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Tata's Sports Car Project Goes Belly-Up

Tata’s Sports Car Project Goes Belly-Up

Plans to build a rival to the Mazda MX-5 are now on hold for the foreseeable future

Talk about a disappointing turn of events, especially after the excitement surrounding a possible Tata sports car hit its stride at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show with the introduction of the Tamo Racemo. Now it looks like we’re unlikely to see the Tamo Racemo, or any other Tata sports car for that matter, in the near future. A report from Autocar India has doused the excitement surrounding the Tamo Racemo as it appears that Tata is putting the project on ice as part of its plans to “reduce investments in non-core business ideas.”

Though the details behind the about-face turn have yet to be confirmed, the publication did cite sources within the company who believe that the sports car project is, at the very least, hanging by a thread. The costs of building the sports car seem to be the biggest culprit behind this sudden about-face. At the very least, it was a casualty of a bigger goal the company is now moving on to, which includes streamlining its business models in an effort to improve production volume and regain market shares. None of these new directives have the Tamo Racemo in it, which is a shame considering that it’s debut earlier this year in Geneva was met with so much promise. None of that excitement matters now, though, because at the end of the day, the proverbial “bottom line” has once again dictated its terms on another automaker. Hopefully, Tata can sort out all of the current issues it has and revisit the Tamo Racemo in the future. Just don’t count on it happening anytime soon.

Continue after the jump to read the full story

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Tamo Racemo Promises Lots Of Fun In A Small Package

Tamo Racemo Promises Lots Of Fun In A Small Package

It’s an Indian sports car with a high-tech attitude

There’s certainly no shortage of sports cars at the Geneva International Motor Show this year, with everything from affordable entry-level roadsters, to exotic top-dollar hyperspace mobiles on the list of debuts. Slotting in there somewhere is this – the Tamo Racemo, the latest product from Indian automaker Tata Motors. Tata is launching a new sub-brand called Tamo, and the Racemo is its first creation.

Described as “India’s first digitally native, connected, ‘phygital’ experience,” the mid-engine, two-door sports coupe seats two passengers and gets loads of performance cues inside and out. And if you’re asking yourself what “phygital” is supposed to be, the best way to describe it is that it offers a combination of features from both the physical and digital realms.

Basically, you could call this thing India’s first connected car. It comes replete with a ton of techy features, and it’ll be available for download via the Forza Horizon 3 gaming platform.

Not only that, but Tamo is offering a high-performance competition version called the Racemo+, and it’s likely Tamo will offer more inspired creations like this in the near future.

Production for the Racemo will be limited at 250 units, none of which are likely to make it stateside. For now, read on for further specs on the Tamo Racemo.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Tata Prepares New Model Based On The Discovery Sport Platform

Tata Prepares New Model Based On The Discovery Sport Platform

The news about Jaguar Land Rover’s parent company, the India-based Tata, using some of JLR’s platforms for its own models isn’t really news. That information has been floating around since last summer. However, it appears Tata has now tapped the new Land Rover Discovery Sport’s LR-MS underpinnings to be the first platform it will use in constructing a new segment of “world-class” vehicles.

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Tata Motors Boss Karl Slym Dies After Fall From Bangkok Hotel

Tata Motors Boss Karl Slym Dies After Fall From Bangkok Hotel

Here at TopSpeed, we don’t pay much attention to Tata Motors, mostly because it does not produce high-performance supercars. Today, however, we bring you tragic news concerning the company, as its managing director Karl Slym died yesterday after a fall from a Bangkok hotel. While the circumstances of his death were not disclosed initially, it is now rumored that the police are investigating his death as a possible suicide.

The incident happened at a Bangkok hotel where Slym was attending a board meeting. According to reports, a suicide note was found in Slym’s hotel room on the 22nd floor. Police are still investigating his death and a final ruling will be announced in about a week, following an autopsy.

Before joining Tata Motors, Karl Slym worked for Toyota UK, and then General Motors in India and China. Slym was named managing director of Tata Motors in October 2012.

As you probably expected, Slym’s death also affected Tata’s shares: this morning they tumbled almost 5 percent in Mumbai.

