TATA'S EYE OPENER
HE Indian carmaker that shocked the auto industry with the cheapest car in the world has done it again.
The Tata Motors group used the New Delhi Auto Expo to unveil its newest lowcost car — the Magic Iris.
TLike the Nano, which created a global stir when it was revealed last year, the quirky five-passenger van is clearly designed aimed at the millions of Indians who presently ride bikes and rickshaws.
At less than $US2000 ($A2240), it will hit Indian showrooms later this year.
Tata said the car ‘‘offered safer and more comfortable mobiilty for those who depend on three-wheelers’’.
The Magic Iris is powered by a 611cc diesel engine that delivers a top speed of 55km/h and a 10-litre fuel tank.
The car’s roll-out follows the Nano pickup, which is expected to arrive later this year.
Following the same principle as the Nano car, the pickup has a 350cc threecylinder engine, single windscreen wiper, three-wheel lugs to save cost and weight, a short wheelbase and roomy interior.
The pickup has a half-tonne payload, a metal roof and fabric side rear windows.
The arrival of the Magic Iris comes as Tata prepares to enter one of the toughest markets in the world — North America.
Tata Group chairman Rata Tata said the company would start selling its Nano there within three years.
The Nano was shown at the North American International Motor Show in Detroit.
Tata’s US-based Tata Technologies played a key role in engineering the Nano and help secure 18 patents on the car’s design and engineering.
Tata Technologies president and CEO Warren Harris said the company was ‘‘front-and-centre’’ in engineering and developing the Nano.
‘‘We worked closely with Tata Motors and with a significant number of the Nano project suppliers,’’ Harris said.
The model on display in Detroit is on loan from Tata’s advanced engineering and design centre in Pune, India.