AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Ultra cheap cars are often a tough proposition, as Tata knows only too well following the original Nano, which failed to meet expectations. Nonetheless, the Indian conglomerate is pushing forward with plans for the future, which could include another tiny city car, inspired by this, the Megapixel concept.
It might not come equipped with a digital Camera, but the MegaPixel does boast some interesting technological features, including easy access sliding doors, a lithium ion battery pack and four electric motors (one for each wheel), supplemented by a small 325 cc on-board gasoline generator that extends range beyond 54 miles.
The electric motors not only help deliver 369 lb-ft of torque, they also help the Megapixel achieve a very tight turning radius (nine feet), a valuable asset for a city car aimed at buyers in large urban centers. Whether some of the technologies employed on this pint size concept make it to production remains to be seen, especially on car pitched at very low price.
Nonetheless, given the advancement of automotive engineering and Tata’s ambitious plans (after all it’s pumping a lot of effort into Jaguar and Land Rover), there’s every indication that when it finally does arrive, the next generation of the company’s entry-level car will likely be far better than the last.
GALLERY: 2013 Tata Megapixel
Land Rover sold 31, 864 units in 2010 and has sold 20,000 vehicles through July of 2011. ”Both brands have some similarities in the fact that we are planning for growth predicated on product introductions,” said Goss. With the new compact Evoque added to the lineup, Goss feels the 50,000 mark is within the automakers reach. Jaguar will most likely have more trouble attaining the 50,000 unit goal, based on the fact that the automaker only sold 13,340 units in 2011. Jaguar hoping to up sales with help from a sports car that the brand is considering, which may debut as a concept at the Frankfurt auto show. Goss did not provide any details but noted that Jaguar needs a small sports car and a sedan to compete with the BMW 3-Series.
[Source: Automotive News]
Today, a report was released regarding the possibility of Tata motors entering a joint engine-development program with Jaguar Land Rover. Tata is currently India’s leading automaker by sales, and presently obtains engines from Jaguar and Land Rover models from the brand’s previous owner, Ford Motor Co.
Tata feels that the joint engine-development program would allow another step forward to establishing the brands’ independence from Ford(Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in 2008). ”To optimize the synergistic strengths between JLR and Tata Motors in India, an examination is also under way on a joint engine development program which would have manufacturing facilities both in the U.K. and India,” explained Ratan Tata
Tata Motors sold 62,090 Jaguar and Land Rovers globally for the fiscal year, up 9 percent from the previous year, according to the company. Jaguar Land Rover North America sold 23,702 vehicles in the U.S in the first six months of 2011, up 13.9 percent over the first six months of 2010.
[Source: Automotive News]
While nothing is certain at this stage, what’s clear is that Jaguar and Land Rover are two internationally-recognized brands that do not have any manufacturing presence in China, one of the world’s largest markets and a major source of sales for the two brands. Meanwhile, competitors Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW have all found partners in China, leaving parent company Tata Motors alone at the prom.
“The two companies are exploring opportunities for a cooperative effort. Senior executives of Jaguar and Land Rover came over and visited our plant earlier this month,” said the executives. “It’s fair to say that contacts between the two parties have already passed the initial stage, but no final decision has been reached so far.”
After Jaguar and Land Rover lost money during their messy sale to Tata, the Chinese market helped turn them around to the tune of approx. $434 million in profits in the last quarters of 2008. The market was the fastest-growing for the company in 2010, with a staggering increase of 95 percent. With these results, it’s only logical that Jaguar and Land Rover will seek to solidify their growth in the Chinese luxury segment while Great Wall builds mass-produced sedans and trucks.
[Sources: Automotive News, Reuters]
Five consecutive quarters of being “in the black” has paid off for Jaguar Land Rover. The luxury automaker is set to make over a billion pounds in profit ($1.6 billion) after strong sales around the world, especially in Asia.
In the last three months of 2010, the company netted a record profit of $440 million. Just a year ago, in the same quarter, Jaguar Land Rover made “only” $88 million. In America the company announced a 48% and 16% increase in growth for Jaguar and Land Rover, respectively. It’s also been a long time since 2009, when JLR was nearly forced to seek a bailout from the U.K. government. This impressive increase reflects the turnaround that the company has made since it was sold off by Ford to Tata Motors; think Alan Mulally is kicking himself over in Dearborn?
To reflect this growth and keep its momentum, JLR will increase production from 232,000 vehicles a year to over 300,000, as well as hire new engineers around the world.
[Source: The Telegraph]
India’s Tata Motors is back in the black after rising demand for the Land Rover and Jaguar cars, as well demand in India for Tata products. The Tata group posted an overall profit of $543 million, compared to last year’s loss of $535 million. Tata was able to beat analyst expectations of a $321 million profit, thanks in part to Jaguar and Land Rover raking in their own profit of $46 million.
Land Rover recently fired 2,200 workers and hired a new manager away from General Motors Europe to help them back on the road to profitability. However, analysts are still skeptical about the economic conditions in Europe, and whether they are conducive to a recovery for the British luxury maker.
“Europe is in doldrums and that is a big worry for Tata Motors since it is a big market for Jaguar Land Rover,” said Umesh Karne, an analyst at BRICS Securities Ltd in Mumbai. “Until Europe stabilizes, Jaguar Land Rover will be under pressure.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Tata unveiled a new electric version of its Nano at the Geneva Auto Show. The Nano EV joins the Indica Vista EV in Tata’s electric line-up.