Click past the jump to read more about Tata’s best-known car, the Nano.

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Tata considering joint engine development with Jaguar Land Rover

Tata considering joint engine development with Jaguar Land Rover

It’s been about three years since Tata bought Jaguar and Land Roverfrom one of America’s big top three - Ford - and now the company is thinking of taking the last few necessary steps to completely cut ties with the former owner. A new Tata annual report has been released stating that the company is considering a joint engine-development program with its Jaguar Land Rover unit. If pushed through, the new engine could cement the two brands’ independence from Ford.

"To optimize the synergistic strengths between JLR and Tata Motors in India, an examination is also under way on a joint engine development program which would have manufacturing facilities both in the U.K. and India," Ratan Tata said in a recent interview.

These new engines will be a big step for the Indian company, who are beginning to pick up speed with models like the Range Rover Evoque and the new Jaguar XK and XF. Our concern will be for future models which will need adequate engines to obtain proper performance numbers matching that of the Ford-built engines. Whether or not Tata has the ability to pull something like this off is still up in the air.

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2011 Tata Pixel Concept

2011 Tata Pixel Concept

Poor Tata.

On any other motor show, their cute little concept vehicle called the ’Pixel’ would have gathered its fair share of attention. Unfortunately, it’s the Geneva Motor Show, where every automaker and their mother are all looking to put their best feet forward in all their attempts to showcase their latest rides.

So the Pixel has gone on largely unnoticed. So we’re here to show some love to our buddies over at India and give the Pixel its just do.

For starters, the Pixel Concept has got a few features that will surely endear Tata to futuristic city-car lovers, including the set of scissor doors that opens all the way up to save external ergonomic space. It also has a new transmission called the "Zero Turn toroidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission" (IVT). What it does, apart from all the standard items on its list, is rotate one rear wheel forward and the other backward that when combined with acute angles on the front wheels, allowing the car to have a turning circle of just 8.5 feet.

As for the engine, there’s nothing exciting about. It’s a 1.2-liter turbocharged diesel engine that carries an estimated fuel consumption of a pretty efficient 69 miles per gallon.

Say what you want about Tata and the Nano, but you have to give the Indian automaker some credit for thinking way out of the box with their Pixel Concept.

It’s cute, charming, and stylish - three qualities that you can’t say about the Nano.

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2011 Tata Safari

2011 Tata Safari

Although you’ve probably never heard of the Tata Safari, it’s a pretty big seller in other parts of the world. For 2011, there is a new model, although it still appears to be stuck in 1999. It will go on sale in India in the early part of 2011, followed by Europe later in the year.

The new model will pick up where the old one left off, but with more technical updates, a new design, and more attention to fit and finish. This means that the price will rise, but Tata is debating on continuing the production of the previous model, as a low cost variant. Hard to imagine BMW doing that with one of their models isn’t it?

The 2011 Tata Safari SUV will be based on its sibling Aria’s platform which will make the car more rigid and a better handler. The new model will also have lots of space and will be loaded with features such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a silver finish on the center console, Climate Control, and much more.

Tata will also use some of the technical know how from Jaguar Land Rover on the new Safari to help sales in Europe. The motor should be 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel with 140 horsepower.

Hit the jump for the full review.

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2011 Tata Aria

2011 Tata Aria

Tata Motors may have a slew of SUVs on its portfolio, not to mention owning Land Rover, but the Indian-based automaker is finally ready to dive into the crossover market with the launch of the Aria.

The crossover is powered by a 2.2-liter diesel engine that produces around 140 horsepower. It also comes with a number of features including traction control, ABS, ESP, six air bags, and a higher ride height that makes it look more like an SUV than what’s classified as a crossover.

The Aria’s interior is also chalk-full of high-end features including power mirrors, rain sensing wipers, a GPS nav-sat system, automatic climate control, height adjustable seats, glove box chiller, and Bluetooth. The features seem fitting for a vehicle Tata describes as a “luxurious creation with the finesse of a sedan and the muscle of an SUV all blended in one car.”

Tata has yet to release pricing and availability of the Aria crossover, but according to the brand, the car will most likely be sold in India exclusively.

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Tata Posts Nice Q1 Profit

Tata Posts Nice Q1 Profit

Tata Motors Ltd., the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, came away with a nice chunk of change in the first quarter of the automotive fiscal year. Not to mention a healthy climb for its stock.

The company posted a $430 million profit, which helped the stock climb 5.6 percent to a 19-year high, according to Bloomberg. That is nearly twice the amount of profit that analysts – and we use that term loosely – predicted. Sales for the company increased by 64 percent to $5.8 billion.

Jaguar Land Rover played a big role in all this, posting a $370 million profit during the first quarter. Sales increased from 35,947 to 57,153. That sales jump can easily be attributed to their fantastic new cars, including the XF and the XJ.

Tata was even successful with their own car and truck division, as it saw a 48 percent increase to a total of 181,708 vehicles sold, which included 14,779 Nano cars. That growth can be attributed to the strength of India’s economy.

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Another Tata Nano goes up in flames

Another Tata Nano goes up in flames

For $2,000 a pop, the Tata Nano city car is about as affordable as any production car you can find on the planet. And given its relatively cheap price tag, nobody will ever mistake the Nano for one of the fastest and sturdiest cars out there.

These days, the Nano has been on-fire in the news lately, and we mean that literally. After three separate incidents were reported last year of a Nano going up in flames, we now bring you episode number four.

According to an Indian news report, this Nano inexplicably burst into flames for no apparent reason. The owner of the car, insurance agent Satish Sawant and his chauffeur – don’t ask us why a Nano needs a chauffer – escaped the incident without any injuries, although they were as dumbfounded as the rest of us as to how the Nano – a car that was only recently purchased – caught fire just like that.

Continued after the jump.

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Tata makes bid to purchase stake in Pininfarina

Tata makes bid to purchase stake in Pininfarina

Much like its Italian counterpart Fiat, Tata seems to be going against the trend these days by purchasing as many car brands as it can possibly acquire. After having bought Jaguar and Land Rover, the Indian-based manufacturer is already lining up a package to purchase Pininfarina.

The Italian coachbuilder’s parent company, Pincar, recently put its 50.7% stake in the company out on the market and has even hired a bank to field prospective buyers. It seems like an odd pairing but that’s also what everybody said when word spread about Tata’s intent to purchase two luxury British brands in Jaguar and Land Rover – and we all know how that turned out.

Besides, it’s not like Tata and Pininfarina have no history together. If you might recall, the coachbuilders from the land of pizza were the ones who designed the Prima, Tata’s concept car, which appeared at the Geneva Motor Show a few months ago. If Tata does end up purchasing Pininfarina, it only shows that the Indian car makers are poised to become – if they’re not already – serious players in the auto industry for many years to come.

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Tata to increase Land Rover production

Tata to increase Land Rover production

It wasn’t that long ago when Tata Motors raised a lot of eyebrows when it purchased Jaguar and Land Rover, two struggling brands that were in bad need of resuscitation. For a while, it seemed like the purchase was going to backfire on the folks from India. It certainly didn’t help when the two British brands reported losses in excess of $1 billion last year while Tata also dealing with losses of over half a billion by themselves.

But now, thanks in part to the strong showing of the Jaguar XF and XJ series and recent news that Land Rover is set to increase production due to forecasts of strong demand for its Discover and Range Rover Sport SUVs, it’s looking like Tata is beginning to show everyone precisely why they bought these two brands in the first place.

Continued after the jump.

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Tata officially introduces Jaguar and Land Rover in India

Tata officially introduces Jaguar and Land Rover in India

Talk about a bittersweet ceremony.

Tata Motors finally launched its two newest brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, in India despite growing concerns of plunging sales and looming threats of job insecurity and factory closures dampening what should have been a momentous occasion for the Indian automaker.

Tata acquired the two luxury brands from Ford in March 2008 to the tune of $2.3 billion and while it was a monumental acquisition at the time, the continued struggles of Jaguar and Land Rover has sapped some of Tata’s good fortune. Ever since Tata acquired the two brands, the company has lost over $504 million, marking the first time since 2001 that Tata has reported an annual loss on their bottom line.

