Tata shows Nano Europa at Geneva

Tata Motors revealed the made-for-Europe Nano Europa, the Prima saloon concept and the Indica Vista EV at the recent Geneva Motor Show 2009.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 18 Mar 2009 Views icon3105 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Tata shows Nano Europa at Geneva
Tata also displayed the Pr1ma, a concept luxury saloon, and the Indica Vista EV, an electric vehicle based on the new-generation Tata Indica Vista. Speaking at the show, Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Motors, said: “We are delighted to present the Nano Europa for future launch in such markets. The Indica Vista EV represents the work of Tata Motors on alternate technologies, while the Pr1ma is an iteration of a luxury sedan we will introduce. Together, they signify the ongoing evolution of our cars.”

The key differences in the Nano Europa are to meet the regulatory requirements for safety and emissions, which are much tougher in Europe than in India. This will have a knock-on effect on costs and the Nano for Europe will escalate from an Rs 1-lakh car to at least a Euro 5000 (Rs 3.25 lakh) car. That’s a substantial hike from the India-spec car, but even at this price, it would be the cheapest car in Europe.

The most obvious changes are the bigger front and rear bumpers which incorporate new wheel arches. The car also has a slightly longer wheelbase measuring 2280mm and its headlights have been updated, along with the design of the lower half of the bumpers and neater, round fog lights. These changes help give the Nano a slightly more sophisticated appearance.

There’s still no rear tailgate, an omission that could severely harm the car’s chances of succeeding in Europe. However, according to company sources, a conventional rear glass opening is being designed for production. Also, the rear glass does get a wiper on the Europa.

The Nano Europa is also slightly longer than the Indian-spec car at 3290mm, rather than 3100mm and very slightly wider, at 1580mm (8mm more). The 623 cc twin-cylinder engine also gets an additional cylinder, along with a wider bore and longer stroke to take displacement close to 1-litre. More sophisticated hardware like a four-valves-per cylinder set-up is expected to push power up to an estimated 50bhp. The transmission will be upgraded as well with a choice of a five-speed manual and an automatic.

Electric power steering, anti-lock brakes, twin-airbags and stability control will also be fitted to improve the Nano’s performance in EuroNCAP’s crash tests.

Inside, the Nano’s cabin has been upgraded with leather upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and chrome-effect trim around the air vents.

Though Tata officials have not confirmed the exact date, the Nano Europa will go on sale in Europe — 2011 is the target. Before that, the car will have to undergo stringent testing in hot and cold climates and meet all other European regulations which can only get tougher.

Indica goes electric

Tata also introduced the Indica Vista EV, an electric version of the Indica at the show. The company claims that this model is capable of carrying four individuals and their luggage over a predicted range of up to 200km, and accelerates from 0 to 60kph in under 10 seconds. The vehicle is powered by new-generation super polymer lithium ion batteries, which have better energy density compared to conventional batteries. This vehicle will be produced by Tata in association with Miljo Grenland/Innovasjon, Norway. Tata Motors’ UK subsidiary, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, has a 70 percent stake in Miljo.

The Indica Vista EV is the first vehicle developed by the two companies and the model is currently undergoing extensive tests in Europe. Tata also displayed the standard version of the Indica Vista as well as the Xenon 2.2-litre double-cab pick-up truck.

Pr1ma saloon

The surprise from Tata was this exquisitely styled Pr1ma (nee Prima) concept which points at Tata’s ambitions in the upper end of the saloon car segment. Designed by Pininfarina, the Pr1ma is the most stylish Tata car yet and one that can change the company’s reputation when it goes into production. Based on a stretched version of the new Indica platform, the Prima is expected to pick up where the discontinued Indigo XL left off.

However, this time around, a stylish body, well-appointed interiors and a range of Fiat engines, all at a mouthwatering price, could make this car a winner when it goes into production in around two years from now.

VW reveals India-bound Polo

Geneva also saw the international debut of the new fifth-generation Volkswagen Polo which is coming to India in early 2010.

Powered by a range of three- and four-cylinder engines, the Polo for India will be highly localised, with as much as 50 percent of local content from day one, moving up to 80 percent in the future. However, there are no plans to localise the engine as yet. The India-spec car will also have a new air-conditioning system and will feature increased ground clearance to cope with our rough roads.

According to VW, comfort, quality and safety have all taken a considerable leap forward in the new Polo. For example, the new Polo was specifically designed to attain the recently established, stricter and more comprehensive, 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating. The higher structural rigidity of the car's body shell contributes to these results.

In the foot well area alone, intrusion related to the car body’s deformation strength in a frontal crash was lowered by 50 percent and in the case of a side impact, the intrusion was reduced by 20 percent.

In addition, the European version of the Polo is equipped with standard ESP electronic stabilisation program with Hill Hold Control, and has a number of airbags, including combined head-thorax airbags (integrated in the front seatbacks), seatbelt tensioners and belt force limiters, plus seatbelt warning indicator and head restraints that counteract the risk of whiplash injury for both front seat occupants.

Despite these improvements, Volkwagen says that it has managed to reduce the weight of the new Polo’s body structure by 7.5 percent.

New powertrains

The introduction of new diesel (TDI) and petrol (TSI) engines, as well as the seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DSG), will help the new Polo reduce fuel consumption and emissions compared to the earlier version.

For example, the new 1.2-litre petrol TSI engine, which is a turbo-charged four-cylinder direct injection unit, produces 104bhp, yet consumes only 5.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. This is 19 percent lower than the equivalent model of the previous generation.

Globally, VW will offer seven different engines on the new Polo in its first year – four petrol and three diesels, spanning a power range from 59bhp to 104bhp. Five of these engines are entirely new or are being used for the first time in the Polo.

The new diesel engines use common-rail technology for the first time in the Polo, which offers increased efficiency and refinement. The potential of the new TDI engines is evident in the 1.6 TDI with 89bhp, which, when combined with a BlueMotion package, reports average fuel consumption of 3.6 litres per 100 kilometers making it the most fuel efficient five-seater diesel in the world. The vehicle is available in three versions — Trendline, the mid-level Comfortline, and the top-of-the-line Highline.

Globally, VW plans to start production of the new Polo from the end of March 2009 and will launch the car in its home market of Germany in June this year. The carmaker will produce the car in India from early next year at its Chakan plant.
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