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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 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 to Sport FEV's Diesel Engine

Tata Nano to Sport FEV’s Diesel Engine

Tata is taking steps to makes sure the little Nano won’t be short on power. FEV, a German engineering and powertrain firm, is right now actively working on the diesel engine for the Nano to debut later next year. The 800 cc, turbocharged CRDI engine would most likely be the tiniest engine with common rail technology in the world, taking the crown from Daimler.

The CRDI systems are being developed in conjunction with Bosch, while Honeywell Turbo India is working on the turbo charger. Originally the 700 cc CRDI engine, which Tata uses in its Ace mini-truck was considered for the Nano, but Tata has decided against it. The new FEV engine is cheaper and could also involve more progressive technology to battle emissions, redeem a better fuel economy, and achieve better engine refinement.

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Greener, more frugal versions of Tata Nano on the cards

Greener, more frugal versions of Tata Nano on the cards

The Tata Nano continues to make headlines both for the right and wrong reasons since its unveiling at the Delhi AutoExpo in January this year. Land acquisition trouble and rising inflation which has past well over 11% in the country has created a new set of problems for Tata, although the manufacturer is hell-bent on retailing the base model at $2,500 and more importantly on the previously decided dead line of anytime between September and October.

The good news is that Tata is working on multiple variants of the Nano. No, not bumper colors or alloy wheels, by variants, we mean powertrain options. Sources say a battery powered Nano might roll out of the Singur plant in West Bengal very shortly along with air-powered and micro-hybrid (start-stop technology) models.

The compressed air technology would be borrowed from French company MDI, which uses compressed air to push the piston. An onboard compressor pressurizes air which is stored in a tank for use, a technology which works pretty well, and is one of the best alternatives to an electric car.

Otherwise, the Tata Nano uses a 2-cylinder 624 cc engine that produces a little over 30 hp. The tailpipe emissions are minimal and is less than what an average motorcycle in India would emit.

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Caparo to supply body panels for Nano

Caparo to supply body panels for Nano

Caparo, the manufacturer of the super-advanced Caparo T1, will build body structures for the Tata Nano. Caparo has been manaufacturing similar items for other auto makers in India for the last three years. Their customer list also boasts of JCB and Ashok Leyland.

60% of the assemblies will be taken care by Caparo. The structural panels will be pressed and assembled at the factory in Singur, West Bengal, where the car will be manufactured. To keep the costs down, Caparo has used a new semi automated production line with zero fault forward quality control systems that will ensure maximum efficiency.

"The body technology is relatively conventional, but the manufacturing technology is the result of very sophisticated analysis to ensure high-quality, low cost production," said Caparo Group CEO Angad Paul.

The reason why Tata has handed this task to Caparo is because of their good reputation for producing high quality components, and they also supply components to rival Maruti Suzuki’s 800.

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