We don’t blame Tata for this acquisition. After all, adding two luxury brands to your company roster is a deal that you’d be ill-advised to pass up. Unfortunately, they just did it at the wrong time – soon after they made the purchase, the global economy collapsed. Talk about bad timing.

Continued after the jump

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Tata struggles with the Jaguar and Land Rover brands

Tata struggles with the Jaguar and Land Rover brands

Tata Motors Ltd.’s purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover caught the auto industry by surprise. As far as the water cooler talk surrounding the purchase was considered, a familiar question was repeatedly asked: How can a truck-maker from India end up buying two of the most luxurious brands in the world today?

Now, it seems that the purchase has come back and turned the tables on the Indian truck giant.

For the first time in seven years, Tata has posted a consolidated net loss of over 25 billion rupees ($520 million) from the period of April 2008 up to March 2009. This, of course, is a stark contrast from Tata’s performance a year ago when it made a net income of 22 billion rupees.

The culprits for this unfortunate about-face in company fortunes lies in the plummeting sales of the industry’s luxury car segment as to which both Jaguar and Land Rover are staples. For one, Land Rover sales fell to 120,000 after selling a little under 200,000 units the year before. Similarly, the sale of Jaguar vehicles met a similar fate, falling to 47,000 units from 50,000 the previous year.

Continued after the jump.

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Tata Nano is the new car for the 'thrift-seeker'

Tata Nano is the new car for the ’thrift-seeker’

Given that we’re all living through one of the worst economic times since The Great Depression, it seems that money pinching and budget tightening has become the new fad these days.

So when the topic of purchasing a cheap car surfaces, there aren’t a lot of manufacturers that can offer more for less than the Tata Nano.

With a price tag that comes up to only $2,200 in India, including taxes and fees, the Tata Nano – not to be mistaken for the Macintosh MP3 player - is becoming the latest must-have car of the cash-strapped man.

While it doesn’t look the least bit imposing, the Nano is still less than a quarter of the next set of cheap cars you can find anywhere.

After all, when you strip down the essentials of a car, the most obvious need is for you to be able to get to Point B from Point A, which after all is what we’re all looking for, right?

Continued after the jump.

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Tata Pr1ma Concept

Tata Pr1ma Concept

A sign of things to come

The Tata Nano is definitely not the kind of car that catches a lot of buzz. However the Pr1ma Concept, revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, is. With this concept Tata Motors has taken a huge step forward. The vehicle was designed byPininfarina, and offers an indication of how the next generation of Tata saloons might be interpreted. The focus is on the distinctive, elegant design.

Conceived to provide a luxurious level of comfort, this 4-door has a straight-forward but very refined design. All this combined with twisting lines give the car the personality of a coupe. It is a solution that immediately adds value, compared to the basic essential design usually associated with the Tata brand.

The Tata Pr1ma addresses a higher segment of drivers; the external and internal measurements are larger than those of the Indigo, thanks in part to a longer wheelbase. The design balances fluidity and tension, and the result is an elegant look, that manages to be both classic and modern. This type of creation is what the Indian automaker needs to elevate themselves to the next level of automotive manufacturing. You may even see them popping up here in the U.S.

Press release after the jump.

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Fiat, Next Super Power?

Fiat, Next Super Power?

Fiat was making poor quality cheap cars. Their cars were boring slow and the saying "fix it again Tony" reigned true. They were a company on the brink of bankruptcy.

Sergio Marchionne took over as CEO for Fiat in June of 2004. The Marchionne era of Fiats have been of better quality and better style. Under Marchionne Fiat has introduced the Bravo, Grande Punto, 500 and many more great cars. Under Marchionne Fiat has formed a joint venture with India’s TATA motors and China’s Chery motors. Marchionne also brought Fiat back to Mexico and Australia.

Fiat has partnered up with BMW to help relaunch the Alfa Romeo brand into North America. It is believed that new Alfa Romeo 149, which will replace the 147, will be built on a BMW platform and possibly even have a BMW power plant. This is great news for people who would like BMW handling with the beautiful line of an Alfa Romeo.

