Looking at making an electric car
To enter into defence equipment production
MUMBAI: The current fiscal is going to be a difficult year with policy uncertainties, fuel price rise, increasing costs and inflation, Tata Motors Chairman Ratan Tata said here on Thursday. “It will be a difficult year and a daunting year but it is not necessary that it will be a bad year,” he said, addressing the shareholders at the company’s 63rd annual general meeting.
Tata Motors has announced an unchanged dividend of 150 per cent for 2007-08 and Mr. Tata said that besides launching new products, this year the company was looking at making an electric car and was competing for an Eco car in Thailand. It was also launching a new, world-class range of trucks to replace the current range. The company was planning to foray into defence equipment manufacture and would set up a new facility to make floor-beams for airline company Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
The company had made an investment with a French company for work on a vehicle using compressed air as fuel. Mr. Tata said contrary to claims that the Tata Nano would result in traffic congestion and increased pollution, “the Nano will be 12 per cent less polluting than a two-wheeler. As regards congestion, one has to put the issue in perspective. Last year, India sold 1.2 million cars against eight million in China, while in India 7.3 million two-wheelers were sold last year. Of the total population in India, 14.5 million constitute cars and there are 80 million two-wheelers. Even at one million cars per year, over five years, we will not add more than 4-5 per cent of cars on the road. It would not be fair to blame congestion on the Nano.”
The Nano car will be launched in the last quarter of the current calendar year, initially with a petrol engine and a diesel version would follow.
On the Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) acquisition, Mr. Tata said there was tremendous engineering capability. Barring the current economic situation in the U.S. and Europe with high fuel prices, in the long term, they offered an interesting set of products.