TATA'S EYE OPENER

NT News - Motoring - - NEWS -

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.

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