covers the display was curved at an angle to eliminate reflections and glare, a simple solution compared to the usual anti-glare coatings and so on.

Mr Ramaswamy felt that Tata Motors choose Delphi’s solution because of its expertise in systems integration capabilities.

He also mentioned that while the company’s US-based product development teams are used to working on feature-rich, content-rich products, the Indian product teams are more focused on cutting costs.

This was a big reason why, though the Indian team is also used to developing global products, it was also able to think innovatively to develop low-cost technology solutions such as the Nano instruments and the engine management systems for fuel-injected two-wheeler engines.

How Tata Nano stacks up Vs other historic low cost cars

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ratan Tata on Assembly of the car

"The first thing I would like to do is get a mature product in the Indian market and seed this market effectively. My aim was that I would produce a certain volume of cars and create a very low cost, very low break-even-point plant that a young entrepreneur could buy. A bunch of entrepreneurs could establish an assembly operation and Tata Motors would train their people, would oversee their quality assurance and they would become satellite assembly operations for us. So we would create entrepreneurs across the country that would produce the car. We would produce the mass items and ship it to them as kits. That is my idea of dispersing wealth. The service person would be like an insurance agent who would be trained, have a cellphone and scooter and would be assigned to a set of customers. This is just a concept. He will deal with their problems on a self employed basis and would be paid by the assembler and the customer.

It would be satisfying if the small car created 10-15 satellite groups of young engineers who could get together and do a business. They would never be able to get normally into assembly of cars. I think it will be a very satisfying thing for me to see them succeed.

What we will do outside India will be a conventional distribution system. Find an assembly plant and assemble the product in the conventional form."
(excerpts from Mr. Ratan Tata interview in ToI)

10% of two-wheeler market?

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Anand Rathi - Automobile & Transportation, said that almost 10% of the two-wheeler market may shift to Tata’s new Rs 1 lakh car. He said, “ The car is priced at Rs 1 lakh and one look at the dealer margin and if we add the VAT the registration charge, the base model could workout to be Rs 1,30,000 lakh on road.With a Rs 30,000 down payment, you can take a loan of around Rs 1 lakh and EMI works out to be around Rs 3,716 per month. With just Rs 3,700 per month on an EMI, I believe anybody can afford this product. As far as the shift is concerned, initial estimates is around 10% of the two-wheeler market can actually shift towards the small car.”

Nano explained

(from NY Times - Take it with a grain of salt!)

Impact on pollution?

While we agree that there will be an impact, look at what other countries are doing and where they are! India is really nowhere!

In 2005, Indian vehicles released 219 million tons of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

By 2035, that number is projected to increase to 1,467 million tons, due largely to the expanding middle-class and the expected rise of low-cost cars, according to the Asian Development Bank.

By comparison, USA emitted 5,912.21 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2004.

Tata Nano - Interior

Minimalistic! But its meant to be that way!