Monday, December 26, 2011

Tata Motors to replace starters in all Tata Nano

Tata Nano

Move to boost car’s performance, allay fears

Tata Motors is upgrading the starter motor of Nano to boost the car’s performance and also sales. The company’s dealers are in the process of calling back about 145,000 Nanos sold till date since its launch in July 2009. The old starter motor will be replaced with the new, upgraded version found in the Tata Nano 2012 edition, launched last month. The replacement will be done free of cost for Nano customers.

Though no formal safety hazard had been associated with old starter motor, the move appears to allay concerns about robustness of the Nano and its safety. The company is trying to restore customer confidence after several instances of the product having caught fire last year.

“In old Tata Nanos, we are upgrading the starter motor to enhance performance, because we have now devised a better starter motor. This better starter motor is already installed in the Tata Nano 2012, introduced in November 2012,” Tata Motors confirmed in an email response.

A starter motor or starter is an electric motor which helps rotate internal combustion engine to initiate the engine’s operation. While the 2012 Nano start up motor costs about Rs 3,000 a piece, adding labour charges, taxes and engine oil change takes the tally up to about Rs 7,600. By simple calculation, the cost bore by the company on 145,000 Nanos amounts to Rs 110 crore.

In November 2010, Tata had called back 70,000 Nanos to add free safety features in exhaust and electrical systems of the car to prevent any further cases of vehicle creating untoward fumes or catching fire. Even then, the company had refused to term the action as a recall. The company had then confirmed safety aspect of the Nano, blaming the causes of fire in the Nanos for reasons “specific” to those cars, which included use of additional foreign electrical equipment being installed in the car.

The car’s controversial history, coupled with the steady rise in interest rates and petrol prices has had its impact on Nano’s sales this financial year.

Tata Motors sold 39,646 Nanos between April and November 2011, registering a fall of three per cent compared with 40,976 units sold in year-ago period.

“The move to recall Nanos for upgrading the starter motor is a good move to create confidence with people who had bought the car earlier. The car manufacturer is trying things associated with the product to stabilise so that issues don’t occur regularly,” said Abdul Majeed, auto practice leader, PwC.

The Tata Nano 2012 costs between Rs 1,40,880 and Rs 1,96,956 (ex-showroom, New Delhi).

Source: My Digital FC

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