Friday, November 23, 2007

Tata to patent its 1 lakh car

A little bit or background here.
Tata might showcase the 1 lakh car at the upcoming Auto Expo 2008. The car is almost into its final stages in the manufacturing cycle, the production version wont differ much from the one that will be displayed. The Tata 1-lakh car is expected to be a Tall Boy and have design clues taken from Mercedes Smart although the car would be 5 seater and will be powered by 800cc engine.

The company's current offering:-
Tata Indica

Tata Motors is seeking a global patent for the design and technology involved in the much awaited Rs one-lakh car.

The ET reports:
Tata, which has used a number of new concepts and ideas in developing this vehicle, wants to ensure that it is fully protected against any imitation in the ultra-competitive global auto industry.

It is not clear what aspect of technology Tata Motors was trying to patent. The engine will be mounted in the rear of the car, pushing the luggage compartment or dickey to the front, a trend that is common in the international markets. The changes apparently have been made to improve its fuel efficiency and ensure that the price tag is kept to a lakh. The higher-end version will feature manual gears and frills such as air-conditioning, power windows and power steering, among others.

Weight reduction is achieved by using low-gauge steel for body panels, while the rear mounted engine will reduce power wastage during transmission. Variomatic gears also help improve fuel mileage by increasing the torque output.

Initially, the company plans to make between 250,000 to 500,000 units a year, Tata said. While the base model will cost 100,000 rupees, the company will offer two more variants at a higher price with added features.

Many major automobile makers have secured patents for their cars in the past. Ford’s Model T, Volkswagen’s Beetle and the British Motor Corp’s Mini are the most notable ones. A patent, which protects some of its innovative ideas, will help Tata Motors in its efforts to sell the car beyond the home market. Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America are being considered as key markets by Bombay House, the seat of the group’s worldwide empire.

According to German auto consulting firm CSM Worldwide, the new car could help Tata Motors emerge as the country's largest manufacturer of cars and light trucks by 2013.

Analysts say that low-cost car producers are setting up base in India, and McKinsey estimates suggest it could become a global hub for small-car production the way the US is for pickups. Sources said that the one-lakh car is unlikely to be marketed in developed markets like the US which is essentially a big car market.

Source The ET

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