On January 20, 2009 Fiat and Chrysler announced the formation of a global alliance, in which Fiat will take a 35% stake in Chrysler with the opportunity of having as much as a 55% stake in the future.

So whats next for Fiat? They have been on a steady up rise since 2004 and they are showing no signs of stopping.

Will Fiat eventually come close to Toyota figures in the future? That will all depend on how North American sales will be, Once Fiat does come back to North America it doesn’t look like they will ever be leaving. Finally a new Italian car that will not send you back six figures.

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Tata’s Nano is now homeless

Tata was not messing around when it said that the protests at the Nano plant may make it go elsewhere. Yesterday Tata announced that is was stopping construction on the plant in Singur, a farming community in West Bengal state in India. The company said in a statement, “This decision was taken in order to ensure the safety of its employees and contract labor, who have continued to be violently obstructed from reporting to work.” The center of the problem is the 400 acres of farmland that was taken for the factory grounds, and the farmers that want it back. This represents a large setback to the world’s cheapest car considering the plant construction was near completion and employed about 4,000 people so far.

Now the Nano is now shopping for a new home. There is no word on how this setback will effect production schedules or possibly the price of the $2,500 car.

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Tata halted Nano's production

Tata halted Nano’s production

Tata Nano was supposed to be the cheapest car in the world. People should have been thrilled about it, but not everyone is so cheery.

Tata was supposed to build the Nano at the plant in the Singur area of India. That was before it has been blockaded by farmers who have decided not to cede 162 hectares of terrain destined for factory expansion. The West Bengal government hasn’t reached an agreement with the workers, and it decided not to use force to prevent the protests. Given the situation, production has been stopped. Tata has threatened the local government with moving production to other areas if a solution cannot be reached in the near future.

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For the price of two Nanos, Tata gives you twice the car

For the price of two Nanos, Tata gives you twice the car

Tata is getting the attention of the world with its micro car called the Nano. The Indian company has also gained a worldwide distribution network with its acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover. Its distribution is further enhanced if it sells Nanos through Fiat. With all of this, it looks like Tata may be setting the stage to become a world brand.

If this is true, what else does it have to offer? Tata may have given a glimpse at what is available with the launch of the Indica Vista at home this week. For a little more than the price of two Nanos (under $6,000 at current exchange rates,) Tata customers can get a car that’s over two feet longer and eight inches wider than the Nano.

Powering the Indica Vista will be either a 75 hp diesel or 65 hp gas engine. While this kind of small power isn’t something that lends itself to the U.S. market, this may be in line for Europe. If the Indica could meet Euro NCAP safety regulations, this would be a car that may have potential. For example Proton, a Malaysian company that also owns Lotus, sells a small car called the Savvy in Europe. While this is considered a bargain basement car, it is similar in specifications to the Indica but costs about 1000 pounds more.

Is all this speculation? Mostly. But what can’t be ignored is the desire for companies to grow, and this may be the next Tata to be given to the world.

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Violent protests threaten to halt Tata Nano production

Violent protests threaten to halt Tata Nano production

The October production of the Tata Nano, a $2,300 mini-car, may be slowed or halted due to violent protests at the new Singur, West Bengal plant. Eruption of protests began after Tata build a $350 million plant on the site of fertile farmland. The West Bengal state government provided Tata Motors with 1,000 acres for the factory, which they brought from local farmers. Some farmers refused to sell and are demanding the return of their land.

The increasing amount of violence is concerning Tata, so much so that the Indian automaker is considering completely abandoning the site. “What has concerned us is the violence, the disruptions, that has led us to be concerned about the safety of our employees, our equipment and investment, and of the viability of the process,” said Chairman Ratan Tata “If anybody is under the impression that because we have made this very large investment of 1,500 crore rupees ($350 million), that we would not move, then they are wrong, because we would move, whatever the cost, to protect our people. I can’t bring our managers and the families to West Bengal, if they’re going to be beaten, if there is going to be violence constantly, if their children are going to be afraid to go to school.”

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