The Nano EV will use the same super polymer lithium-ion battery as the Indica Vista EV. The electric version of the world’s least expensive automobile has a range of 99.4 miles, short of the Indica Vista EV’s 124-mile range, which is unusual considering the Indica Vista is a larger vehicle.
The Tata Nano EV will make its way to European markets in 2010 with expansion to other markets coming later.
Gallery: Tata Nano EV
Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motorsw says it will close either a Jaguar or Land Rover factory in England by 2014. The decision as to which of the company’s three U.K. plants will be shuddered has not yet been made, but Tata has said which two are on the chopping block.
The first candidate is the Jaguar facility in Castle Bromwich and the second is a Land Rover facility in Solihull. The plan is to consolidate the two facilities over the next five years, with a decision being made in the next 12 to 18 months. Currently JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) employs 5,000 staff in Solihull, 2,000 in Castle Bromwich and 1,800 at the Halewood plant (pictured above) in northwestern England. There is no word on how many jobs will be cut, but Tata did say that800 additional jobs will be created in Halewood when production starts on a new small crossover based on the LRX Concept.
JLR suffered considerable losses during the recent economic downturn, with reduced demand meaning that JLR production facilities were only working at 60 percent capacity. So far, in order to meet the decreased demand the automaker has cut production by over 100,000 units while cutting 25,000 jobs.
[Source: Automotive News]
JLR posted a $1.11 billion loss last year but that won’t stop Tata from making big changes, the first of which is an initiative to reduce the weight of all new vehicles.
“JLR is planning to have all its future cars constructed with light weight aluminum bodies resulting in considerable savings in weight and reduction in CO2 emissions,” said CEO Ratan Tata in his company’s annual report. Weight is certainly something Land Rovers could lose, as some models are currently approaching the 6,000 lb mark.
Jaguar’s new 2010 XJ (pictured above) not only makes use of aluminum body panels but an all aluminum frame and is the first of a new line of Jaguars to be launched by Tata. The lighter package requires a less powerful (and more fuel-efficient) engine, as well as smaller and less expensive brakes to stop.
Considering the massive weight of Ranger Rovers and the significant surface area that their sheet metal has to cover, an aluminum body would make a noticeable difference. [Source: Motoemag]
Tata Motors has posted its first annual loss in eight years due to a significant drop in demand for vehicles from its newly acquired Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) unit. The Indian automaker, also known for manufacturing the world’s cheapest car (the Nano), posted a net loss of $520 million for its 2009 fiscal year, with a $504 million loss at JLR.
In the 10 months since Tata bought JLR from Ford Motor Co., the division moved just 167,000 units – compared to 246,000 units during the same 10 month period the year before.
Tata’s Vice Chairman Ravi Kant told a news conference that the automaker was continuing to search for ways to cut costs and he did not rule out job cuts and plant closures.
Tata’s fiscal calendar ended at the start of March, and Tata says JLR has posted better numbers since then.
Well, here’s an exciting follow-up to yesterday’s story about the launch of the new Tata Nano in India; Tata is looking to bring the $2,000 Nano to the U.S.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Tata boss Ratan Tata is hoping to take advantage of the worldwide recession by bringing affordable (and we mean REALLY affordable) cars to markets worldwide, including North America.
Tata told the Times that this decision is a serious one and that no one at the company is taking the possibility of expansion into the U.S. lightly. “The US is very unforgiving of mistakes,” he said.
As for meeting strict U.S. emissions and safety requirements, that actually shouldn’t be too difficult as Tata has already announced that it plans to sell the Nano in Europe in 2011.
That year could also be the first year of U.S. Nano sales.
As for the car itself, the Nano is powered by a 624cc 2-cylinder engine that makes just 35hp and 35 ft-lbs of torque. Tata claims an average fuel-economy rating of 55.5 mpg according to the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), giving it the highest rating of any gasoline car in India.
The car is tiny, just 10.2-feet long, 4.9-feet wide and 5.3-feet high, giving it the smallest dimensions of any vehicle on the road in India. It is, however, 21 percent more spacious inside than the current smallest car.
Despite the size, Tata insists the Nano is very safe due to a reinforced passenger compartment, crumple zones, intrusion resistant doors, as well as the mandatory seat belts. The Nano exceeds all safety requirements in India and even passes a roll-over test and offset impact test which are not required.
Tata did not release any info on what U.S. pricing would be, but it is expected to be significantly higher than the base $2,000 price, as base models in India come without heat or air conditioning.
Tata Motors Chairman Ratan N. Tata announced that the company has created a model that will be exported to European markets – including Europe. The Indian car company unveiled this new model, the Tata Nano Europa at the Geneva Auto Show yesterday.
“In India, the Nano will be launched on March 23, and the cars will be on display at company dealerships from the first week of April,” said Mr. Tata. “The Nano has also generated wide interest in developed countries, since its unveiling in Delhi and its presentation here last year. We are delighted to present the Nano Europa for future launch in such markets.”
The Nano Europa is just 3.29 meters long (roughly 10.8 feet) and is 1.58 meters wide (roughly 5.2-feet). It features a slightly longer wheelbase than the standard model, for better handling as well as better interior space.
A more refined interior is also a part of the package.
The Nano Europa will be powered by a 3-cylinder aluminum engine mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. No output numbers are available but Tata says the engine will be class-leading – in terms of fuel-economy anyway.
Tata did say that the Europa already meets all European safety regulations, due to its energy absorbing design, air bags and use the of both ABS and stability control.
GALLERY: Tata Nano Europa
More after the jump: