The province of Moselle in France today said Tata Motors should explore setting up a manufacturing unit for the Nano in the region as it could facilitate the company’s plans to launch the world’s cheapest car in Europe by 2011.

“Tata Motors should take a look at the Moselle province for establishing manufacturing and logistics units for Nano cars,” Moselle Development Agency Director General M. David Malingrey told PTI on the sidelines of the JEC Composites Show.

He said the province also has lucrative business openings for major auto component makers as it is home to German firm Daimler’s manufacturing unit for its popular urban two-seater small car ‘Smart’.

Leading Canadian automobile parts maker Magna, which supplies automobile parts to the Smart cars, also has its unit here, he said.

Mr. Malingrey said, “By the end of this month, we are planning to contact Tata Motors in India with a proposal to look at the investment opportunities here for the Nano.”

The setting up of a manufacturing base in Moselle will help Tata Motors expand the Nano’ market across Europe fast, he added.

Last year, Tata Group Chief Ratan Tata had said that the company hopes to have a version for Europe by 2011 and one for the US perhaps by 2012.

Tata Nano is the world’s cheapest car priced at Rs. 1,00,000. It was commercially launched in India last year. If the company plans to launch a version in Europe, it would have to boost the safety features of Nano and meet higher emissions standards, as well.

The Moselle Development Agency is the key body in France in search for international investors.

Its Director General Malingrey further said that the Tata Group is aware of the province as Tata Corus Rail has a production plant for the TGV High Speed Train with a workforce of 400 people.

Highlighting the benefits that the province offers for Tata Motors, Moselle Development Agency Director for Asia M. Thierry Petry said that Moselle is strategically located covering cross-borders of France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg with over 11 million consumers.

“It offers better advantages for the Indian company than the other provinces in Europe in terms of cheaper real estate and skilled labour force,” he noted.

The cost of land at present in Moselle is around 10 euro per square meter, while it is ten times higher in Germany and Luxembourg, Mr. Petry said.

Besides, the province is well-connected to major centres via road, air and river transportation. There is availability of raw materials such as steel and plastics that are required for the automobile industry and there is a strong political will to build business ties between Moselle and India, he added.

Within 150 kms radius of the province, it has the production plants of the Mercedes A-class, Mercedes Evobus, Opel and Ford Focus.

It also has automotive component manufacturers such as German players Behr, Lapp and Peirburg and US-based firms like Johnson Control, the Agency said.

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